From Suicide Letter to Survival Letter Reposted from 2012 Author~~*~~ Mia

Mia has come so far….   and I am so proud to know her.

From Suicide Letter to Survival Letter by Mia McKinney

“Life has taken its toll on me. I can no longer carry these secrets of being physically and sexually abused by both my parents and many others. Since the nightmares and flashbacks have taken control of my life I can’t function in society. I know no one could understand this shame and pain I carry. The feeling of it being my fault hangs over my head.”

Hi, my name is Malisia McKinney and those are the things that were running through my head the day I decided to kill myself and started a friendship with the author known as Annie O Sullivan of Can You Hear Me Now. I had sat at the computer to write a suicide letter and explain to people how important I felt it was to seek help but I was sorry I had waited too long.

I signed into Facebook to find a reply message from Annie regarding a message I had sent in regards to being sexually abused by my mother and how society didn’t believe mothers sexually abuse and how difficult it was. In Annie’s reply she told me that sometimes just living 15 minutes at a time was ok. It was like a light turned on in my head and a sense a relief come over me knowing I didn’t have to take it all on at once. What Annie didn’t know until much later had I not received that letter I would have been dead in 15 minutes.

I took Annie’s advice and decided to live within that 15 minutes and the next 15 minutes. It’s been almost a year now. During these months Annie listened to my story and gave me guidance from her own experience as a survivor. I have learned some important things from Annie that has saved my life this year.

  1. It’s never too late
  2. You are not alone
  3. Never give up
  4. It’s ok to just live 15 minutes at a time
  5. It’s ok to seek help
  6. You have nothing to be ashamed of
  7. It’s not your fault
  8. You are acting normally in an abnormal situation
  9. Tell your story
  10. Speak out against child abuse

So today I would like to write my survival letter instead of a suicide letter:

It’s never too late to start a journey to heal. I’m not alone and you aren’t either.

I no longer carry those secrets and I gave back the shame to the abusers. I let the little girl in me tell her story as much as she needs to. It does get better. I have days where I live 15 minutes at a time and that’s ok because I also have days of happiness I never thought possible. I have begun to experience new joys and a peace that was once strange to me. I’m glad I chose life.

If you are struggling know YOU ARE NOT ALONE and it’s OK TO ASK FOR HELP and if you know someone who is struggling please LISTEN to them it will make a world of difference in their life. Encourage them to SEEK HELP as well.

Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or

RAINN-Rape Abuse & Incest National Network 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or


Finding a Voice for Everyone in 2015

422726_386439844701943_100000077927871_1530684_216479153_nAccording to the research the number one effective means good health is to share your story. Tell your story. Talk. Talk. Talk. Write. Write. Write. Doesn’t matter if it is through art, music, poetry or written story. I do ask that artwork is accompanied by a short description. Expression is key!

books deb aYou ’re probably all getting our resolutions ready for 2015. Year after year, one of my personal resolutions is to write more. And I bet a few of you out there have that resolution, too. Looking for a framework to help you write more? Then you’ll definitely want to apply to the Featured Blogger program – we ask you to write 12 posts, once a week, over the course of a few months. Intrigued? Get more details by contacting me at

I’m looking to keep the momentum going with a bunch of fresh, fascinating new voices who can write about everything from the best way get a good night sleep to how to create the most effective outline for your story if you are writing and everything in between.

Not a writer you say? There will be help available to get you a good published article that you will be proud of…

The details: I’m looking for 10 (or more!) great survivor or survivor advocate25519_10150154452540545_6896954_n voices to blog once a week for the Survivor community throughout February and March and April. If this is successful it will become a permanent part of the blog.. I want you to write about subjects you think are important — from experiences in your life, to the way childhood trauma has impacted your life, your job, to tips on how to increase your life satisfaction. — really, anything that strikes your fancy. If it’s important to you, it’s important to us, and we want it on Broken Until Spoken.

What’s in it for you? A lot (I think — but I’m biased!). In addition to having your writing read by our survivor community of 10-15,000, you’ll get:

  • A featured slot on Broken Until Spoken every time you post
  • Promotion of your posts to our social network communities of over LinkedIn, Twitter, Stumble Upon, Tumbler, WAYN, Pinterest, my personal 4 Facebook pages and over 100 group pages plus your own and those groups we all share with.
  • Recognition of your efforts, your growth and status
  • Great published clips, and a great line on your resume!
  • Discuss, your book, your music your art, your life triumphs and frustrations
  • An opportunity to see if you like to blog without the hassle of creating your own site
  • You will change a life for the better

If you’re interested in entering, it’s easy. All you have to do is email with three blog post ideas, a writing sample, and your background. Please use the subject: Featured Blogger.”

Any questions? Leave a comment on this post, or email I’m looking forward to your ideas, thoughts, and content, and can’t wait to see what comes next.

We’ll be accepting applications until January 15th for February. Those chosen as featured bloggers will be notified December 19th. Featured bloggers will need to start writing once a week starting the week of February 1st, and will finish their stint the week of March April 27th .Contact me, Annie O’Sullivan at Lets start 2015 off with a Voice!

Rise – A Magazine By and For Parents Affected By The Child Welfare System

Researching Reform

We came across Rise this evening, and we think it’s nothing short of brilliant, and so had to share it. In fact, we think the UK needs its own version of Rise, right now.

So, what is it? As the post title suggests, it’s a magazine written by parents who have experienced the family justice system in the US, and most often that means parents who have at some point, lost their children to the care system.

Why is it so brilliant? The magazine aims to tackle negative stereotypes of parents who lose their children to the care system, effectively giving them a voice and highlighting the fact that these parents are more often than not loving mothers and fathers who have struggled with their own personal demons, and lost the fight to free themselves from them.

It is also designed to help family practitioners better understand the…

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Depression Can Be Sneaky

Depression is epidemic in Survivors.  I suffer too.

It sneaks up on me sometimes. Most times I can feel it coming, oppressive, heavy and dark.  I should feel happy, what’s wrong? I whisper back that I don’t know.  It’s like lead. My arms are heavy and so are my thoughts. It takes such effort to move. Sitting in a silent house makes it easy to brood.  I turn off the music and sit.  Music usually lifts my spirits. Now its just loud noise.  The more I stay in the more I want to stay in and the harder it gets to leave.  My world of colors and laughing are blunted.  My hard won peace, gone. Energy gone.  Its not the loss of happiness, its the loss of vitality. Depression is tiredness and anger.

Depression is an illness of loneliness, feeling  isolated, of being alone, of being cut off from everyone and everything even when you are surrounded.  Depression is smiling because you are supposed to.

Depression tortures you every day with the idea that you suffer and somehow I ought to be able to do something about it and I can’t.  Over the years I have struggled with depression often.  Sometimes it is worse than others.  This time of year can be brutal for survivors.  I’ve been here to this dark place many times before.

Exercise, diet, rest….. As I remind myself, I remind you as well, sometimes you need more help and shouldn’t go it alone. Depression is more than faulty thinking. Call someone.  Talk to someone.  It’s not permanent.  I am going to do just that, first thing in the morning.  I will make myself pick up the phone.

Signs and symptoms of depression include:

  • Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. A bleak outlook—nothing will ever get better and there’s nothing you can do to improve your situation.
  • Loss of interest in daily activities. No interest in former hobbies, pastimes, social activities, or sex. You’ve lost your ability to feel joy and pleasure.
  • Appetite or weight changes. Significant weight loss or weight gain—a change of more than 5% of body weight in a month.
  • Sleep changes. Either insomnia, especially waking in the early hours of the morning, or oversleeping (also known as hypersomnia).
  • Anger or irritability. Feeling agitated, restless, or even violent. Your tolerance level is low, your temper short, and everything and everyone gets on your nerves.
  • Loss of energy. Feeling fatigued, sluggish, and physically drained. Your whole body may feel heavy, and even small tasks are exhausting or take longer to complete.
  • Self-loathing. Strong feelings of worthlessness or guilt. You harshly criticize yourself for perceived faults and mistakes.
  • Reckless behavior. You engage in escapist behavior such as substance abuse, compulsive gambling, reckless driving, or dangerous sports.
  • Concentration problems. Trouble focusing, making decisions, or remembering things.
  • Unexplained aches and pains. An increase in physical complaints such as headaches, back pain, aching muscles, and stomach pain.
  • When you’re feeling extremely depressed or suicidal, your problems don’t seem temporary—they seem overwhelming and permanent. But with time, you will feel better if you reach out for help. If you are feeling suicidal, know that there are many people who want to support you during this difficult time, so please reach out for help!

    Read Suicide Help or call 1-800-273-TALK in the U.S. or visit IASP or to find a helpline in your country.

This week on Blogtalk Radio “Author of No Working Title!” 630 PM Pacific time

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In his own words

I am currently finalizing the book. I also speak on the issue of the effect of sexual abuse and pornography on boys as they grow into manhood.

The issue of the sexual abuse of women is a topic that has managed to come mainstream and is being addressed, but the issue of the sexual abuse of men, particularly by women is something that is still a taboo or is met with ridicule.

I want to help give voice to the millions of silent men, to help them with a vocabulary to discuss the issues they face.

Follow the link:–a-life-in-progress


Broken Until Spoken

I hear so often from survivors, and I was once guilty myself, “I am not who I am supposed to be!” Who do you think that was? Whats wrong with who you are now?

I myself was brought up short with that question when I was lamenting to a counselor, “Look at my life! It’s ruined!”

Who were you supposed to be except happy, able to love and be loved and at peace? You have always been that person. You just got a little lost on the trail because of lies and deceit. Get up, get back on the road with your new map and move forward.

Just be yourself, embrace all the parts of yourself. Sit quietly this morning for just a minute and tell yourself, your inner child, “Your abuser is a criminal who lied to you. You are loved and you can be at peace.”

Namaste~~~ Annie

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Twice as Strong, by Barbara Amaya

CANCER inCYTES is a public health e-magazine that discusses the healthcare needs of  disadvantaged populations. The uniqueness of Cancer InCytes is its focus on the link between cancer and social injustice, producing and discussing the latest research on this subject. Our articles become training material for law enforcement, advocates, clinicians, scientists, social workers, and your next-door neighbor. Connecting childhood trauma, disease risk, and social injustice.

Managing Editor: David H. Nguyen, Ph.D.
Volume 2, Issue 2, Winter 2013

Child abuse at home sent Barbara Amaya on her way to the streets of New York City, where she endured nine years as a trafficked child. Surviving the routine of rapes, beatings, and drugs she somehow found her way into a new life. But that past did not leave her alone, resurfacing as one medical problem after another, including endometrial cancer. Today, Barbara is a double survivor whose voice carries twice as far.

It Started When I was 12

It has been a little over a year since I broke my silence about having been a sex-trafficked child. I spent decades keeping all of my traumas deep inside. Keeping secrets can sometimes make you sick.

The summer I turned 12, I ran away from home after being abused under that roof. I ran away and was found on the streets of Washington D.C. by a couple that groomed me for prostitution and then sold me to a New York trafficker. I spent my youth growing up while being trafficked on the streets of New York. My pimp controlled every aspect of my life. As I grew older, I attempted to escape his control, but I was never successful.

Being raped, robbed, beaten and jailed became my daily routine. I saw no hope, and at age 15 I was introduced to heroin by another young girl on the streets. The drugs numbed me to the terrible reality of my existence. But because my pimp did not control the drugs, his violence became even more horrific. I would manage to escape from him and hide out for two or three days, only to be tracked down by him and beaten severely. This was my existence, unbeknownst to my clients or exacerbated by them.

At the age of 19, my pimp seemed to magically disappear. I found out only recently he was taken to prison on weapons and drug charges, although I did not know it at the time.

I believe in every person is a will to survive. For me, that spark still remained though I felt and looked like a walking zombie. One day, I walked into a drug clinic on Manhattan’s east side and my life changed. That day was really the day my life began because of a special counselor who took an interest in me. She located my family back in Virginia and I was reunited with them, never to return to the streets of New York. I slowly tried my best to put my life together with a 6th grade education and no job skills. The task was a daunting one.

One evening over a year ago, I watched a newscast about trafficked teens in my neighborhood and realized that I had to help make a difference. I had the classic epiphany moment. Thus began my advocacy work and public speaking. In the last several months, I have shared my story 26 times in various venues from Princeton to youth camps, and the Rotary Club to the Methodist church. I’ve been on a mission to educate the public about what human trafficking is and how they can make a difference against it.

Dealing With Uterine Cancer

I recently realized that I’ve been leaving out an important part of my story, which I’ve finally decided to tell. When I became aware of how the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) studies  applied to victims of human trafficking (1), I was inspired to tell my story of uterine cancer, which I’ve always believed was due to the sexual abuse that I endured.

I guess everything is relative, for me at least. After having survived the streets of New York for over 9 years, the news from my doctor that I had a severe form of uterine cancer was met by an atypical reaction: bring it on. I remember saying to that doctor, “I don’t want to die. And believe me, I will not.” Somehow, after surviving all the beatings, rapes, and incarcerations, I had been prepared for my battle with uterine cancer.

I had most likely been exposed to a number of risk factors that might have helped the cancer grow inside my uterus. While I am certainly not a doctor, I don’t think it’s far-fetched to think that I got the type of cancer that I did due to my history of sexual slavery. Because I was diagnosed with stage-two uterine cancer, I had to have three surgeries, a complete hysterectomy, and the removal of my cervix. I also barely escaped having radiation treatments. When I read the information on and, I saw that I was not far off with my own thoughts and diagnoses. Research has shown that having more periods during a woman’s lifetime can raise her risk of endometrial (uterine) cancer (2). Young women who start their periods before age 12 have an increased risk of endometrial cancer compared to those who start later. I had my first menstrual cycle before I was ten years-old.

After I escaped from New York and began to piece my life together, I suffered from several medical conditions. People often don’t realize this, but I – like other trafficked children – did not receive medical or dental care the entire time I was growing up and being trafficked. I went from weighing 90 pounds to gaining massive amounts of weight. Research has shown that while the majority of a woman’s estrogen is made by her ovaries, fat tissue will change some other hormones into estrogens (3). Being overweight will increase a woman’s estrogen levels and increase her endometrial cancer risk.

After I was married and began to plan a family, I discovered that I was infertile due to the early trauma on my younger body. I went through surgery and was able to conceive. I develop diabetes while pregnant. Diabetes is common in women who are overweight. After the birth of my daughter, I began to experience very painful menstrual cycles. I was diagnosed with endometriosis, a painful condition where the lining of the uterus travels outside and bleeds monthly when a woman has her menstruation.

Would I have developed cancer if I had not been trafficked? Who knows? But I do know that my troubled health history is something that healthcare providers and researchers need to consider when they treat and study the needs of trafficking victims. I also know this: I believe that once a person has been through the fire of adversity and trauma, if they somehow manage to come through to the other side, if they make it, they are forged into something much stronger and even better than before.

So yes, I am a double survivor, if you will; a survivor of human trafficking and of cancer. The two of which I think are related, just like we know that certain forms of the human papilloma virus, a common sexually transmitted disease, causes cervical cancer (4). The risk factors for cancer throughout my story of trafficking are common among other children who are being trafficked today. I’ve lived through both of these horrific evils and I am stronger for having done so. I believe that I have gone through all I have in my life so that I can be here, now, educating and empowering others. And, I will continue doing my best to share my story of survival.

As for what the future brings, I say…bring it on! I am ready.

Barbara Amaya is an advocate against human trafficking. She tells her story through the first graphic novel written by a trafficking survivor, called “The Destiny of Zoe,” illustrated by John Mahomet. Learn more about her work at


1. Vincent J. Felitti. “Childhood trauma is linked to chronic diseases during adulthood.” Cancer InCytes. 2013, 2(1):e.

2. Veronica W. Setiawan et al. “Type I and II endometrial cancers: have they different risk factors?” Journal of Clinical Oncology. 2013, 31(20):2607-18.

3. Jongen VH, Hollema H, Van Der Zee AG, Heineman MJ. “Aromatase in the context of breast and endometrial cancer. A review.” Minvera Endocrinologica. 2006, 31(1):47-60.

Blog Talk: Why is it important to listen to our show? Let me talk about it with you in the ARCHIVES!!

Broken Until Spoken

Curious!? This is a one-time, single event show to discuss why what we are doing is so important to survivors of abuse and those who love and care about them. What do we talk about? Come hear how two girls talk about the unspeakable and let you walk away knowing its all OK to talk about! You have nothing to lose and everything to gain! WE have had writers, publishers, work out experts, diet experts, Relationship experts and many other advocates who are working to change the world into a better place in however small or large way they can!

Annie O’Sullivan and Kelly Behr have candid conversations concerning the past and much more importantly the future. Our guest have walked your road and come out the other side.


Your Hosts:

Annie O’Sullivan, Author/Writer/Speaker, Can You…

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Let’s give em something to talk about!

This is the page of activists. hours have been spent sending invites to other activist who say”what a great idea!”  Less than 1% have sent photos. Liking and saying going isn’t going to change anything in the world. Action, making a visible statement will. These numbers reflect what we see and feel every day in society.

Apathy, fear of being connected to a heinous crime, and denial alive in our own survivor community? WE can’t pray it way.  We have tried.  We can’t make laws to end it. We have tried.  One person can’t change it.  We have tried that too.

Change and education will not happen unless we stand together and stand up.  Power to change things for the next 6 million children who will join us as survivors in the next 12 months will not happen if we can not come together in the survivor community.

25519_10150154452540545_6896954_nA duct tape photo tells the whole story without saying a word. It also allows those who simply support a movement to participate. I believe that in order to change the way things are, to get people the help they need and to see serious societal change we have to stop being invisible. We don’t need more law, we need more enforcement. WE need to stand together and make a statement.

April will be here before we know it.  I believe we can do this.  My video project may fall apart.  But that will be OK if 314221_10151012701552407_714951380_nyou are willing to at the very least make a statement on your FB page in April by posting a duct tape photo for the month.