Jane Fonda

September 25, 2019

Jane Fonda came back today. Jane is the cat my neighbor left me when he moved to Santa Fe. And to be honest I think the reason he left her was he couldn’t catch her. Regardless, I’m glad she is here. Cooper loves her. Phoenix barks at her. She rules the roost.

I got her in December and she hung out at my place for a few months. Then one day a few months back she just took off. She didn’t go far. At first she moved into her own adobe by the river. It’s an old collapsed chicken coop but she made it her own. I respect that. A woman needs a house of her own. I get it. Then when she got tired of that she moved into the red rocks by the workshop. More primitive. Maybe she was going through something. Who knows. I like to think she moved for love. There is a wild black cat that hangs out up there that I’ve seen a few times. I’ver never seen them together though. Maybe she’s playing hard to get.

Regardless, right when I think Jane is no longer with us because I haven’t seen her in a while I hear her meow. I’m usually walking back from feeding the horses. I look up and there she is 50 feet up on a rock, looking at me. Meowing. Very Lion King like. That’s my cue to go up, pet her, pick her up, and bring her home. I feed her and Cooper licks her. Then anywhere from two minutes to two hours later she is gone again. Back to the red rocks.

A Victim of Clergy Sexual Abuse: Video Voyeurism, Seven Years Later – Part 3

CBFblog

amy violette Amy Violette

By Amy Violette

Dear Friends,

In September 2012, we drove to Mississippi for the trial. We arrived the day before it started and met the district attorney at the courthouse around 4:00 in the afternoon. Courtrooms are built to be intimidating, and I didn’t want my first day in court to be the day I testified. I spent two hours walking the gallery, sitting in the witness chair, and speaking into the microphone. As we were standing by the elevator about to leave, I said, “I want to see my tape.”

The district attorney laughed and said, “I thought you might.”

We followed him across the street to his office. He let me sit in his chair, behind his desk, as he turned on his computer. On the desktop was my video. With two clicks it started.

It had been a year since I found out that I…

View original post 678 more words

Let’s Talk

Book A Time | Monday – Friday 9 AM – 5 PM

Dear Friends,

Being a victim of sexual assault is no easy task. There is no “one size fits all” prescription for people. No quick fixes to get you “back to normal” in 5-7 days. People always tried to “help me” but unfortunately in my experience if you haven’t “been there” you don’t understand.

The best counseling/therapy/coaching (or whatever you want to call it) I received was from female survivors who had been where I was. Women who didn’t look at me as broken or irreparable but with eyes of compassion and understanding.

I will never forget one woman taking my hand and saying, “Amy, when we are victims of sexual assault we get to choose which role we play. I chose the role of researcher. What role will you play?”

I remember that being so profound as I thought about how I wanted to move forward. I also referred to myself as a “survivor” to her. Again, she took my hand and said, “honey, you haven’t survived anything yet.”

She was right.

The real work came after the shock had worn off.

Maybe I Can Help

For years women have reached out to me in private after hearing my story. I think they find part of their story in mine. Something resonates with them. Then one of two things happen:

  1. They write and tell me their story. When I respond, they never respond back.
  2. They write, tell me their story, and it begins a powerful conversation toward healing and reclamation.

If this interests you, I would love to talk. You can sign up for a free confidential conversation at http://calendly.com/amyviolette.

This is the easiest and fastest way I have found for us to begin a conversation together.

I’ve been there. You are not alone.

Let’s talk.

Love, Amy

Spring Is Coming

March 04, 2019

Dear Friends,

It feels good to be blogging again. WordPress truly is my favorite blogging platform. I don’t know why it just is. Life on the ranch is as wild as ever. Cooper lost a tooth. Mágico turns one next week. I started him on a new organic grain he loves. I paid $18.75/bale for alfalfa hay the other day. That is more than I have ever paid. I found out my favorite pair of cowboy boots cannot be resoled for the 10th time. “You got your money out of ’em.” Mr. Trujillo said. I am currently contemplating a celebration of life ceremony for them.

Resolana Farms is finally starting to see signs of spring! Rain, mud, and more mud. I do not know why I bother washing my car. The birds are coming back. My neighbor brought me a “cord” of wood. That is new verbiage to me. The bag business is booming. It has been so fun to hear from friends I have not heard from in years.

My plan is to blog once a week on Mondays like the old days. If all goes well… which means 1) Cooper did not eat my computer, 2) It is not too cloudy, 3) Then my internet should work and you should have it by noon.

Talk soon.

Love, Amy

A Victim of Clergy Sexual Abuse: Video Voyeurism, Seven Years Later, Part 2

Written for Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and Baptist Women in Ministry for publication February 28, 2019.

Dear Friends,

Nothing prepares you for the moment when your life changes forever. There are no flashing signs saying, “This is it!” It just happens. In a split second the veil is lifted, reality shifts, and you can no longer deny the truth. It is the moment when every benefit of the doubt is gone. The moment innocence is lost.

“That’s me,” I said.

Right there in my Inbox. With one click of an attachment. There it was.

A photo of me from three years prior walking into Pastor Johnny’s bathroom. I had on a blue baseball t-shirt and blue jeans and was carrying my polka dot toiletry bag. I wish I had a time machine and could yell, “Turn Around!”  . . . “Danger Ahead!” But I didn’t. And I couldn’t.

I just sat there staring at the screen.

Immediately, I began experiencing all five stages of Kübler-Ross’s grief at the same time. Overlapping. It was one of the most intense feelings I have ever experienced. I cried. I got angry. I yelled. I was in denial. I had so many questions on repeat in my mind. I felt like a record skipping. I was confused. I felt powerless.

I later asked my counselor when the moment PTSD set in for me. She said, “the moment you saw that photo.”

– – –

“Ma’am?”

“Ma’am?” The FBI agent said.

“Do you want to press charges?”

“What does that mean?” I asked.

“Do you want to press charges and have your name officially added to his list of charges? Your name will go in the official indictment and you will always be linked to this crime.”

“Yes.”

“Absolutely, yes.”

– – –

The next eleven months leading up to the trial were brutal. The trial date kept getting pushed back. I felt like I was living in a cloud. My life was on hold. Trying to learn Greek was impossible. I was obsessive about cleaning my house. I washed my car every day. Controlling the things I could. I now know what I was experiencing is called Complex Trauma. It is a real thing. I wasn’t crazy, lazy, or unmotivated like people said I was. I was traumatized.

When you are a victim of sexual assault no one shows up on the first day and gives you a handbook with a list of what to expect. There are no notes in the margins, disclaimers, or tabbed pages with helpful hints. It just hits you like a tidal wave, and you do the best you can at trying to teach yourself to swim in uncharted waters.

So from me to you here are a few pro tips from my eight years of swimming.

“NORMAL” THINGS YOU WILL EXPERIENCE WITHIN THE FIRST FEW WEEKS: 

Nightmares

Triggers

Flashbacks (to this trauma and others you might not even be aware of)

Outbursts of rage

Anger

Trouble focusing

Not wanting to be touched

PTSD

Avoidance

Inability to make eye contact (especially with the gender that abused you)

Insomnia

Trust issues

Intimacy issues

THINGS THAT HELP: 

Counseling (weekly with a trained professional)

Massage (physical touch in a non-sexual way is very important for healing)

Talking to other victims

Yoga (reconnecting to your body after detachment)

Sleep (8-12 hours of uninterrupted sleep a night)

Epsom salt baths (with essentials oils like lavender)

Creating a safe home environment

Being alone in nature

Walking

Journaling

Animals (especially baby animals)

RESOURCES THAT CHANGED MY LIFE:

Victim to Survivor: Women Recovering from Clergy Sexual Abuse

The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma

How Clergy Sexual Misconduct Happens: A Qualitative Study of First-Hand Accounts by Diana R. Garland & Christen Argueta (https://www.baylor.edu/content/services/document.php/96038.pdf)

A Victim of Clergy Sexual Abuse: Video Voyeurism, Seven Years Later, Part 1

Written for Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and Baptist Women in Ministry for publication January 29, 2019.

Dear Friends,

It’s been 2,648 days since I found out I was a victim of clergy sexual misconduct. Specifically video voyeurism. I say “found out” because the actual videotaping took place in November 2008, but I was unaware that I was a victim until my abuser was arrested in October 2011.

In July 2008, I met “Pastor Johnny” for the first time when he was my camp pastor at Lifeway’s FUGE Camp at Ridgecrest where I was on summer staff. One month later he was to be a groomsman in my wedding. Johnny was charming, charismatic, and always the life of the party. When he walked into a room, immediately all attention was on him. He commanded the room. He liked that. He was smart. He was loud. He was the kind of person that remembered specific details about you and made you feel special. He said he had a photographic memory. He always called me on my birthday and checked in on random events like the hernia repair surgery I had, a surgery that only family and close friends knew about. “What a great memory he has,” I thought. I now know that he remembered because he secretly videotaped me taking a shower, and my scar was visibly present.

I always felt strange around Johnny. Like something was off about him. Call it a woman’s intuition, sixth sense, or the Holy Spirit, but there was always something off putting about him. The way his eyes scanned a room. The way he was so in tune to high school female students. The way he hugged them. Where he placed his hands. Not completely inappropriate but low enough to make me raise an eyebrow. No one else seemed to see it. “Johnny’s married!” A male pastor from Texas said, “Our girls just love him!”

Johnny always “took care” of you. Do you need an oil change before you head back to Nashville? Johnny’s got a guy, a coupon, and he will take your car into the shop for you. Even pay for it. You need the latest version of Apple’s MAC OS? Johnny’s got the bundle pack with five licenses to share. Johnny was always one step ahead “helping you” so you felt indebted to him. A classic characteristic of a predator “grooming” his victims I have now learned.

So in October 2011, while sitting in a youth ministry class at Truett Seminary, I got a call from the FBI. I had contacted them earlier in the day, saying that I had reason to believe I was on his videotapes. I had seen Johnny’s mugshot on the internet and read several articles about his arrest. One article said “permanent video surveillance” had been removed from his home. During class, my phone rang, and a man’s voice on the other end said:

“Are you the Amy that stayed at Johnny’s house on November 7, 2008?”

“Yes.” I said.

“We’ve been trying to find you.”

I was in complete disbelief.

Sammy Nuckolls | Thank God For Baylor

Image

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses…”  (Hebrews 12:1, NRSV) 

On Thanksgiving last year Wes and I were sitting around talking about things we were thankful for. Wes said,  “I’m thankful for Hank Dog…Family…El Crucero Burritos…”

Me: “I’m thankful for Baylor”

I went on to say that I could not of imagined a better place to be when I found out I was a victim of video voyeurism.

Let me explain…

1. My Truett professors are pastors…. kind, understanding, thoughtful. They showed me what it means to be a pastor. Not the Sammy kind of pastor but a pastor that leads, protects, and cares for the flock. Yes… they are world class scholars, authors of books, leaders in the field…. but they are pastors first.

They taught me how to pray again, connected me to the right people for counseling,  and offered encouraging words along the way.  One of my professors asked if I wouldn’t mind sending him a schedule of where I’d be and when during the trial so he could pray me through it. I did and he did. He called each night I was away and left a prayer on my voicemail.

2. Truett students are supportivethey often didn’t know what to say but “how are you doing” or “are you okay?” But that was enough. They took notes for me in classes I missed. Bought me coffee. Included me in study groups. Took me to lunch. Turns out one of those students had a career as a trial lawyer before coming to seminary. She was incredibly helpful and helped answer my questions when I didn’t understand legal jargon. She even helped me pick out my outfit for the trial. ( **Women you understand this!** )

3. The Office of Baylor Spiritual Life… I work in an office of chaplains. People trained in pastoral care, counseling, and the Enneagram. If you don’t know what the Enneagram is then click on the link and read up! They provided me a safe place to process in a nurturing environment. I will forever be grateful for the amazing people in that office.

4. Weekly Massages… Baylor has a massage therapist. I found this extremely helpful to manage my stress and anxiety. Often weeks I would come in and fall asleep out of pure exhaustation. Some days she even left the music on and let me sleep an extra 15 minutes! I would recommend this to anyone as a way of taking care of yourself. I went from having two or three migranes a week to having none! 30 minutes a week can change your life! Do it.

I’ll always be thankful and grateful for Baylor University. Thank you God for Baylor.

Upcoming Blog Post: “The Day Before The Trial”