My Encounter with Sexual Abuse

Posted by Antoinette R. Banks | Posted in | Posted on Saturday, April 16, 2011

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The Spring 2011 issue of Heed hones in on the topic of abuse. Many of the features and editorials in this edition shed light on the prevalence of abuse—in its many forms— families, communities, and pop culture.

Amongst the stories of celebrities, you will find my personal and transparent encounter with sexual abuse. It was a tough story to write, but I'm glad it's out there. "When Dark Nights Birth A Beautiful Heart" 
 
Support the movement.

Click here to purchase a copy.


How Sweet the Whistle

Posted by Antoinette R. Banks | Posted in | Posted on Thursday, April 07, 2011

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A few days ago I was at my favorite nail shop off La Brea and Rodeo about to get all fancy. "chào buổi sáng" good morning I say as I walk into the nail shop. (Yes, don't hate...I know a few vietnamese words).  I'm ushered in like VIP, hooked up with the warm water for my toes and offered some water.  As soon as Kim starts taking the polish off, she looks at my necklace and stops. A few beats pass and she says, "That whistle...that...whistle...where did you get it?" I said happily like an ignorant American that feels good for any minor donation, "it's for charity, you know about it?"  Kim started to cry and said, "yes, I know all about it." 


You see, around my neck that day was a whistle necklace. An old school whistle that was symbol of Falling Whistles, (FallingWhistles.com
a nonprofit started by Sean Carasso after a trip to the war zone fo the Democratic Republic of Congo.  I happened to see the whistles hanging up in my favorite shoe boutique in the Beverly Center and after reading the story I purchased two whistles at $34.95.  After Sean came upon an illegal prison for children, he learned boys too small to carry guns, are forced out to front-lines armed only with whistles with instructions to make as much noise as possible. As the enemies approached, the children would be shot in hopes to quiet them. Being a mother, I was deeply touched by this story.  Children ripped from the loving embrace of their mothers are forced into a prison only to be misused, mistreated, and the valve of their life destroyed. 


Upon returning home, Carasso struggled with what to do about the innocent bloodshed in Congo. Then one day, a friend placed a whistle around his neck and said, “No matter where you go, make sure you keep those boys alive in your heart.” It was then that Falling Whistles was born.


It's impossible to know how taking a stand for a wonderfully conscious cause can not only be a conversation starter, but bring about an awareness in places least expected.  I was in a nail shop off all places...and a woman a woman from Vietnam, about 6,000 kilometers away from the Congo, knew about the injustice of tiny body's being sacrificed for an inhuman and unjust war. 


One of my favorite quotes is, "If you don't stand for nothing, than you'll fall for anything."  What will you stand for?  Whether its the walk of faith or taking a stand for a positive cause, do it! You'll be surprised by how effective you'll be. 





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