I just want to congratulate the Board of Trustees on their decision to go forward with the October Conference, and I encourage everyone who was planing to attend to still go. This IS the right thing to do.
I lived in Israel for 3 1/2 years (I am Jewish). One of the many, many wonderful life lessons I learned there is that we cannot bow to terrorism by disrupting our lives. I lived through at least 6-8 terrorist attacks, one that I missed by only about about a minutes by boarding a bus and leaving the area. Disruption and instilling terror is exactly what the terrorists want. They celebrate it and gloat about it and are encouraged to do more acts of terror as a result.
The terrorists want those they attack to feel and behave like victims -- fearful, afraid to go out and continue their normal lives, etc. They want the fear to be paralyzing, to build so much that the recipients of their attacks will eventually no longer be able to bear the fear and its impact on their lives and will then bow to the terrorists' demands.
Instead of giving in to fear and terror, we must stand steadfastly together and respond with a resounding "NO, WE WILL NOT STOP LIVING BECAUSE YOU TRY TO INSTILL FEAR AND TERROR IN US, BECAUSE YOU TRY YOUR BEST TO HURT AND DESTROY US. YOU HAVE NOT WON AND WILL NOT WIN! WE WILL LIVE ON, AND BY DOING SO, WE, NOT YOU, WILL BE THE VICTORS! WE ARE SURVIVORS, AND WE WILL NOT JUST SURVIVE, BUT THRIVE, NO MATTER WHAT YOU DO TO TRY TO FRIGHTEN, HURT OR DESTROY US. YOU MAY HURT, EVEN KILL SOME OF US, BUT YOU WILL NEVER DESTROY US. TOGETHER, WE WILL LIVE AND CONTINUE TO STAND BY OUR VALUES AND PRINCIPLES AND IDEALS, NO MATTER WHAT YOU DO!!!" This is what Israelis say and do and live every day. They just move on, go bavck to work, continue with their cultural events, go dancing, whatever. Yes, they pause briefly to grieve and express solidarity, but they then move on with their normal lives.
When I entered recovery several years after returning to the United States, I was struck by the message I was hearing that survivors ARE survivors, NOT victims, and by learning to thrive, we are the victors, not our abusers. We defeat THEM. Those who survived the Holocaust also say the same thing. Those who today have children and grandchildren, built fulfilling lives for themselves and their families ove r hte last 55 years, are the living proof that Hitler failed in his quest to destroy them and their people. It is THEY -- the SURVIVORS --who defeated Hitler and his followers, and they continues to do so even today, by living and thriving.
Let us male survivors of sexual and other horrific abuse help the rest of our country learn to heal from and thrive after this horrific terrorist attack by delivering the message of life, living and thriving. By doing so, we help everyone in this country and even around the world, including ourselves, proclaim our continued liberty and freedom, and we are and will be the victors, NOT the terrorists.
God bless us all, and God bless our Board of Trustees for doing the right thing!