Reclaiming Lost Voices began from a survivor’s personal experience with breaking her own silence to the New York Times.
Ruth Krug is the Founder of Reclaiming Lost Voices. Today she shares her experience of surviving and healing from violence to provide hope and support to others. She believe we all have the potential to heal from violent experiences and transform into an empowered survivor.
The beginning of an empowering journey…
I began this blog to create a safe place for survivors and supporters to share their voices and begin a dialogue that examines solutions to end violence and injustice. I believe we all deserve a safe and sacred place to share our truth and seek a form of restorative justice. Since coming forward and voicing my experience it has given me the opportunity to reclaim my life. We can shift from a victim-violence culture to one based on survivorship, healing and restorative justice.
I am a survivor….
I am more than a rape statistic, I’m a survivor of rape. My cases never got heard in a court of law. This is the case for many survivors. I was unheard and desperate for a dignified solution. I now dedicate my life to seeking peace and reclaiming my voice with others around the world. My goal is to form a sisterhood and brotherhood of violence survivorship to encourage healing and empowerment as a community. I know we each have the potential to heal and become part of the solution to end violence in our own life and that will change the world around us.
Where my story begins…
While living in Saudi Arabia at the age of 3 my mom and I were gang raped and held as hostages. Our case was never heard. I struggled physically and emotionally with the trauma, spending years in traditional talk therapy and conventional ways of medicating trauma. My depression and post traumatic experience grew deep and at times I struggled finding a balance between feeling safe in her own body and trusting the world around me.
Later on in my childhood I experienced sexual abuse again. I worked on healing my relationship with my offender by writing letters to him while he was in and out of prison. As I began to discover my voice through writing, I found how the writing process helped me to heal by expressing my pain through the written word. I began to share my story as a writer, entering writing competitions and openly speaking of her sexual violence at different venues as a teenager.
I wouldn’t let my violent experiences hold me back from pursuing my dreams. I stayed on track despite these abuses and realizations entering college on a full scholarship to study public service and policy while competing at the collegiate level in cross country running and track. My dream was to become a politician or lawyer and fight for the rights of rape survivors and provide them with the voice they deserved to seek justice.
My plan came to a halt my first semester of college where I was drugged and raped at a fraternity on campus. As I entered therapy yet again, I began to discover that the college was silencing survivors. I withdrew the following semester. As I continued to talk about her rape, college officials denied her case, and I ended up losing my scholarship money and was eventually silenced by the college.
Moving forward and reclaiming hope…
I wasn’t defeated just yet. I transferred to another university where I eventually completed my bachelor’s degree. Instead of focusing my attention on policy and law, I took a more practical approach looking at how economic development and social entrepreneurship can provide a pathway of development through the lens of human rights, grassroots organizations and empowerment projects. My activism spirit was engaged quickly on and off campus.
During my project travels I witnessed the impact the trauma on abandoned children, the effects after war, racial discrimination, gender abuse, domestic violence and terrorism.
Violence is a daily reality that social issues and violence have for women, children and men around the world and so is the battle for restoring a sense of empowerment and peace back into people’s lives.
I was interested in looking at how survivors could seek justice through a non-traditional lens. I never had the chance to seek justice in a U.S. or international court of law, and I knew this was the reality for countless of survivors around the world. I began to wonder, can justice only be sought in a courtroom?
What I do…
Restorative Justice Practitioner
Now, I’m a certified restorative justice practitioner that engages victims/survivors and offenders to understand the impact of their violence has had. I believe talking to our offenders in a safe environment-when we are ready-can be part of the healing process: but it must be an organic process for the survivor. I look to facilitate peace circles with sexual assault, rape, and human trafficking survivors to empower them to take back their power and dignity.
Trauma Sensitive Yoga Teacher
I am also a certified trauma yoga teacher and works with post traumatic stress disorder/experience (PTSD/E) survivors to empower them to reconnect with their mind and body. From my own experience I have come to believe PTS is not a disorder, but an experience that can evolve into personal transformed when the survivor reconnects with their body and mind on a deeper emotional and spiritual level.
Yoga has been my healing grace, and I desire to dedicate my life sharing it with others so they can also have the opportunity to reclaim their life after violence. I believe to end violence we must first heal ourselves we must break the cycle of our own psychological and physical trauma. We each hold the power to end violence and dedicate our lives to peace and capability to experience joy and happiness back into our lives.
Social Justice Writer
I look to use my love of writing to share the hopeful stories of survivors and encourage them to take the power back into their life and re-write their story. I write on social justice issues from human trafficking, childhood abuse, rape, gun violence, because we need to talk about these issues and discuss solutions in our communities. I want to help re-shape the language we constantly see in the media. I write to heal and heal through writing.
Through this blog and a broader initiative it looks to empower survivors that justice matters to us, even years after. Reclaiming Lost Voices looks to create an open community among other survivors to learn and mentor one another through their unique healing journeys. I believe survivors can become full participants in society and contribute meaningfully to a global effort to reduce, if not eradicate, violence from our personal experience.
We are all part of the problem and solution. All survivors are mothers, daughters, sisters, brothers, fathers and grandparents. Violence doesn’t just happen in war-torn countries thousands of miles away, it also happened in our own backyards. The effects of trauma can be painful and devastating under any circumstance. I believe if we all commit ourselves to sharing out truth and seeking solutions to end the silence, we can end violence in our lifetime. First we must break our own cycle to move forward.
My healing journey only continues to unfold. Now more than ever I understand the joyful possibilities that the gift of transformation has given me. We all deserve the chance to share our story and become part of a community that is empowering and healing.
If there is one thing I truly believe in it is our ability to transform into our highest potential. Thank you for everyone who has been part of my journey. I would be honored to be part of yours.
Let’s reclaim our voices together!
Peace & Love,