The Armchair Activist

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Most everybody thinks of activists as rare, brave, incredibly talented individualists like Ralph Nader, Cesar Chavez, and Mother Teresa, or as loners with a burning desire to change the world. They are larger than life, their scope is far grander than anything we could imagine, and their actions have nation-wide or even worldwide consequences.

Well, folks, people like that comprise about 0.0000000000000001% of all activists. The typical activist is an ordinary person stuffing envelopes for a few hours or objecting to an offensive joke. Of course there are some headline catchers, but the vast majority of activists are unknown individuals consistently acting on their beliefs and values.

These days, it is easier than stuffing envelops. You don’t have to leave the house, you don’t even have to leave your desk chair. There are all sorts of things to do on the Internet that count as activism.

What do we survivors collectively want to do? We want to heal from the ravages of ritual abuse, and we want others to heal, too. We want to see people escape from abusive groups. We want to stop passing on evil from generation to generation. We want an end to ritual abuse.

Here’s how we can work toward these goals. By educating ourselves and the general public about ritual abuse and about the process of getting free and healing. If we are free, we can be a role model for all those who are still being abused. By demonstrating, not only in words but in our lives, that being free is better than being enslaved, making choices is better than obeying, loving is better than hating. If we are not yet free, we can still be role models of courage and determination

Activism starts small, at home. It starts in the heart, with a decision to reach out to others even though we feel incompetent and insignificant. We tell ourselves that at least somebody may see that we are lost, lonely, and suffering in the depths if despair and may see themselves reflected in us. We have given that person the gifts of validation and of easing their loneliness.

Now here is a small something you can do to help. Find a survivor blog and write a comment on the latest post. (Just search WordPress for “ritual abuse”or pick a blog from the list at Read a bit of the blog, and, if you like it, check the box that allows you to follow it. You would be surprised how much this means to the blogger. This little action makes your voice be heard for a moment and strengthens the ties that form our community. If you keep on commenting, you will find you have joined a welcoming, supportive group of survivors.

For a card-carrying activist, I am extremely lazy. I love it when others have great ideas! (Saves my brain cells.) And I really love it when  we all get involved. Last night I fell asleep dreaming of a thousand new blogs. Hundreds of submissions for workshops submitted to An Infinite Mind, Ivory Garden, First Person Plural, S.M.A.R.T., Survivorship, ISSTD, IVAT, therapist study groups, Christian ministries – the list of places is limited only by our imagination. I even envisioned handing out pamphlets in a supermarket parking lot!

Please remember that the majority of us, whether we are survivors struggling with our pasts or therapists, activists, or supporters of survivors, feel under-educated and inadequate to the challenge. The reality is that we all have something to offer each other and that our community is hungry for connection and information. Whatever your experience, it is valuable to the rest of us.

Of course, you can take many of the suggestions here and apply them to other causes you feel strongly about.