I have a story in me, that is niggling at my skull to be let out.
In 2018 I taught female refugees who are survivors of prolonged torture and violence.
I will let that sentence sink in.
I met one young girl - 17 years old from Afghanistan. She had shrapnel scaring over her face, and a really funky Rolling Stones t-shirt.
During a break she stood quietly by herself, and I asked about her story. I asked about her family.
"All dead," she said.
I will let that sink in.
She had limited english - she had only been in Australia for 8 months. A male family friend smuggled her into a Greek refugee camp. One night she awoke to find this "Uncle" on top of her. When she tried to scream he tried to rip her trachea from her throat to silence her.
He is now in jail for attempted murder in Greece. Any of my Police colleagues who have worked for the Feds or UN know that she must have very nearly been decapitated for this charge to have 'got up'.
I asked her what she wanted to be?
She said, "I just want to learn, to go to school, to learn."
She is utterly alone in this world. Alone, utterly deprived of a childhood and family and safety from the moment she was born.
But we can do something. This is not just about money. We can also choose what words we use, what thoughts we have, what energy we give out, choose love over fear. Choose connection instead of separation. We can be leaders of reform, not distrust and vile and vulgar fear. We can halt our minds from being hoodwinked by media and politicians and the unknowing masses. We can listen to the truth in our all-knowing heart.
What do you value? Do you value love? And inclusiveness? Peace and safety for your family?
Or do you subscribe to fear - that there is not enough and that we have to fight to keep what we have? That money and entitlement are more important then equality? That strangers will kill us in our sleep? (Fact: that is more likely to be the man that you are/were in a relationship with.)
Being the great-great-great granddaughter of a convict and a potato famine refugee I feel that I have no right to exclude those in need, those who have been persecuted and tortured. #whitehypocracy
She was somebody's child. As I think of her my heart breaks - we all want our children to be safe, and loved and fed and happy. The nightmare of children being alone is unbearable.
We have the sovereign power to change everything. To bring peace and love, and stop the cycle of war, debt, separation, exclusion and fear.
We are powerful enough to choose love over hate. Be a #warrioroflight because #fearkeepsusweak.
I will not be the bum-bitch of fear and hate.
I. Choose. Love.
Posting seemingly innocent photos of your child or teen has a sinister outcome that you may never have considered.
THE FOLLOWING ARTICLE CONTAINS ADULT CONCEPTS AND EMOTIONAL TRIGGERS
Your child or teen could be a poster child for a pedophile ring - and you may never know.
Australia made world news in 2016 with a website trading explicit photos of local school girls. The site even had pages dedicated to local Brisbane and Gold Coast high schools and fan pages - offering money to men who could find more explicit photos of their favourites.
Attempts to close down the site have been thwarted in a brazen disregard of the law. And these girls, whose images have been used without consent, could be to this day, oblivious.
Police CANNOT ALWAYS LOCATE YOU if photos of your children have been found to be used in connection with pedophile rings. Due to the ability to mask IP addresses and identities with overseas servers and false identities it is not always possible to link an identity to these photos. There are even sites dedicated to teaching online predators how to cover their tracks.
A photo of your child could be part of a pedophilia ring that has been uncovered by Police, and you wont even know about it.
The Task Force I worked for busts pedophile rings - and makes arrests of pedophiles in our neighbourhood. This article is an insight into what they do, and how close to your home they come to arrest offenders.
A pedophile or predator will not play fair, nor think like the average person. They therefore look at images and their erotic 'potential' differently to how the average population does.
Here are some things that pedophiles may find attractive when looking at photos on social media:
Things to consider when posting photos of your children:
* I used to pray that when I saw a photo of a baby in a nappy and a sexually aroused man in the image that the image was 'superimposed'. I didn't always receive this comfort from the government classifier or the photographic specialists. This is is the horrific reality of child sex crimes and trafficking in the 21st century. There is one photo in particular that I remember which causes me pain daily - a 6 month old in just a nappy with the most beautiful angelic smile laying on a bed - and a naked man entering the babies bedroom. This child looked like my babies - your babies. And the horror that I could not reach through that screen and save that child scratches at my brain.
Things to be considered with your teens social media images:
It has taken over a decade for me to write this post because I know that I will have re-visted images and situations from my career that haunt me. There was a time when I would physical hit my head and moan to stop the memories - but I hope that I have now developed better coping strategies. I now have a practice of offering it 'up', or surrender. I take the time to do a short meditation where I hand the image and the horror over. This then allows me to focus on the present. If it re-surfaces I repeat... repeat, repeat repeat - just like my rules of self defence. Because to submit is not an option for me - or my children.
If you have been affected by this article please make an appointment with your GP.
Or ring lifeline. Or the sexual assault helpline.
Here are some things you may need to know when reporting sexual abuse.
Empower yourself and your family with an online interactive self defence e-book. Because self defence isn't something that you had 'wished' you had learned.
We had more breaks in our street over the weekend.
Our Police are at capacity... who would want to be a police officer? No one apparently, in 2-3 years the Qld Union head said there will be NO ONE TO RESPOND TO YOUR CALLS.
WAIT. We can do something. We all can. We can educate ourselves. We can demand our taxes stop being lost in bureaucracy and dodgy grants for morning teas and website development.
You can copy and paste this your you local councillor, state rep, your school - P&C, or F. Imagine a world free of fear that is safe for everyone. Go for it:
Dear local elected member/ school representative:
Thank you for your stated values of for local safety, protection for our children and working with the community.
The last 5 years have seen the home invasions and domestic violence incidents in our area triple according to the latest QPS stats release.
I am fully aware of severe Police understaffing, recruitment and moral issues and lack of detention facilities. This problem is not going away anytime soon, and another local community member should not be killed during another home invasion, sexual assault or domestic violence attack when these education programs are readily available to empower our community.
Education and personal empowerment strategies are the key to a healthy individual and hence, a thriving community.
I believe that we have access to this education within our community and I am interested in having this program readily available. Erin is a former QPS detective who is now one of the only insured/ recognised self defence and public safety experts in Australia delivering the RAVES self defence and violence prevention system (www.RAVESselfdefence.com). The methods taught are not martial arts based and do not required protracted practice and commitment and are aimed at our most vulnerable: children, women and the elderly. Erin has apprehended offenders in her home, and has extensive history apprehending violent offenders during her 12 years as an operational police officer. She has tertiary and VET level qualifications in public safety, investigations, adult learning, human performance, policy and victim empowerment.
RAVES self defence has delivered violence prevention and respectful relationship programs to local and State Govt Organisation for over 17 years. As you would be aware recent QLD Work Health and Safety Act and regulations mandate workplaces are now legally responsible for managing psychosocial hazards: and violence prevention and reslience education would be seen as a minimum proactive priority at our schools and workplaces.
RAVES self defence is sponsored by Domestic Violence prevention organisations and has delivered to over 40 schools as part of their child protection, consent and respectful relationships and pastoral care programs, and to seniors as they prepare for schoolies and adult life.
RAVES has an extensive library of personal safety education programs that would be useful for newsletters and public safety campaigns that workplaces, schools and government organisations very welcome to access and use.
RAVES is delivered all over Australia yet is under utilised in the North Brisbane local area.
If you see a potential to incorporate the RAVES program or use of RAVES public safety information please reach out and make a meeting a priority.
Have these quips ready
I talk a lot about the systematic programming that hijacks our amygdala and puts us in a freeze or fawn state whenever we are confronted with aggressive behaviours.
But how do we overcome it? How do we prevent 2am wake ups where we get stuck in an imaginary conversation peppered with "I should have said..."?
We create habit sentences. Which means we use these sentences frequently so they become second nature. Here are some examples of habit sentences that you can add to your personal protection trusty tool kit.
When I teach SAFE WORKSPACE DE-ESCALATION STRATEGIES I am delighted by some of the habit sentences that call centre staff and receptionists use.
Let me know what has worked for you ?
Hacks to De-escalate ANGER
There are strategic physical hacks that we can make habitual to dealing effectively with conflict... give these a crack and let me know what works for you.
And let work know you would love some WORKSAFE De-escalation Training to suit your works space.
Let’s look at our solutions…
Join myself and Lucretia from Medusa’s Mic Podcast when we dive into the topics of reporting sexual assault and the services available to those who are affected. I am all about the empowerment and advocacy and creating change…. We discuss the importance of shifting the narrative and conditioning to pull back the level of sexual violence we’re seeing in today’s society. Sexual violence hurts everybody.
Their experiences: Why they won’t report
I dip my toe into the trauma responses I experience as a result of being an online covert in the highly dysfunctional and sexualised world of online grooming.
Join myself and Lucretia from Medusa’s Mic Podcast as we dive into the following:
We discuss my career with the Queensland Police, including my time with Task Force Argos, the branch responsible for the investigation of online child exploitation and abuse. This episode provides great insights into the societal conditioning women face every day and why they are often afraid to speak up. Listen out for strategies designed to empower young girls and women to verbalise their experiences, reduce their negative self-talk and respond to the trauma of sexual violence.
Thinking of going to RAVES self defence with your pre-teen? Worried about talking about sexual assault?
Tanya Allan - a real story teller paints the RAVES picture for you.
To all my grade 12's.... You've almost done it... you are almost there.
BUT. Life isn't just about your grades and what you are going to do next year.
All of this means nothing if your mental health and safety are jeopardised.
The biggest test in life is... wait for it.... life itself.
Let this old woman who has survived high school, uni, and a Police dormitory before even reaching 21 give you some advice for you and your friends about how to be safe as you embark into independent living situations with its inherent exposure to alcohol, drugs and sex famously paired with peer pressure, impaired environmental awareness and the characteristic teen 'c'est la vie' brain.