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Survived the Journey… Memuna Barnes

You all know me by now. I will do a review only after I have read the book. When the author of this book invited me to review her book, I blithely wrote back my usual style. I need to know what I am reviewing. Right? I got the book , then saw the number of pages and I desperately wondered I didn’t just allow myself to be guided by the first offer and stay close to what amazon.com had to say. But I knew one review can be different from the other and I had no choice. When I started reading however, I became very alarmed and uncomfortable. I was worried, angry at different times and unfortunately I took the story into my dreams as I became a captive of Memuna Barnes.
I was saddened at the waste of adolescent dreams, the eagerness of young souls trampled underneath by our base emotions. The innocence of Memuna and her fellow victims, hope killed by the bullet into the brains of Fuck-care. Those names , how-are-you, Pustine, C.O Base and a host of others. It was painful to read how Memuna overcame her first horror at brutality to her resigned acceptance of it. She never came to terms with it and she mirrored to us how the older generation had failed them.IMG_1708
Survived the Journey is the journey of an innocent, fresh- faced, pert and saucy teenage girl, forced to grow up fast and eventually traumatized by the sheer cussedness of humanity where dreams die first.. She could easily have used that as the title of her book except for this detail, Memuna Barnes is a first rate survivor, who had the grace to be stubborn, a determination to hang on to her virginity, that determined her dreams.
Memuna survived the darkened dawn so she could take her place in the sun. Read her story and be inspired. I read and then I had these questions.
Congratulations on your book but we will love you to answer a few questions IMG_2461
1. Please tell us a bit about yourself
A) I am Memuna Barnes in my 30s, one of nine children. I was born in Liberia to a Sierra Leonean father and a Liberian mother. I came to New Zealand in 2000 as part of the United Nations Refugee Resettlement Program with my father and younger sister Mamawa.
2. You started your story straight away about the capture and your family remained most times in the shadows. Tell us a bit more about your parents.
A) Growing up both of my parents were in the workforce. My mother was a secretary at a printing company and my father a manager at Telema Fishing Company – Liberia’s second largest fishing company. At the time my sister We’re the two kids who lived with them in Liberia. We were well provided for and if
there ever were hard times before the war…..my mother made sure my sister and I didn’t know about it. Mama was a mother who lived for her children. Very hands – On. She never missed our school programs although Mamawa and I didn’t attend the same school. Mama would pick up the child who did not have a program
first and rush off to the school of the other child and make sure that child knew she was in the crowd watching. I was always involved in plays or speeches at mine and She would run to get Mamawa after work and rush to my school. She was always there in time to give me that last minute cheer, kiss and hug to assure me she was watching and enjoying every second. Which for me, was all that mattered. I was a well catered for child as far as I know. Our father worked most of the time and we only really got to see him at weekends. My parents paid for everything we wanted.
3. What led to the RUF over running your part of the country?
A) The Revolutionary United Front (RUF) walked into Sierra Leone from Liberia via the border and started what they dubbed “First Battalion” in Pujehun District by capturing and recruiting young boys and girls into their rebel force. Soon after they took Kailahun District which was dubbed “Second Battalion” giving them access to diamond mines which were used as currency for ammunition. So those two southern districts became rebels stronghold.
4.At the end of your journey, did you meet up with Hassan ?
A) I could have met up with Hassan as I mentioned towards the end of the book when I bumped into How-are-you in the market. However, I was afraid he would find me and take me again. So no I didn’t.
5.Did you discover any further news about Base and Pustine?
A) I know nothing more about Base. I could find out about Pustine if I asked a few people but I have not tried to.

6.You had quite a violent eighteen months as a captive, has it anyway affected your perception of war, politics and your old country.
A) My experience has indeed affected me a great deal. First, before this I had no reason to think about war and I would forget really quickly soon after watching a war movie as a child. I remember owning a toy pistol myself once. However, after
experiencing two civil wars in a space of a decade, I think it is a pointless waste of lives, resources, infrastructure and a heinous offence to humanity. Why not just sit and talk about issue? Why not negotiate and bargain ( this is what would have to happen in the end anyway) and think about the citizens and the generations to
come? I think our leaders should picture themselves as parents when they are voted into power. They are voted out of trust and respect should always consider the people who give them power and use that power for the people rather than against them. Create opportunities in form of jobs, utilize national resources and subsidize the healthcare and education system of their respective countries.
Liberia and Sierra Leone need to stand up and value their people especially when there are so many emotionally destroyed individuals running around aimlessly. You cannot love your country if you have no respect for human rights. The aftermath of war, I think is almost as bad as the war itself. The country is left with traumatized individuals who are so confused and still scared: for those who participated in the massacre – they live with the guilt (if capable of remorse) over the lives they took, unable to fit in a functional society ( for people like Hassan, Base, CO. Gbembo) where instead of people answering to them they now have to learn
how to have bosses and a job, some live in fear of retribution.
For those of us who witnessed the horror we live with recurring nightmares and sorrow over our loss and we want answers but no one can offer them. For me carrying on is something that just happens because I am alive but still sometimes feel stuck. These memories can be triggered by the simplest event. I think about the day we left Monrovia almost everyday as I go past the dock and see cruise ships. Watching contemporary war movies or the sound of a car backfire gives me nightmares of the war.
Then all the dead bodies that are left in the forests where bombs have been thrown at people… get washed off into waterways and pollute the environment and lead to the spread of diseases.
7.In the book, there seemed to have been a breakdown of all forms of morality and ethics, what would be your understanding of this on the younger generation particularly the child soldiers
A) Living in war where there is no one to judge or guide one apart from God in Heaven (and that is if you grew up being taught of a higher power) shows you what humans are capable of given the opportunity.
Younger children, first of all in a normal situation must always be watched and led on the right path in life as we all come into this world knowing nothing more than our basic motor skills. Then a young child who is already confused by adolescence is taken from his or her family and forced to shed blood and is conditioned to think that these atrocities are the way of life can only lead to a generation of damaged men and women who will then go on to raise another angry and confused generation if care is not taken and something is done to rehabilitate and integrate those were involved into a functional society.
8.Hassan seemed to have been portrayed as a villain but as I read further I find you trusted him more and I wonder if you hoped he would get some type of counseling too.
A) I hope Hassan would receive counselling and rehabilitation. So many innocent youths were forced into those wars. Of course there were some who were just downright terrible human beings like those hard core criminals who were released from prisons in every town the rebels took over. Now that these men and women have been disarmed….what now?
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9.With the benefit of hindsight, what would you have done differently?

A) After asking myself this question so many times over the years I cannot think of much I could have done. Apart from pleading with my mother not to travel that day, that was the last time my sister Mamawa and I saw her alive.
10.Is your book going to be available in Liberia and Sierra Leone, and would it be effective in helping to heal and reconcile the victims of this war?
A) This is my prayer that this book does great things for my countries, continent and
the world. I hope I can get SURVIVED:The Journey into both Liberia and Sierra Leone and that it is perceived and accepted it as a healing tool, that my story encourages talk about theirs and that the government in these countries do something to properly integrate these former rebels into society and heal the countries, I hope it is perceived as a history lesson, as well as a possible guide to how matters could be handled for the sake of the innocent civilians.
11. Please let us know, in what ways this recollections has affected you and what advice you might give young persons who may have been affected by the book
A) Reliving my experience in order for me to write my book has helped me accept that sometimes in life things beyond our control happen to us and we can never get answers to the question we need answered in order for us to move on. And that
sometimes being alive and healthy is all you need to ask God to give you courage to summon the strength to see his grace in your life. My questions were: Why? Who gave these people the right to invade my life, disrupt my home, and tear me away from my mother? Who said it was ok to snatch my innocence away? What makes them so worthy? God where were you, Why were you so angry to let it happen?
To every young boy or girl who reads my book, be courageous, stand for your truth and be yourself. No bad situation lasts forever. Have a lot of compassion for yourself and your peers.
Every new day is a promise.

12.What group of people will you recommend to read your book?
I believe that this is a good read for people of ages 15 and up. There is a lesson in it for everyone. Our politicians too could learn a thing or two.
13.Please give us links to anyone interested in buying the book.
SURVIVED: The Journey can be purchased at http://www.survivedthejourney.com or amazon.com or http://amzn.com/0473246244
For comments and discussions after you have read please find me at amazon.com/author/survivedthejourney.com Also at https://www.goodreads.com/httpwwwsurvivedthejourneycom

To the Survivors…Revisit

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As the year closes, I thought, I should share some of those things that have left an impact on me. One of the things I have learnt over time is books I review tend to stay with me and some of the authors tend to become my friends. One of such authors is Bobby Uttaro.
It could be in the style of writing or the contents, Bobby’s book, “To the Survivors” has stayed with me and in a way has become a kind of comfort book for me. I live in a country where rape and rape victims are on the peripheral vision of the country. I am sure there had been reports of rape before I read the book, but my senses became real sharpened enough to take particular notice and that became depressing.
How do I mean? I came across cases of rape, from infants to elderly women for different reasons. It appears women have been under siege in my country for longer that I imagined and we don’t seem to be doing anything concrete. I am not about to start another article on this but I want to thank Bobby for at least making me know about one of the dirty secrets of humanity. To the Survivors
Rape is not exclusive to a particular nation nor is it alien to any society, I guess rape has existed amongst us from the time of the cave men, but it is the oldest shame that man has on its collective soul.
I am thus repeating my interview with Bobby today, with the hope that somehow, we will be reminded of the road we still need to follow to achieve that which we are seeking. For as long as we deny the woman the right to refuse a sexual advance, I think we are diminished by that violence.
How do I mean? I came across cases of rape, from infants to elderly women for different reasons. It appears women have been under siege in my country for longer that I imagined and we don’t seem to be doing anything concrete. I am not about to start another article on this but I want to thank Bobby for at least making me know about one of the dirty secrets of humanity.
Rape is not exclusive to a particular nation nor is it alien to any society, I guess rape has existed amongst us from the time of the cave men, but it is the oldest shame that man has on its collective soul.
I am thus repeating my interview with Bobby today, with the hope that somehow, we will be reminded of the road we still need to follow to achieve that which we are seeking. For as long as we deny the woman the right to refuse a sexual advance, I think we are diminished by that violence.
Please enjoy
To the Survivors…..Book Cover
I opened page one and was sucked in.I raged, cried, was angry and kicked but Bobby had me by the short hairs and dragged me through me, through the minds of every breathing human being making me look at a crime, issue that for us in my corner of the world we have been unable to define properly let alone classify and give it a name.
The innocent girl on her first wedding night to a man old enough to be her father as she is dragged to matrimonial bed and raped by her elderly husband . Her terrified screams and flailing arms applauded by all. She is welcomed into matrimony through the red mist of her violent entry. That was the story. In my corner of the universe, that is how you marry. In my time and age.,I learnt about this during my first visit to my hometown in the south west when I came to my family for the first time. I stood in shock as I heard the wild screams. Rape.. a word that young bride never heard of but has been made to experience as a received standard response to sexual activity. The women watched the men, resentment in their heart, hate to the mate who is brought in and polygamy grows hand in hand with hate and resentment. People of my mother’s age and some of mine. This is a hard book for me and anyone who has ever empathized with rape, assault, and even molestation and I passionately ask you to pick up a copy for yourself. It is a must in libraries and schools. In fact any public place.
I am not telling you my story, but the subject of Bobby’s book and the very painful reactions he has made me go through. I want you to meet Bobby and I hope his answers will help us.
1. Welcome Bobby to Ephesus.

Thank you for having me. It’s a blessing and honor to speak with you.

2. Can you define rape in all its ramifications as you understand it?
In my opinion, rape, especially child rape, is the worst crime human beings commit against each other as it causes the most damage to a person’s mind, heart, and soul over significant periods of time. People who are raped have their power and control taken from them. Some believe they will die during a rape and others want to die after. Think about how terrifying and sad this is. The pain and suffering that rape survivors experience can often last many years to a lifetime. But the damage caused does not just hurt the survivor; it hurts that person’s family and friends as well. Significant others are often devastated, sometimes more so than the survivor. I know of a man who was so broken after he learned that his girlfriend was raped years before. He didn’t know what to do. He didn’t know how to process it. It was as if nothing in life made sense anymore.
There are so many ramifications of rape, probably too many to list now. In my experiences, I have yet to see a crime that causes so much shame. If one feels shame, one will inevitably have serious health problems. Many, if not all rape survivors at one point in their lifetime, possibly even for years, have suffered deep shame. This is so incredibly sad because on top of being raped, a person most likely lives with shame for years. Shame is crippling and paralyzing. Think of the suffering people who have this undeserved shame live with and how it affects their lives and the lives of those around them.

The ramifications of rape are vast, but I will mention a few. Rape is linked to shame, anger/rage, depression, insecurity, anxiety, fear, suicidal thoughts and suicide, eating disorders, and other health issues. It causes low to no self-esteem. It can alter people’s perceptions of themselves and the world around them. Many rape survivors live in fear. Many rape survivors are physically and spiritually shackled. Rape can shatter the soul. And on top of all of these horrific effects and sufferings, many rape survivors blame themselves. But I want everyone to know that it is not their fault and that they can regain control back. Their lives can be happier and healthier if they are unhappy and suffering. The soul can be strengthened and healed.
Lastly, there are many societal and financial ramifications from rape. Rape can be linked to drug addiction, prostitution, organized crime, and our prison populations, to name a few. For example, I had a meeting at a women’s prison in hopes of getting the book To the Survivors to the inmates. At the time of my meeting there were approximately 100 women incarcerated inside. The Director of Women’s Programming told me roughly 75% of the women had been raped. Also, the Director of Mental Health Services told me 99% of the women had been raped. Why were they incarcerated? The majority were incarcerated due to drugs and prostitution. There is a clear correlation between our female prison population, prostitution, drug addiction and rape. This is also true for some of our male inmates as well.
Ultimately, rape causes more damaging ramifications than I can answer in your question, but hopefully this is a good starting point and answers some of it.

3. Is Sexual assault, rape or sexual violence graded?

Some people grade different levels, but I don’t think that it is necessary to do. I don’t think we should. Every sexual assault, molestation, or rape, is a crime that causes suffering. We should help anyone affected and not grade their experiences.

4. Rape is not gender sensitive and is prevalent in every society on the earth, what can be done to stop it?

The prevalence of rape can decrease if more people make changes within their own hearts. I believe that we can stop and prevent some acts of rape, but I do not believe we will stop rape entirely. I believe rape will exist as long as human beings live on this earth. This is not meant to sound hopeless. I am very hopeful of what can be done and I know more people can heal. I would not keep doing this work and be speaking with you if I did not see real human and spiritual growth within people. But I do believe it is important to be realistic about the world we live in and the evil atrocities that will continue to exist.

Rape is the most prevalent and least reported violent crime throughout the world. The majority of people do not even speak about it, let alone get active and help people affected. Minimal rape crisis centers exist worldwide and too many people don’t want to deal with the realities.

It is believed by some that the second most lucrative illegal business in the world is human trafficking. Billions of dollars are made every year off the sale of human beings who are forced into sexual slavery. In addition, little boys and girls are raped in homes by relatives. People are raped by their spouses. And we know that even some individuals who work in the most trusted public service positions – from law enforcement to religious clergy – rape. How will this stop? I don’t believe it will ever stop, but we can help people in their healing process and we can raise awareness through education.

Education and people intervening if they see something inappropriate is necessary for the prevention of sexual violence. Sadly, many people don’t see the signs of a rape or sexual assault before they occur. If we educate people on some of the signs, we may be able to prevent some crimes. For example, there were many signs of early troubling or inappropriate conduct in the lives of Jim and Chris, who are speakers with individual chapters in To the Survivors. If people around them were educated on the signs and empowered through that education to act, those innocent boys may not have been sexually abused. However, no one noticed, or some noticed but did not intervene, and these boys suffered.
I don’t believe we will ever eradicate rape on this earth, but I believe that we can help people in their healing process and live healthy and productive lives. We can listen to each other, show each other compassion, and empower each other. Too many survivors suffer in silence alone. But I want to tell people that they do not have to suffer in silence. They can heal and they can also help others if they choose to. Our voices are incredibly important and valuable. We can make a real difference in the lives of those who are struggling and suffering. I hope and pray for more of us do that.
Ultimately, rape can stop if human beings stop raping. It is a choice. Sadly, it is a choice that people will continue to commit and many others will continue to not speak of.
5. Would it be right to say that as much as the assaulted is counseled, the aggressor also needs assessment and managing?

So many acts of sexual violence are hidden from others. This, of course, makes assessing and managing a perpetrator exceptionally difficult. How do you assess and manage a person abusing another person when no one knows or speaks about it? This happens too often. The majority of rapists are not arrested, let alone convicted and then sent to prison. And even those who are sent to prison, how long is their prison term? The majority of those convicted come back into our society. Should more be done to manage them? Yes. But the majority of rapists freely walk this earth and commit vile crimes.

I do believe the aggressor needs counseling, but only if the aggressor wants counseling. Sadly, some people commit these crimes with no remorse. I believe remorse and redemption exist for those who want it, but not everyone wants it. If you read all of To the Survivors, you will see that none of the perpetrators showed any true remorse for their crimes.

In order for people to change, they must first make a change in their own heart.

6. Is the rapist mentally deficient and may be classified as disabled?

No. I do not believe we should call rapists disabled. People in wheelchairs are disabled. People with autism who can’t adequately communicate to others are disabled. Rapists choose to commit a crime. Some doctors, teachers, lawyers, police officers, politicians and religious leaders, to name a few, commit rape. Do we look at those professions as disabled?

7. In your book you are neither a rapist nor a victim so why did you write about it?

God. I did not consider myself a writer and never once tried to write a book until the experience of an intensely vivid dream one morning changed my life. I woke up from this dream and said, “I have to write a book.” I interpreted this dream as a vision from God. I prayed to God, moved from the bed to the computer, opened up Microsoft Word, and continued to pray. That is how To the Survivors began. To the Survivors would not be helping the amount of people it has helped if it weren’t for God. I would not be speaking with you now if it weren’t for God. There are too many people suffering, and I know this book can help with that suffering.

8. Some cultures really do not believe in marital rape as rape as they argue it is a male right to enforce their conjugal rights, what do you think?

I think this is horrible. Words cannot fully describe how awful this belief is. This absurd belief and reasoning allows for women to get raped. This kind of thinking accepts rape and too many people suffer as a result. Where does this ludicrous belief come from? Rape is rape. It is an evil crime. I believe it is a demonic and satanic crime. It does not matter if you are married or not; no spouse should rape or endure being raped. No one should be raped. What makes men inherently superior to women? Nothing. Why should a man have the right to rape his wife? He shouldn’t. There is no logical or rational explanation for this and it should not be condoned. Unfortunately, it is.

You say that some cultures do not believe in marital rape as they argue it is a male’s right to enforce his conjugal rights. I know it is hard to believe, but some women do rape men. Should women rape their husbands? Of course not. So why should a man be allowed to commit an evil crime against his wife? Why would he even want to? The belief that men can rape their wives due to their “conjugal rights” is wrong and it sanctions rape. Marriage is supposed to be about love, not rape, and complete dominance of one over another.

9. The first thing that happens to a person that has been sexually assaulted, molested or harassed is to hide, keep quiet or feel shame and they go into hiding the event, how do you identify that to help?
It is not for me to tell people how to act. It is solely up to the survivor to do what he or she wants to do. Personally, I would like more and more people to open up to a trusted individual in their lives, but I cannot make a survivor do that. Rape and sexual assault are so incredibly hard to talk about. But I believe we have to be there for each other and let others know that we will sit and listen to them if they ever need anything. I pray that more people create loving and safe environments in which people can disclose their stories and pain if they choose to. More people will come forward as more people come forward.
10. Your THP sounds wonderful, have they thought of extending their great work to other countries? Through affiliations, overseas training to create awareness to communities?

No, but I will. I try my best to get this book and these messages to countries throughout the world and will continue to do so. You are a big part of that Abiola. God bless you. Thank you for this connection and opportunity.

11. Do you have any plans to make your book available to Africa and Nigeria?

Absolutely. One way to make the book available in Nigeria and Africa is by talking to other people, posting on social media sites and through this great interview. This interview will raise awareness of the book’s existence to people in Nigeria, and I thank you for that. To the Survivors can be found online at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, kobo.com, smashwords.com, goodreads.com, and other online retailers. The e-book can also be found on my website for free at http://www.robertuttaro.com if people cannot afford the book. I want anyone to be able to get a copy of To the Survivors should they have an interest. People can contact me directly through my website if for some reason they cannot obtain a copy. Lastly, I would love to travel to Nigeria or anywhere else if anyone ever wants me to speak about these issues.

12. Share your thoughts on what you hope your book might achieve?

I have many hopes for what the book might achieve in the lives of others, probably too many to list here. I will try to answer as best as I can:

I hope people keep breathing and do not choose to kill him or herself.
I hope people will not feel shame for being raped or sexually assaulted.
I hope people will not blame themselves for being raped or sexually assaulted.
I hope people understand that they are not alone.
I hope people connect on some level with at least one person in To the Survivors.
I hope people understand that they can grow and heal from any pain they experience.
I hope people who have not been raped or sexually assaulted become more educated on how to respond to incidences of sexual violence and the suffering of survivors.
I hope people stop raping and assaulting.
I hope people understand that God loves them more than they can even fathom, even if they do not believe in God.
I hope people talk to God and listen to God.

These are some of my many hopes.

Will you be willing to answer questions on your book after this time, if you will please tell us how we may do that.
Yes. People can email me at info@robertuttaro.com if they want to ask me anything.
Thank you being on Ephesus.
Thank you for having me. It’s been a true blessing. God bless you, Abiola.
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To the Survivors…..Interview

I love reading. It is an opportunity to escape into another world and be somebody else for a change and for me it is an education. Well, this piece is about an education that I will not be flippant about. I review books because it helps me learn about concepts. I enjoy the books and also sometimes I get to make friends. I also have certain self imposed guideline I have given myself. I simply read as the intended reader and share how the book stands with me as a person.
Now that is off my chest, couple of months ago, I got books to read and review. Great I said to myself and read the first two and loved them. Quickly sent the authors questions I wanted them to answer. I like staying in touch with them. I have known authors who did not bother with me again after I had reviewed their books. Suits me fine.
In one of those batches of books I received was a book that I was horrified to learn I had missed for weeks as it sat in my computer overlooked. Couple of weeks later a guy sends me an email asking if I had read his book? What? I apologized, assumed it was one the books that I did not enjoy and told the fellow I had no understanding of the subject matter, so I wrote a nice email back that I could not get a handle on the book and explained my reasons. He gave me a nice reply and wondered what I could not understand about rape. I was shocked. Did he write about rape somewhere in that book? I stared at his name again really puzzled.
I went backtracking my emails on books to read, it was not on my downloads. I was getting ready to email back that he must have sent it to someone else but I wanted to be sure so I started checking my back emails…and there it was. I stared at it in shock. Downloaded and there was the name Robert Uttaro.. To the Survivors..blimey! I started to read.
To the Survivors…..To the Survivors
I opened page one and was sucked in. I raged, cried, was angry and Bobby had me.He took me through the minds of people that made me look at a crime, that for us in my corner of the world we have been unable to define properly let alone classify and give it a name. Bobby’s book is about rape. It is a tough subject for a woman to treat, either personally or even to read. I had a tough book on my hands. I HAD to read, felt it, cried over it and was raw with a myriad of emotions for days..
Thank you Bobby, I almost didn’t like you but I do love you and I will like every human being to read this book. It is not fiction, when you read it, you will half wish you can dismiss it as fiction. Bobby’s confusion, and compassion glows through and also his sincerity and honesty.
I want you to meet Bobby and I hope his answers will help us.pic
1. Welcome Bobby to Ephesus.

Thank you for having me. It’s a blessing and honor to speak with you.

2. Can you define rape in all its ramifications as you understand it?
In my opinion, rape, especially child rape, is the worst crime human beings commit against each other as it causes the most damage to a person’s mind, heart, and soul over significant periods of time. People who are raped have their power and control taken from them. Some believe they will die during a rape and others want to die after. Think about how terrifying and sad this is. The pain and suffering that rape survivors experience can often last many years to a lifetime. But the damage caused does not just hurt the survivor; it hurts that person’s family and friends as well. Significant others are often devastated, sometimes more so than the survivor. I know of a man who was so broken after he learned that his girlfriend was raped years before. He didn’t know what to do. He didn’t know how to process it. It was as if nothing in life made sense anymore.
There are so many ramifications of rape, probably too many to list now. In my experiences, I have yet to see a crime that causes so much shame. If one feels shame, one will inevitably have serious health problems. Many, if not all rape survivors at one point in their lifetime, possibly even for years, have suffered deep shame. This is so incredibly sad because on top of being raped, a person most likely lives with shame for years. Shame is crippling and paralyzing. Think of the suffering people who have this undeserved shame live with and how it affects their lives and the lives of those around them.

The ramifications of rape are vast, but I will mention a few. Rape is linked to shame, anger/rage, depression, insecurity, anxiety, fear, suicidal thoughts and suicide, eating disorders, and other health issues. It causes low to no self-esteem. It can alter people’s perceptions of themselves and the world around them. Many rape survivors live in fear. Many rape survivors are physically and spiritually shackled. Rape can shatter the soul. And on top of all of these horrific effects and sufferings, many rape survivors blame themselves. But I want everyone to know that it is not their fault and that they can regain control back. Their lives can be happier and healthier if they are unhappy and suffering. The soul can be strengthened and healed.
Lastly, there are many societal and financial ramifications from rape. Rape can be linked to drug addiction, prostitution, organized crime, and our prison populations, to name a few. For example, I had a meeting at a women’s prison in hopes of getting the book To the Survivors to the inmates. At the time of my meeting there were approximately 100 women incarcerated inside. The Director of Women’s Programming told me roughly 75% of the women had been raped. Also, the Director of Mental Health Services told me 99% of the women had been raped. Why were they incarcerated? The majority were incarcerated due to drugs and prostitution. There is a clear correlation between our female prison population, prostitution, drug addiction and rape. This is also true for some of our male inmates as well.
Ultimately, rape causes more damaging ramifications than I can answer in your question, but hopefully this is a good starting point and answers some of it.

3. Is Sexual assault, rape or sexual violence graded?

Some people grade different levels, but I don’t think that it is necessary to do. I don’t think we should. Every sexual assault, molestation, or rape, is a crime that causes suffering. We should help anyone affected and not grade their experiences.

4. Rape is not gender sensitive and is prevalent in every society on the earth, what can be done to stop it?

The prevalence of rape can decrease if more people make changes within their own hearts. I believe that we can stop and prevent some acts of rape, but I do not believe we will stop rape entirely. I believe rape will exist as long as human beings live on this earth. This is not meant to sound hopeless. I am very hopeful of what can be done and I know more people can heal. I would not keep doing this work and be speaking with you if I did not see real human and spiritual growth within people. But I do believe it is important to be realistic about the world we live in and the evil atrocities that will continue to exist.

Rape is the most prevalent and least reported violent crime throughout the world. The majority of people do not even speak about it, let alone get active and help people affected. Minimal rape crisis centers exist worldwide and too many people don’t want to deal with the realities.

It is believed by some that the second most lucrative illegal business in the world is human trafficking. Billions of dollars are made every year off the sale of human beings who are forced into sexual slavery. In addition, little boys and girls are raped in homes by relatives. People are raped by their spouses. And we know that even some individuals who work in the most trusted public service positions – from law enforcement to religious clergy – rape. How will this stop? I don’t believe it will ever stop, but we can help people in their healing process and we can raise awareness through education.

Education and people intervening if they see something inappropriate is necessary for the prevention of sexual violence. Sadly, many people don’t see the signs of a rape or sexual assault before they occur. If we educate people on some of the signs, we may be able to prevent some crimes. For example, there were many signs of early troubling or inappropriate conduct in the lives of Jim and Chris, who are speakers with individual chapters in To the Survivors. If people around them were educated on the signs and empowered through that education to act, those innocent boys may not have been sexually abused. However, no one noticed, or some noticed but did not intervene, and these boys suffered.
I don’t believe we will ever eradicate rape on this earth, but I believe that we can help people in their healing process and live healthy and productive lives. We can listen to each other, show each other compassion, and empower each other. Too many survivors suffer in silence alone. But I want to tell people that they do not have to suffer in silence. They can heal and they can also help others if they choose to. Our voices are incredibly important and valuable. We can make a real difference in the lives of those who are struggling and suffering. I hope and pray for more of us do that.
Ultimately, rape can stop if human beings stop raping. It is a choice. Sadly, it is a choice that people will continue to commit and many others will continue to not speak of.
5. Would it be right to say that as much as the assaulted is counseled, the aggressor also needs assessment and managing?

So many acts of sexual violence are hidden from others. This, of course, makes assessing and managing a perpetrator exceptionally difficult. How do you assess and manage a person abusing another person when no one knows or speaks about it? This happens too often. The majority of rapists are not arrested, let alone convicted and then sent to prison. And even those who are sent to prison, how long is their prison term? The majority of those convicted come back into our society. Should more be done to manage them? Yes. But the majority of rapists freely walk this earth and commit vile crimes.

I do believe the aggressor needs counseling, but only if the aggressor wants counseling. Sadly, some people commit these crimes with no remorse. I believe remorse and redemption exist for those who want it, but not everyone wants it. If you read all of To the Survivors, you will see that none of the perpetrators showed any true remorse for their crimes.

In order for people to change, they must first make a change in their own heart.

6. Is the rapist mentally deficient and may be classified as disabled?

No. I do not believe we should call rapists disabled. People in wheelchairs are disabled. People with autism who can’t adequately communicate to others are disabled. Rapists choose to commit a crime. Some doctors, teachers, lawyers, police officers, politicians and religious leaders, to name a few, commit rape. Do we look at those professions as disabled?

7. In your book you are neither a rapist nor a victim so why did you write about it?

God. I did not consider myself a writer and never once tried to write a book until the experience of an intensely vivid dream one morning changed my life. I woke up from this dream and said, “I have to write a book.” I interpreted this dream as a vision from God. I prayed to God, moved from the bed to the computer, opened up Microsoft Word, and continued to pray. That is how To the Survivors began. To the Survivors would not be helping the amount of people it has helped if it weren’t for God. I would not be speaking with you now if it weren’t for God. There are too many people suffering, and I know this book can help with that suffering.

8. Some cultures really do not believe in marital rape as rape as they argue it is a male right to enforce their conjugal rights, what do you think?

I think this is horrible. Words cannot fully describe how awful this belief is. This absurd belief and reasoning allows for women to get raped. This kind of thinking accepts rape and too many people suffer as a result. Where does this ludicrous belief come from? Rape is rape. It is an evil crime. I believe it is a demonic and satanic crime. It does not matter if you are married or not; no spouse should rape or endure being raped. No one should be raped. What makes men inherently superior to women? Nothing. Why should a man have the right to rape his wife? He shouldn’t. There is no logical or rational explanation for this and it should not be condoned. Unfortunately, it is.

You say that some cultures do not believe in marital rape as they argue it is a male’s right to enforce his conjugal rights. I know it is hard to believe, but some women do rape men. Should women rape their husbands? Of course not. So why should a man be allowed to commit an evil crime against his wife? Why would he even want to? The belief that men can rape their wives due to their “conjugal rights” is wrong and it sanctions rape. Marriage is supposed to be about love, not rape, and complete dominance of one over another.

9. The first thing that happens to a person that has been sexually assaulted, molested or harassed is to hide, keep quiet or feel shame and they go into hiding the event, how do you identify that to help?
It is not for me to tell people how to act. It is solely up to the survivor to do what he or she wants to do. Personally, I would like more and more people to open up to a trusted individual in their lives, but I cannot make a survivor do that. Rape and sexual assault are so incredibly hard to talk about. But I believe we have to be there for each other and let others know that we will sit and listen to them if they ever need anything. I pray that more people create loving and safe environments in which people can disclose their stories and pain if they choose to. More people will come forward as more people come forward.
10. Your THP sounds wonderful, have they thought of extending their great work to other countries? Through affiliations, overseas training to create awareness to communities?

No, but I will. I try my best to get this book and these messages to countries throughout the world and will continue to do so. You are a big part of that Abiola. God bless you. Thank you for this connection and opportunity.

11. Do you have any plans to make your book available to Africa and Nigeria?

Absolutely. One way to make the book available in Nigeria and Africa is by talking to other people, posting on social media sites and through this great interview. This interview will raise awareness of the book’s existence to people in Nigeria, and I thank you for that. To the Survivors can be found online at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, kobo.com, smashwords.com, goodreads.com, and other online retailers. The e-book can also be found on my website for free at http://www.robertuttaro.com if people cannot afford the book. I want anyone to be able to get a copy of To the Survivors should they have an interest. People can contact me directly through my website if for some reason they cannot obtain a copy. Lastly, I would love to travel to Nigeria or anywhere else if anyone ever wants me to speak about these issues.

12. Share your thoughts on what you hope your book might achieve?

I have many hopes for what the book might achieve in the lives of others, probably too many to list here. I will try to answer as best as I can:

I hope people keep breathing and do not choose to kill him or herself.
I hope people will not feel shame for being raped or sexually assaulted.
I hope people will not blame themselves for being raped or sexually assaulted.
I hope people understand that they are not alone.
I hope people connect on some level with at least one person in To the Survivors.
I hope people understand that they can grow and heal from any pain they experience.
I hope people who have not been raped or sexually assaulted become more educated on how to respond to incidences of sexual violence and the suffering of survivors.
I hope people stop raping and assaulting.
I hope people understand that God loves them more than they can even fathom, even if they do not believe in God.
I hope people talk to God and listen to God.

These are some of my many hopes.

Will you be willing to answer questions on your book after this time, if you will please tell us how we may do that.
Yes. People can email me at info@robertuttaro.com if they want to ask me anything.
Thank you being on Ephesus.
Thank you for having me. It’s been a true blessing. God bless you, Abiola.

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