Posts Tagged ‘Abuse: Child/Sexual/Domestic’


Coming Out Of The Dark’s Female Eye Film Festival Picks

March 23, 2010

The 8th Annual Female Eye Film Festival takes place in Toronto, Ontario March 24 – 28, 2010 at Rainbow Cinemas

Here are some film highlights that may interest Coming Out Of The Dark community

THE LINE dir Nancy Schwartzman A documentary film examining boundaries and sexual consent. A one night stand far from home turns into a sexual nightmare. As the filmmaker unravels her experience, she decides to confront her attacker.

Told through a “sex-positive” lens, THE LINE is a 24 minute documentary about a young woman – the filmmaker- who is raped, but her story isn’t cut and dry. Not a “perfect victim,” the filmmaker confronts her attacker, recording the conversation with a hidden camera. Sex workers, survivors and activists discuss justice, accountability and today’s “rape culture.” The film asks the question: where is the line defining consent?

The Line is more than a short documentary film, director Schwartzman has created a movement which asks the question WHERE IS YOUR LINE?  A group blog on consent, sex, pleasure, and ways we can ask for it. Through readers stories, photos, and comments, the hope is a place where we can dig deeper into all the questions raised by the film. The Line invites all voices, genders and opinions (as long as they’re respectful) to this space.

Website – Facebook Page Twitter

CLOSING GALA: NOTHING SPECIAL (North American Premiere) In her debut feature film, writer/director Angela Garcia Combs spins a dark and funny tale of a beautiful young woman at a crucial turning point in her career and her relationship with her bi-polar mother. Louise (Julia Garcia Combs) is an insurance underwriter living in Los Angeles with her mother, May (Karen Black), who has recently been evicted from her Section 8 apartment after the building was condemned. May’s shaky grip on her emotions begins to loosen when she becomes aware of the close relationship between Louise and her trailblazing boss, Catherine (Barbara Bain), whom Louise admires and adores.

Catherine is secretly fighting cancer and has an estranged relationship with her own daughter, and reaches out to Louise as a surrogate. At the same time, Catherine is pushing Louise to accept a big promotion, which will compel Louise to relocate to New York. Things heat up when May and Catherine meet by chance on Mother’s Day and an alarming confrontation ensues. Throw into the mix a budding romance between Louise and the local bartender, and we find ourselves in the midst of a gripping story of the joys and heartaches of mother-daughter relationships, and the intense emotional lives of three remarkable women living in the shadow of the Hollywood sign.

LOVE AT THE TWILIGHT MOTEL, dir by Alison Rose, weaves seven confessional interviews with guests of an hourly motel. Sex, infidelity and the allure of the fast lane propel their stories. The filmmaker doesn’t comment or judge as she peals back the layers of their stories. In the privacy of the bedroom, men and women become candidly revealing, dark and funny, transcending the limits of their circumstances, and redeeming themselves with their story telling. (Doc, 82:00, Toronto, CAN)

How Are You, co- dirs Susan Coyne and Martha Burns. How Are You? is a comedy about grief – the ordinary, everyday kind of grief that comes to us all. Olivia Kay, newly separated, must get through Valentine’s Day while enduring a series of awkward encounters with people, who ask “How Are You?”… but can’t wait for an answer. Her amusing yet devastating run-ins lead inexorably to the one encounter she needs and fears the most: herself. (Comedy, 17:00, Toronto, CAN)

The Real Matriarch dir Rhonda Buckley. The Real Matriarch takes a look at the politics, life and professions of four prominent women from Newfoundland and Labrador: Lois Brown, Barbara Doran, Edythe Goodridge, and Mrs. Sara Sexton. They are entertaining, shocking at times, and ultimately great storytellers. Their work with women’s groups, aids patients, artists, filmmakers, and community groups is acknowledged nationally. Spanning four generations and while raising children they have held their battles wildly and never stepped down. Always leaving a boardroom or a dining room in laughter. (WP, Doc. 45:00, NFLD, CAN)

La Luz Del Perdon (The Light of Forgiveness), dir Eileen Richardson. La Luz del Perdón is a hand processed hand manipulated film journey of emotions and a personal documentary that uses abstract imagery to represent the fear of rejection, homosexuality, memories of childhood and the ultimate light found in forgiveness. (TP, 15:00, Denver, USA)

PLAN B, SINGLE WOMEN CHOOSING MOTHERHOOD, dir Beth Cramer. Romance, love, marriage, what every girl thinks of as Plan A for their lives. Reality is women are staying single longer, pursuing careers and playing the field. These women now face the tough question of how to start a family without a
partner. (CP, Doc, 70:00, NY, USA)

For complete program schedule and film details visit



March 22, 2010

— an unconference about Mental Health

May 28, 2010, at the Bram and Bluma Appel Salon, Toronto Reference Library

An Unconference?

Those of us with a mental illness think differently than “normal” anyways so what ever an unconference is sounds fun.  Let’s face it a traditional conference about mental health does not sound like fun at all.  Who’s up for breaking rules and tradition?

Wikipedia states that an unconference is a facilitated, participant-driven conference entered on a theme or purpose. The term “unconference” has been applied, or self-applied, to a wide range of gatherings that try to avoid one or more aspects of a conventional conference. In this case there will be no advance schedule and the outline of the day will be made up in the morning based on attendees interests on mental health.

Who is the MentalHealthCamp for?

* Mental illness indirectly affects all Canadians at some time through a family member, friend or colleague.

* 20% of Canadians will personally experience a mental illness in their lifetime.

* Mental illness affects people of all ages, educational and income levels, and cultures.

* Facts: Canadian Mental Health Association

MentalHealthCamp is for mental health professionals, people living with or past mental health problems, a family member or friend of a person with mental health problems, or has a passion or an interest in the topic. MHCTO also welcomes technophiles, change architects and all sorts of social media types.

These days many of us seem to be on all the latest social media sites and online communities and we search the internet often for information and news. Mental Health Camp’s goal is to ignite conversations around how can we use these technologies to promote better mental health and help improve the lives of people with mental health problems.

MentalHealthCamp topics may include:

• How blogging, Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks can impact people’s mental health
• Privacy in the e-health era
• How we can start early with youth to reduce stigma using tools they are comfortable with

Attendees will have the chance to jot down these or any other conversation topic on an agenda and lead or co-lead a session! Or find a topic that interests you and engage in the discussion. All your questions are valid. Please come prepared to dialogue about the future of mental health 2.0.

The age of digitization and technology enabled living is here and has catalyzed a new paradigm of participation. Please bring your ideas, questions and open minds as we work on solutions that are possible today and that we are dreaming about for tomorrow.

Ready To Sign Up?

Registration is $25

MentalHealthCamp Toronto (MHCTO) builds on the experience of the international HealthCamp movement and the first MentalHealthCamp held in Vancouver in 2009.  (MHCTO) website: Twitter: @MHCTO (the organizers @CreativeFusion, @MadPsych, @nocx)

Friday, May 28 at 8:00 am ET – Toronto Reference Library – Bram & Bluma Appel Salon 789 Yonge Street Toronto, Ontario  M4W 2G8 Canada


Suicide: Common Warning Signs

February 22, 2010

Although individual motives for suicide vary, there are some common warning signs. These signs may indicate that someone is at risk or is having personal, family or school problems.

Suicides seldom occur without warning. If you are aware of common signs and of changes in behaviour, you can recognize and better help a person in crisis. These signs represent behaviors that can serve as a warning sign. The warning signs are usually physical, emotional and behavioral in nature:

Physical Signs

  • Neglect of personal appearance.
  • Sudden changes in manner of dress, especially when the new style is completely out of character.
  • Chronic or unexplained illness, aches and pains.
  • Sudden weight gain or loss.
  • Sudden change in appetite.

Emotional Clues

  • Sense of hopelessness, helplessness or futility.
  • Inability to enjoy or appreciate friendships.
  • Wide mood changes and sudden outbursts.
  • Anxiousness, extreme tension and agitation.
  • Lethargy or tiredness.
  • Changes in personality: from outgoing to withdrawn, from polite to rude, from compliant to rebellious, from well-behaved to “acting out.”
  • Loss of the ability to concentrate; daydreaming.
  • Depression, sadness.
  • Loss of rational thought.
  • Feelings of guilt and failure.
  • Self-destructive thoughts.
  • Exaggerated fears of cancer, AIDS or physical impairment.
  • Feelings of worthlessness or of being a burden.
  • Loss of enjoyment from activities formerly enjoyed.

Behavioral Signs

  • Decreased school activity; isolation. Sudden drop in achievement and interest in school subjects.
  • Loss of interest in hobbies, sports, work etc.
  • Unexplained use of alcohol or other drugs.
  • Increased use of alcohol or other drugs.
  • Withdrawal from family and former friends, sometimes acting in a manner which forces others away.
  • Changes in eating and/or sleeping habits.
  • Changes in friendship.
  • Running away from home; “skipping school.”
  • Accident proneness and increase in risk-taking behavior such as careless driving, bike accidents, dangerous use of firearms.
  • Sexual promiscuity.
  • Giving away prized possessions (e.g. CD collection).
  • Preoccupation with thoughts of death.
  • Sudden changes in personality.
  • Making a will; writing poetry or stories about suicide or death.
  • Quietly putting affairs in order, “taking care of business.”
  • Threatening suicide.
  • Hoarding pills, hiding weapons, describing methods for committing suicide.
  • Previous suicide attempts.

While all of these signs may indicate that a person is experiencing problems, the last five behavioral signs are especially significant. (These signs indicate that a decision to complete suicide may have been made.) A previous attempt is a particularly important sign. Such an attempt increases the risk of future ones. In any of the signs, the key word is CHANGE.

The symptoms of depression, including the list of “acting out” behaviors and the common warning signs for suicide are very similar. Together, they provide ways to recognize a person at risk.

Source: Government of  Saskatchewan


Mo’nique Wins Golden Globe Award For Precious

January 18, 2010

Mo'nique poses with her Golden Globe

Mo’nique’s powerful Golden Globes acceptance speech

Mo’nique’s Golden Globe press conference interview

“I think for so long, we swept it under the carpet, for so long when it’s time to deal with THAT issue, when it’s time to deal with molestation inside the home, we walk away from it.  We don’t address it so often times we live a lifetime with those demons and not really dealing with it so we continue to have a damaged life and it’s time to stop that, it’s time for us to heal and be survivors and no longer be victims.”

Precious Trailer



December 13, 2009


Hero - Charmaine Loverin, Artist

Part 1 – Photographs of Charmaine Loverin explaining the story & feeling behind her art projects.

Part 2 – Charmaine Loverin – Loving My Sinner, Hating His Sin

Charmaine Loverin is a talented and expressive artist in many forms and uses her art as a vehicle, through her history of being sexually abused; she supports organizations that have helped her.   “I volunteer; I use my art as fundraising opportunities in their events,” she explains.  “I’ll do anything to help raise funds and awareness to organizations that matter closely to my experience.”

Loverin expressing herself through her art, working with charity organizations and most importantly her two children keep her hanging on in this life.  “I’ve been to a place where I have come close to giving up and this was back when I charged my dad,” Loverin admits.  “It was okay for me to leave life; but now that I’m a mom it’s zero acceptable. There is no mistake that I am a mom and if I weren’t, yes it’s an easy out thought, what would I do? Where would I be? I don’t know if I’d hang on as strong as I am.” Her children bring such joy and are a reminder of what is possible in life, “I think I live so vicariously through my children,” she says, “everything from such an innocent perspective is just delicious. We are here for a purpose so why not live it vibrantly?”

As an advocate in moving Holly’s Law, Loverin got close to the family and says the experience was rewarding on many levels. “At the public safety announcement of this law,” she explains, “I was invited by the CCCAA (Canadian Centre for Abuse Awareness) to be a speaker and share as a Survivor at how courageous and important it is to be a voice in abuse.”  Holly’s Law is a mandatory, preventative, educational package made available to all school children. This program was designed to arm kids with the tools needed, to identify and deal with childhood sexual abuse.

Loverin speaks to schools about her experiences and how we can be a voice in something that we know is not correct as a child.  What we can do and who we can turn to, when we know this is not the way it’s supposed to be in life, to turn to police officers, kids help phone and teachers.  “I also know that the ones we are supposed to trust are sometimes ones we can’t turn to,” says Loverin.  “It’s being aware of that situation because 3 out of 5 kids who are sexually abused are abused by someone they are supposed to trust.”

Charmaine Loverin's Cards

Charmaine Loverin's Card Projects

With that knowledge she developed a program called I Have Something to Say…” that is a card series which assists in distinguishing who to trust. “I want to bring to the schools to the parents and to us as role models, what does trust actually look like?” “I Have Something To Say” have moved onto a fundraising opportunity for Kids help phone and their future’s campaign.

“I Have Something To Ask…” was generated from “I Have Something To Say…” A Women’s Network, “Positive Fabulous Women” was holding an event based on the theme “Ask” because a high ratio of women statistically does not ask for what they want. “It was quite a moving night,” reflects Loverin, “the “I Have Something To Ask…” cards have 4 questions all relating to trust, for example, “Can I trust you?” Each question was made by my daughter, another question is “Do you keep your promises?”

Loverin has worked with the Out Of The Cold organization for 3 years and for the holiday season is donating proceeds from her Christmas cards to them.  She will also be serving and playing the piano with her children on Christmas Day at OTCC. For those unfamiliar to Out Of The Cold, it is an organization built by community and volunteers providing safe refuge, hospitality and emergency shelter to the homeless community throughout the City of Toronto

“We are so fortunate to have what we have in life no matter how big or small, it takes only one person to make a world of difference for someone,” says Loverin.  “During these economic times I understand how sparingly things can get and suggest people participate the best way they know how – The Gift of Giving has limitless rewards!” – By Diane Foy

Carmaine Loverin on Piano

Carmaine Loverin on Piano



December 13, 2009

Part 1 – Photographs of Charmaine Loverin explaining the story & feeling behind her art projects.

Part 3 – Charmaine Loverin Making  A Difference For Children

Dream Big

Dream Big - Charmaine Loverin, Artist

Canadian artist, Charmaine Loverin is preparing for what she hopes will be a major shift in conversations about child sexual abuse offenders.  She dares to say that since abuse starts with the abuser, if treatment was available, child sexual abuse can be stopped.  In what is sure to be a widely discussed book, “Loving My Sinner, Hating His Sin” Loverin takes on that challenge and shares her own story of being sexually abused and the process of charging and ultimately forgiving her father.

While currently seeking a publisher for the book, Loverin has a goal to have it printed and published by May 12, 2010.  “It tells the story of how I got to where I got in charging my offender,” she explains “and having my life the way it looks like today, no matter if it looks successful or challenging.  It answers the question, how can I be so shameless and open with my life?”

While consulting with experts, Loverin is now working with offenders, who are creating new and better lives due to getting treatment and stopping abuse.  “Would I say then at the same time do I trust them?” asks Loverin, “Absolutely not, it’s like putting a bottle of booze in front of an alcoholic; you don’t put a child in front of a abuser.”  Some wonder how she could possibly do this work being a survivor herself.  “Believe me, it takes strength as a victim to walk beside an offender and not come from a place of reaction or anger,” she explains.  “It really takes something to give up that area because where does it all start, bottom line?  It all starts with the offender.

Now with this book, “holy shift of conversation” says Loverin, “it’s going to be a huge shift for people to consider that offenders are creating new and better lives by being treated and stopping abuse.”  Loverin and many organizations continue to support the victims and survivors, yet also look at what’s not available for the offenders.  “That is really important for me to get out there is that there is no treatment for the offenders,” she states. “Not to justify their actions, I’m not here to say what they have done is right, because we have to create our own boundaries and protect ourselves from the offenders.”

Through her father getting treatment, Loverin made the decision to forgive him and surprisingly allows him to be in her children’s life.  “They are in my dads life around boundaries that I have created and what is legally created with him too because he was charged, says Loverin. “Why do I want him in my life?  Because after 8 years of not speaking to him, I felt that this man, who was the fun parent outside of what happened to me with him, if I never spoke to him again, I would actually regret that.”

Loverin works with a psychotherapist, who works with offenders in the federal prisons and opened up to her that offenders don’t have treatment available and they can’t get treatment because there is no funding on their own background of abuse.  Therefore, Rockwood Psychology goes into the jail systems themselves and provides treatment, therapy and supports an organization called Circles of Accountability and Support where they set up communities for the offenders.

“They make the community aware that the offenders are here justifiably so, so we can protect and move forward with this new identity that we can all go on,” says Loverin. “It’s like being a victim; wouldn’t you want to go on with a new and better life?  It’s the same conversation, except for you know what?  This asshole has done what he has done.   It doesn’t justify it, only put an equal conversation, because I know they are two profoundly different things, a bottle and a baby or child, but you know what?  It’s an addiction.  It is possible to stop child sex abuse so I’m riding on this book to dare I say so and cause a shift in that conversation.” – By Diane Foy


Artist Charmaine Loverin

December 10, 2009

Canadian Artist and Child Sexual Abuse Survivor/Activist Charmaine Loverin explains her latest 3 piece canvas artwork and the “I Have Something To Ask…” Project.  Photography By Diane Foy

Part 2 – Charmaine Loverin Loving My Sinner, Hating His Sin

Part 3 – Charmaine Loverin Making  A Difference For Children

Visit Charmaine Loverin’s Website