Welcome to the Love Your Story podcast. On the podcast I have shared stories of everything from eating disorders, infertility, losing a child, suicide, death of a spouse….lots of hard things that people have experienced, overcome and learned and grown from. Today’s story is dark. This is the first story shared on the podcast about rape. Violently gang-raped when she was thirteen years old, and raped three more times before the age of eighteen, Madeleine has experienced more trauma in her life than most ever will. Living in a state of shock and self-loathing, it took her years of struggle to confront the buried memories of that first attack and begin to undo the damage it wrought, as men continued to take advantage of her fragility in the worst possible way.
Yet, after growing up with a burden no teenager should ever have to shoulder, she found the heart to carry out the best revenge plan of all; leading a fulfilling and happy life. For Madeleine, forgiveness was the key. True forgiveness takes genuine effort. It takes a real desire to understand those who have done us so much harm. It is the ultimate act of courage.
Today she tells the story of finding her voice and her heart and an acceptance of herself. Stay tuned for her story, and know that we tell these stories on the podcast, not to focus on the hard spaces, but to celebrate the people who learn, grow and thrive despite the dark and terrible roads we walk.
Madeline Black wrote a book called Unbroken.
In Unbroken, Madeleine tells her deeply moving and empowering story, as she discovers that life is about how a person chooses to recover from adversity. We are not defined by what knocks us down – we are defined by how we get back up.
‘If anyone had told me a few years ago that one day I would be giving radio and TV interviews, speaking publicly or writing a book; I would never have believed them. But after sharing my story publicly for the first time in September 2014 I realized that my voice and words are now my strength and I will continue to speak out against sexual violence for all those who can’t find their voice yet…’
Tune in for the audio program and her Madeleine tell her own story.
The things that happen to us do not define who we are. It is what we do with the things that happen to us that creates our strength and learning. Madeliene’s shared ideas of love winning over hate, and sharing her authentic path of events that happened, but also her natural response to those events, and then her learning to overcome those horrible spaces through accepting love. Love – the key to opening many doors, is a powerful story. So many of us have our own hard stories. We all look for others who have had similar experiences so that we can find our way to navigate the hard places. That’s why we share stories.
Your challenge this week is to share the love – share this episode or one of the other inspiring Love Your Story podcast episodes with someone in your life who could stand to use a story that show the human spirit in overcoming and leaning into love.