Who I am, what I do, and a summary of intent forTEDx TALK; “Call it Assault!”

🎥This is the transcript for the preliminary video TEDx asked me to send; summarizing my life, my work, and my intent… in under three minutes! If you know me, you know this is a challenge! I usually just go off the top of my head with an outline I forget to look at, but this has to be memorized. Yuck! But I like a challenge, yes I do🎙️… 

🤗Hi! I’m Linda Kay Gifford. You might, but probably don’t, lol, know me from my CD, “A Bed for My Boots”. A song on it  won me an IBMA Album of the Year Award and Grammy nomination as a songwriter with Del McCoury Band, and another, “Little Girl”, started this movement. You might have seen me sharing stages with the likes of Willie Nelson, Carl Weathersby, Bela Fleck, or Junior Brown. Or, maybe, you know me as the owner of an online fair trade store supporting women and community artisan entrepreneurs since 2017. Everyone definitely OUGHT to know my kids! I’m mother to three absolutely amazing young men, and a few new daughters, to boot! 

   But, until recently, almost nobody knew me at all. See, I’ve been packing a nearly life-long secret. I’ve been carrying a monster on my back, and most of you are all unknowingly, unwittingly, feeding it. It slashes me; both predictably, and when I least expect it. You see, I have cPTSD stemming from seven years of childhood sexual grooming and assault. 

   Right about now you’re probably feeling very uncomfortable. You’re feeling sorry for me… or proud of me!…  or attacked by me… or like you wish this was a more interesting talk; like, on dental floss! At least, that’s what I’ve been experiencing. My own sister says, why the hell can’t I just get over it like everybody else? She says I’m shaming the family, and she never wants to speak to me again. She screamed, “You’ll always be a victim!” Well, she is finally wrong.

   I became an NLP specializing in cPTSD and Relational Sexuality so I COULD understand myself and help fellow Survivors. I wrote, SELF TALK: My continuing efforts to survive childhood sexual grooming and assault”, and developed my own program, “Survive in S-P-A-D-E-S: Six Steps from Trigger to Happy! CSA cPTSD Workshops”, after becoming aware of what I do every day to overcome cPTSD triggers; to move forward personally and professionally; to help fellow victims reprocess their experience and become Survivors, too.

   My organization, SWEET Survivor, helps rescue victims and teaches CSA workshops to help fellow victims reprocess their experiences, ideally, becoming Survivors! But that’s not why I’m here today. Today, I am proposing (hear as insisting!) a simple word change.

   When my sexual assailants forced me into sexual acts, I was being assaulted. So, WHY does everyone keep calling childhood sexual  and sexual assault “abuse”? Clearly, Rape is Assault! Every medical and ethical professional I have discussed this with agrees with me. Three university professors actually asked me permission to make my work required reading in their classrooms,      following my first Facebook posting! Because WORDS MATTER!, and being sexually violated demands a more accurate description… because the legal system hears “abuse”, and sentences accordingly. 

   So I give you permission to stop feeling sorry for me and those like me. Please! Pity is passive, and we Survivors need you to focus your attention and take action! To not forget this talk and leave, sad and depressed, and cautious in your own world.  I am baring my soul to you, begging you to leave here today empowered! DETERMINED to stand with me and demand decency in our communities and in our legal system!

   Give us Survivors the respect we deserve. Call it Assault, and help us take these (bastards?) out of our minds and off of our streets! Learn more @ SWEETSurvivor.com, and God Bless. Thank you.


  *I am honored to expound on the reasons, whys, and wherefores of the subject, as contained in the actual TEDx TALK I’ve written. Thank you for the opportunity!