"For a time after I was assaulted, I behaved much like the Sphinx - stone cold and quiet. Talking was difficult and, when I finally did speak, it was harsh and directed at my mother. Why? Because I knew she would recognize and understand my pain. I was confident that her love for me would never change. She had been where I was and although forty years had passed, I knew she had not forgotten.
Now it's your turn. We'll be your shoulder to lean on. We'll be the ears that listen. We'll hear you!"
Jessica Carbone-McKinney was the victim of sexual assault in 2007. She was kidnapped from her apartment in the middle of the night, brutally beaten and repeatedly raped. Her attacker used a machete to guarantee her cooperation. By all that is logical, she should be dead but fate had other plans for her. Jessica has become a vocal advocate for victims of violent crime, her intention being to make all women aware that safety is an illusion. She firmly believes that until rape victims come forward and identify themselves, crime against women will continue to escalate.
Although I've been remarried to a wonderful man for more than forty years, I have not forgotten that first marriage or the lessons learned. In fact, if a genie were to pop out of a bottle and offer an opportunity to go back and change the past, I would refuse. The most valuable lessons are those learned through adversity. I hope that the pain I experienced will make it possible for someone else to be spared. As a writer, I hope to use my skills to bring about a greater awareness. I am partial to this quote by Lord Byron: "A drop of ink may make a million think." I don't care if no one knows my name. Forget me. I'm not important. Don't forget what I've written. If one article (or speech) prevents one person from suffering the pain of rape, a drop of ink can become a tidal wave.
Donna M. Carbone is a freelance writer and the owner of Write For You, LLC. Her column, The View from My Pedestal, appeared monthly for five years in The Beacon Magazine. Her poetry and short stories have appeared in magazines and poetry journals. Donna has been featured in national newspapers and is currently writing fictionalized crime novels based on true stories in the hope of keeping people safe. She wants to teach... not preach... through her stories. She has also written a powerful stage play -- Shell of a Man -- which was presented at the Dallas Convention Center and theaters in Florida.
Forty five years ago, Donna was a survivor of domestic violence. Her struggle and, eventual, success, in moving beyond the scars of that relationship provided both the strength and the insights needed to help Jessica overcome the devastation of rape. Since her daughter's kidnapping and assault in 2007, she has been an outspoken voice for women's rights.