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This is Us

Oct 06, 2022
This is Us

By Adrienne MacIain, Ph.D.

"At the core of everything built well is a foundation, in your life that foundation is YOU!"                                                                                                                                                -Erika Shalene Hull

Have you ever been in a store and heard someone calling out, "Ma'am? Ma'am?" only to realize, to your dismay, that YOU are the "ma´am" in question?

Maybe you were just distracted, but maybe, just maybe, some part of you thought,..." but that's not me!"Ma'am is what you call women of a certain age. I'm still young, right???

Confronting the reality of how we are seen by the world can be challenging, especially when it comes to labels with unflattering connotations like "victim" or even the more palatable "survivor" of trauma and abuse. But Erika Shalene Hull, co-author of the upcoming book "...but that's not me": Changing the Story of Interpersonal Abuse, is doing her part to help women everywhere recognize and change the patterns of abuse, both personal and systemic, that surround us. And the first step is to acknowledge that yes, that is me. And this is us. All of us.

"By giving women the words, the language, and the awareness", explains Erika, "they will be better able to make their own, conscious decisions about their lives". Most importantly, they will learn to accept the pieces that make up who they are. Not try to change them or cover them up, but embrace them. Abuse was, is, and forever will be part of our stories both individually and as a whole.”

But that doesn’t have to be our story. That's why Erika and her co-author Dr. Cheryl LeJewell Jackson wrote this book: to change the story. For themselves, for their readers, and for women everywhere.

"I believe in a world where we begin changing the perception of abuse for abusers, victims, and allies by increasing our collective knowledge and awareness of abuse", says Erika. "We hope this book will help shift the power to the victims of abuse, helping them become psychological warriors in their own lives by arming them with knowledge and encouraging them to reclaim their lives".

But to help other women do that, Erika first had to confront and reclaim her own story.

"After 13 years in an abusive relationship with my addict husband"; shares Erika, "I was preyed upon and caught by a serial abuser, kidnapped and relocated to a different state and forced to birth two children by him and suffer constant abuse for another 6 years. But even after escaping his clutches, the trauma was far from over. I went on to endure the suicide of my oldest child (my abuser refused to allow me to attend the funeral), the continued hardships of dealing with my abuser's parental rights, and the day-to-day pain and symptoms of a crippling genetic disorder".

But Erika knew that her silence was not serving anyone, and made the bold move of walking up to a total stranger, an author, and saying, "This is going to sound crazy, but I think were supposed to write a book together. And that's exactly what they did.

"Despite the trials and growing pains, I am driven by the knowledge that through silence, nothing will ever change", explains Erika. "When we lift our voices and share our stories, that is when we empower ourselves and each other. It is only through breaking the silence that we can begin to change the story for ourselves, our children, and the future of women around the world".

"Our goal is to shine a light on a topic typically reserved for shelters and courtrooms. Our intention is to create a common language by which we can share and understand these experiences. Our mission is to change the story for the next generation of young women. By having these uncomfortable conversations, we hope to encourage women to believe in themselves, learn to set better boundaries, and know that they are worthy and deserving of so much more".

This isn't just a book for those whose lives have already been directly affected by abuse. It's for all of us, because all of us will, at some point, be confronted by the reality of this dynamic in our society. And when we do, "...but that's not me" is here to help us recognize that abuse for what it is, and serve as effective allies and advocates to help everyone involved break the pattern, heal, and move forward.

Because as anyone affected by abuse can tell you, its not something you ever really "get over". It's something you move forward with and that will be a part of you for the rest of your life. But it doesn't have to define you, and it doesn't have to be the central focus of your life.

Erika, for example, is now a Business and Life Management Strategist, author and co-founder o The CornHer Office

"After spending over 10 years, primarily as a Financial Development Director for a world-wide non-profit organization, I sought to lessen the gap between the challenges of working and parenthood, by leaving corporate America and becoming a full-time entrepreneur", explains Erika. "After everything I've overcome, I am wildly and courageously passionate about helping others rise above their own personal obstacles.

Our consulting and programs help equip you in all of your environments, work, home, and communities with tools and systems to manage, and operate more efficiently, create time and energy for more joy, generate greater satisfaction, and sustainable, fulfilling life engagement.

"In order for anything to actually work, function, or come into fruition in life, there has to be a formula adhered to. For example, colors are formulas, water is a formula, our body is a complexity of infinite formulas, so in order for us to do anything well, by using life itself as our base example, we must first have a formula. Every formula has to have a period of rest built into its foundation in order for it to be applied, tested and proven. This is why at The CornHer Office one of our guiding philosophies is to provide every client with R.E.S.T - Resources, Encouragement, Services and Tools.

At The CornHer Office, our consulting services are designed with adaptable formulas that apply to every vocation and factor you and your life into the foundation. We are excited to share our years of knowledge, experience and research with you".

Here's what readers are saying about "...but that's not me"

"I am in a healthier place now. Thank you for writing this book. This book has helped me work through things years of therapy never could".

                                                                                                                                     - Book club participant

"As a mandated reporter, this book gave me the knowledge to recognize red flags during counseling sessions and for those things I am required to report. It is going to be a valuable tool to help women discern between healthy and unhealthy behavior earlier in relationships."

                                                                                                           - Pastor and State Mandated Reporter

"Thank you so much for writing this book! I appreciate the way you used very simple terms rather than get bogged down in more legalistic terms and definitions".

                                                                                             - Sexual abuse survivor, advocate, and speaker 

Learn more at: https://www.thecornheroffice.com


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