My longtime friend Jill Brenneman is in dire need of financial help due a terminal medical condition. I’ve mentioned Jill on here now and again. She was part of SWOP-East and has an unusual history. Part of that history can be read at Sex Workers Without Borders, part of that over at Bound, not Gagged and part of it over at Maggie McNeill’s blog.
Jill has made the incredible journey from sex trafficking victim, to anti-prostitution activist, to sex worker rights activist. She is responsible for bringing many sex workers into activism (including me). She’s a living example of the harm our current laws cause to both trafficking victims and sex workers. She’s had a long speaking career, engaging and challenging her audiences, often opening minds.
Now she is slowly dying and needs our help. Her needs are simple but necessary. We’ve started a fundraising campaign for her at Indiegogo. Anything you can contribute helps. Any way you can pass this along to others helps. Anything that can be done to ease her suffering helps. The fund-raising goal is modest and if we can exceed it, so much the better. It goes to making what’s rest of her life that much easier.
In her own words, below, she fully explains her medical condition. There is no cure. Though she has Medicare, they take every opportunity to deny her coverage and she has co-pays for all of her health care, which is extensive right now. Obviously, she cannot work in any capacity. She can barely stand up and walk.
I’ve been watching her degrade since April and in mid-May she received her terminal diagnosis. I’ve done what I can to help her but I’m one person and live far from her. Thank you in advance for helping my friend.
— The Cleveland Courage Fund has raised more than $1 million and it’s all thanks to everyone who has donated. Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight thank supporters in a video.
— I keep thinking George Zimmerman and Ezekiel Gilbert look alike even though they really don’t.
Yet another call for donations. No, this blog isn’t going to turn into that. But sometimes things happen that move me and I know that many readers have good hearts. It never matters how much you give because I know those in need appreciate every dollar; but it does matter what happens to your hard-earned money.
My friend Jill and I have discussed the Ohio women every day since the news broke. We’ve wanted to help but didn’t want our money to go anywhere but directly to the victims. Jill feels she has found a way to donate that will help the women the most. I’ll let her explain why this matters so much to Gina, Amanda, Michelle.
I’m Jill Brenneman. Amanda graciously asked me to do a guest post on her blog about donations for the Cleveland kidnapping victims. I want to express why it is very important that anyone who can donate does so, because while they are now free from Ariel Castro, their recovery will be a lifetime process.
Donations are being processed by the Cleveland Foundation. While there appears to be more than one donation website, the Cleveland Foundation is the only site that states it will be giving 100 percent of the proceeds to the victims.
My post will refer a great deal to my own life experiences after being held captive for three years until I escaped. It is imperative to me that my purpose is understood: I am using my experiences to illustrate what life is like once one has escaped because there is little information or discussion about it. While much of this discussion is about me and my experiences, the post is about why the three kidnapping victims need our help. While I appreciate whatever concern may be felt about me by those who read this post, I would ask that you please focus on the purpose of the post: Gina DeJesus, Michelle Knight, and Amanda Berry need our help. They are the focus of this post. My experiences are only to illustrate the reasons why a former captive needs immediate assistance. This post is about the three women in Cleveland. Not about me.
I was a kidnapping victim in circumstance similar to Gina DeJesus, Michelle Knight, and Amanda Berry. I was fortunate to escape after three years. Nonetheless, escaping a captor isn’t even a halfway point to recovery. For three years I was tortured, raped, endured sensory deprivation, placed in restraints that kept me in stress positions for long durations of time, malnourished, and had absolutely no control over any part of my life. Life for me as a captive was always cause and effect — usually with violent consequences. Even involving things I had no control over; for example, bruising from a vicious beating was cause for punishment. I was expected to address basic bodily needs once a day when he came to take me to the bathroom. Anything beyond that was automatically grounds for punishment because it was seen as defiance. This has profoundly impacted my life even though I escaped nearly thirty years ago.