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Posts Tagged ‘PTSD’

Wearing a Veil with Yazidi Women Survivors of Slavery

As a survivor of sexual trauma and someone who lives with complex PTSD every day, I have dedicated my work as an artist to speaking up for and empowering those whose lives have been hijacked by trauma.

Right now, there are thousands of Yazidi girls and women enslaved by ISIS.  The New York Times reports that “the Islamic State’s sex trade appears to be based solely on enslaving women and girls from the Yazidi minority. As yet, there has been no widespread campaign aimed at enslaving women from other religious minorities” (ISIS Enshrines a Theology of Rape).  Nadia Murad, who survived and escaped enslavement, has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for her activism.


A Danish friend of mine is currently working with Yazidi refugees in Germany.  She told me that, although their religion does not typically involve wearing a head covering, these women have started wearing veils to show that, after being victims of mass rape by ISIS, they are dead inside.  They only keep living so they can be there for their families and for each other.

This is something that resonates with me so strongly that I have to stand with these women.

Tonight I will be playing at Shrine World Music Venue in Harlem, and I will be wearing a veil to support the Yazidi women who are currently enslaved, and those who now have the long journey of recovery.  From 9-10 EST, you can come to see the show in NYC, or watch a live stream for free.

Please help to share the stories of these women by sharing the linked news articles, and by visiting  You can also follow @nadiamuradbasee on Twitter and search hashtag #Yazidi to retweet petitions and other calls for help.

Vulnerability – Lessons for Creative People and Sexual Abuse Survivors

I watched this TED talk by Brené Brown this weekend.  Then I watched it again.  

If you’re a performer or a survivor of trauma, watch this video.  Since I’m both, it was especially striking to me.  I had to watch it twice.  Some thoughts:

Shame, according to Brown, is the thing that keeps us from connecting with other people.  We’re so afraid that there’s something wrong with us that we can’t connect to others.

For survivors of sexual abuse, like me, shame is the main side effect we have to deal with.  A pervading sense of shame seeps into everything we do.  I remember being afraid to leave the house for periods of time, because when I was walking down Main Street in Newark, just to go to the drugstore, I felt like “people will see me and KNOW.”  Yes, I felt “excruciatingly vulnerable” – Brown’s definition of shame.  Any time I got an answer wrong in a class, or a friend got irritated at something I said – there it was – that flareup of shame again.

This is what struck me about this:

Sexual abuse attacks the victim by keeping them from connecting to other people.

It’s a simple yet important thing for everyone to understand.  Connecting with other people is the most meaningful experience in life, and sexual abuse takes that away from the victim.  



According to Brown, though, there’s hope.  People who were able to connect with others and finally feel a sense of self worth were the ones who showed courage, which she says, according to its etymology, actually means:

“Telling the story of who you are with your whole heart.”

See.  Performers.  Writers.  Artists.  Creative people.  This is where you come in.  

People who are able to connect with others let themselves be vulnerable.  They have the courage to be imperfect, and to show others their imperfections, and to say the two most powerful words that Brown says you can say to another person,

“Me too.”

This is what I’m doing.  Join me.


Noelle Picara