- Jana L. Bussanich
“The only way I was ever going to have an opportunity to be free was to live openly,” she says. “Why should anyone else acknowledge the abuse occurred when I won’t acknowledge that the abuse occurred?”
Since, she’s started Talking Trees, Inc., a support website for adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse and incest, a site she’s used to share resources for healing that she’s found in research journals, lowering the barrier for access to information she considers potentially life-saving — her first book, Tree Leaves: Breaking the Fall of the Loud Silence, was a compilation of her first year of daily posts. In 2017, she was honored as a Woman of Influence by the Colorado Springs Business Journal (which, disclosure, is, like the Independent, owned by Colorado Publishing House).
In speaking out and encouraging others to speak out, she’s worked against the profound sense of isolation that can come with silence and survivorship. But her newest book is the first time Bakari has told her story directly. She says its release has been another step along the road to freedom and empowerment.
So far, both the Talking Trees community and her husband and children have been very supportive. As for parents and siblings, the response has been, unsurprisingly, less than positive.
“It’s more of what I’ve been preparing for for seven years,” she says. “It’s never been completely stress-free. You just get used to stretching your muscles that way.”
But Bakari emphasizes that the book is not an act of vengeance or a scandalous tell-all.
“This is the book about my healing and the journey I’ve been on. Nobody else gets to own that.”