6. Celebration Speech – August 2016


RE: Publishing ENDING ABUSE Book

These words are from a song Carolyn McDade wrote. A little girl loved it and wanted me to write out the words; so thought I would start with that:

If I had the wings of a dove

Wings that would take me where I want to go

I’d fly to the utmost

Way out into space

No, no, no, no there is no hiding place.


That I’m here, because of you. I want to remember those that are not here; gone before us; those that spoke out before me. The people that spoke about sexual abuse. If they hadn’t, I might not have been able to. Thank you to all of you for coming; for being there for me.

LOVE AT MY SIDE-I wrote a poem once; that’s my hubby; love at my side; and he’d like me to leave it right there. He doesn’t want me to talk about him. When I wrote the book, ENDING ABUSE, I had not met him. So when I write my next book, and he’s in it; we will really celebrate.

I thank my kids;I could call this and last summer the Summer of My Children and Grandchildren. I usually have to sing a song every few minutes for my littlest one so I have my guitar and I’m ready.

I gave a talk a few Saturdays ago; my bio said I AM A SASKATCHEWAN WOMAN, and I’m saying that again. I am a Saskatchewan woman. My dad and mom loved music. I grew up on music. Here is a chorus of a song. My dad phoned me one day and played it over the phone. It’s how I learned it. It is an Irish song written by Patsy Cavanaugh saying her heart will lead her back home to her Donegal. I changed the last three words to say where my heart leads. I will sing the chorus:

This is my homeland, the place I was born in

No matter where I go, it’s in my soul

My feet may wander a thousand places

But my heart will lead me back home and all that I know.

I think we’re all always moving towards home and all that we know.

I don’t know why I chose the cruise; going down the river. I put a song out on the table called SONG TO A RIVER:, written by Carolyn McDade as well. She was from Cape Cod in the States; now Portland. Groups of women from all over North America sing her music; Her music has been so big for me; I went to Edmonton last year and 120 women from all over, Ontario, Georgia, Vancouver, Maine, Regina, Saskatoon; 120 of us. It was phenomenal; and when I came home, I knew I was doing this book.

And her Song to a River speaks to my beliefs. It talks about a river will change it’s course to run true; and also that people will change their course to run true and that’s what this celebration is about.

So we were just on the river, having a cruise down the Saskatchewan river on The Prairie Lily to celebrate that WE did this book. I say WE as I didn’t do it alone. Sometimes I wonder why I did it; but it’s something inside me that doesn’t go away; an inner knowing that it was time; because this book is a piece of Saskatchewan history.

A 10 year period of not only my life but many lives that were affected by abuse. For anyone not knowing, I was sexually abused by a priest when I was seven and then later by my brothers. Many other women came forward who were abused by the same priest. And it’s about Ending abuse; about Speaking up; going through the court system and holding accountable.

Speaking out ends abuse. I say WE did it as many people helped. I didn’t do this alone. I have gratitude for the people that listened; through the years listened and listened. Many of you here; many not!

There are some here from the first ever survivors group I was a part of. I wrote for years; journalled thirty some journals and then poems came and then a book came. Many of you pre-bought my first book called Wanted Someone To Understand.

My cousin; put her artist part there for me; and we had a book. Now she came through again; and it’s her drawing of me when I was a little girl on the front cover of this book and I say THANK YOU. This book, ENDING ABUSE has the first book and a second one in it so is two books in one.

One of my first POEMS came to me as I was sitting in front of Third Avenue United Church and it coming out like this:WHO AM I, Will I ever really know; Am I someone who needs a place to go; a place where someone holds me by the hand; NO, I just need someone; someone to understand. Not a certain expert to take away the pain; but someone just to sit there with not a thing to gain. Someone who gains just because they care; someone who gains just because they’re there. I know I can’t recapture all that I have lost but I have faith that others will help me bear the cost. I want for all the others what has been given me; someone who understands the pain I didn’t choose to be.

AND then SONGS started coming. I kept writing; but also kept moving on with my life; began working a permanent job instead of part time social work contracts. I thank the women friends I have that were here to welcome people tonight; and brought cookies. I want to acknowledge the women and some men that helped with the files. My daughter and friends made all the difference. I’m not a computer person; and when I wanted to do this, they spent time; they helped format files and figure out things I couldn’t

A friend of mine from a different province who came today, created a website for sharonspeaks.org Yes,.org so now we have an organization that is made up of all of us that got this book to this point.

Through all of this my family of origin has been there for me. In the best ways they could be; and sometimes, just like with friends; sometimes they can’t. I thank you for being there for me. I still have dark times as we all do; still go through anger, pain, resentment; but I also appreciate that I can usually find someone who will listen, and yes to trust that I can get through.

When I call this ENDING ABUSE, I think that’ s what we all have to do is find the ways; look at the ways we still hurt ourselves and find new ways to love ourselves. Sometimes it’s our thoughts inside we have to look at.

Here is another song I wrote

I really want to live, to live and love again

To keep keeping on even when I’m troubled

I’m sleeping easy now; have no worries or no cares

So why am I crying so despairingly

I want to share my life with someone I can love

Who cares what I’m thinking and I’m feeling

Who listens to my songs who can see when I am wrong

And cares enough to honestly tell me

Someone who’ll spend the time getting to know what’s me and mine

And all that I so deeply do care about

I know that when I find caring within my mind

My world will reflect my deep deep caring.

I think it is happening. I am finding more caring inside and my world is reflecting deep, deep caring.

I believe we find new ways to find our way home.

One time I joined a group of people from all over Saskatoon that loved to sing. They were caucasian and aboriginal and we met at White Buffalo Lodge and called ourselves Lift Me Up Singers. Together we wrote the words to this song and Angie Tyseland , a Saskatoon woman who died a few years ago; wrote the music for it. I’d like to sing a verse and a chorus,

“Our spirit brings us home

Our spirit brings us light

We’ll continue to search for the missing peace

But it’s a constant fight.

My heart beats a song, be free and be strong

Before the living skies

A circle of talent of our sacred talents

Uniting you and I ”

Something I want to say is that all of us who are from around here are treaty six people and for me anyways, all of this is part of truth and reconciliation.

I say we learn new ways. I’m now into YOGA again since my son gave me dvd’s. I do yoga at home. This summer I took a class of Gong Meditation Yoga and the leader put her music on for us tonight. Thank you both.

I want to thank my Mesa friends who’ve become my Saskatoon friends too; who listened to my songs and encouraged me. They;like my tennis friends have had to listen to me sing songs on the golf course or the tennis courts like this one I wrote:

I will never be the same , I’m always in constant change

Giving and receiving love again , I will never be the same.

I also send a thank you to those who aren’t here who have been there for me; a couple who put on a birthday party for me last year; another couple whose brother died this week; the funeral was today; and that is life, it’s not all celebration. Tomorrow we are burying my brother’s ashes. He died a year ago June. So there is life, death, birth.

AND I have gratitude, meeting all the Gentle MEN throughout these last 20 years.

I also so thank those that came from afar. You so Enrich my life. Then there are people close. They have been so there for me; like a close friend; a nurturing presence.

Still up in the is air what will happen with this book. It’s actually two books; the First book WANTED SOMEONE TO UNDERSTAND and the SECOND BOOK: AS LONG AS I UNDERSTAND are both in this book; it includes the poems and songs.

It’s called ENDING ABUSE by SHARON SPEAKS. I chose the name SHARON as I love sharing. If something isn’t making sense, ask as I love SHARING about anything; and I’m okay with questions about anything too. All names are changed in the book; even locations; like the city not far from here; is now called Big City in the book; and a place I lived for awhile that revolved around oil; is now called Oiltown. I changed the names as that is what the publishing company required, but bigger, it helps with privacy for my family

I brought a book to show everyone tonight and there are two extra that are press copies .I’m not sure I’m ready for press; maybe next week or next year. It’s history of many women in Saskatchewan and that’s not going away. I am choosing not to sell books myself as it’s part of putting the abuse behind me.

This is me following my INNER KNOWING. I always say IT’S OVER AND THEN I HAVE TO DO SOMETHING ELSE. So, not sure what’s ahead re the writings.

My daughter made a poster with the front and back cover.

People can buy the book online; at www.sharonspeaks.org from amazon or the publishing company as paperback or an ebook;

The book may die a natural death. It cost me $1500. to get the print copy and the e-book. I don’t want to put more money into this; so will be interesting what happens.

It’s a challenging subject; so I so appreciate those that bought the book, and appreciate again that you would pay money to come on the cruise today to celebrate that we have done this; that you are here with me. I don’t want to be talking about abuse anymore. I’d rather be with my family, friends, golfing, tennis and yet….

I know there is much in here that can assist others so there’s isn’t such a painful journey; make it easier. As I said it’s a book of history; many womens’ histories; abuse in family; sexual abuse by a priest; going through the court system. I believe it’s educational. Examples in the book are what a statement of claim looks like, statement of defense; examination of discovery. I did get a settlement from the Catholic Church. That process took nine years. This book talks about how the catholic church was and wasn’t there for myself; the women. Maybe like family; like all of us; they did the best they could at the time.

I thank those that let me know they are buying a book to donate to a sexual assault centre; those who bought a book for someone who can’t afford one.

I love that my hubby wanted to celebrate more than just going down the river on a boat and we are here and that my daughter designed a book mark.

I brought some so you can see the process of co-creating in action.

I was going to have some here; a gift for each of you but it all takes money; and how much money do I want to put into this. I think people will co-create with me and find creative ways to put the message out that together we are ending abuse and making our world a better place.

Take a card and feel free to pass it on. We can end with introduce yourself to someone you don’t know as a way of creating community. So let’s visit and have a cookie.


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