When I was a child I would stare out into the ether and think about a world I was convinced must exist but was hidden from sight. It was a world where accountability trumped denial, where shame was eradicated by speaking truth and where compassion was for everyone.. My father told me I was naïve and I secretly ignored him and I continued searching, knowing that if I looked hard enough I would uncover it. A year ago after searching for over 25 years I stepped into a room and found my vision, a reality. Stepping into Hidden Water I found the world I new existed but was denied for so long.
Hidden Water has built community on just those ethos. Accountability, Truth, and Compassion for all in the service of helping families heal from the impacts of childhood sexual abuse. Its groundbreaking approach uses restorative justice circles, learned from indigenous communities in North America. And rather than traditional healing models that usually focus on the harmed individual, Hidden Water focuses on the whole system. From the non-offending parents to family and friends. The person who was harmed, as well the person who harmed and is ready to take responsibility, and make amends. The responsibility for healing no longer lies solely with the victim; it is shared within the complete system. This model allows for intergenerational healing that stops the cycles of abuse.
For many, hearing the word compassion connected to someone who harmed a child can be painful. For me, as one who was harmed myself, I see no other way forward. When someone harms and takes accountability for that harm and is willing to make amends, I pray that I can hold compassion. So that they too can find compassion for themselves, because true healing comes when we can hold ourselves with compassion, rather than judgement. As it is compassion that keeps us from harming another, and ending the cycles of vengeance that currently run much of our world. I will hold compassion for them and compassion for myself. So that together we can create a new world ending the cycles of abuse that continue in society today.
Today I have two offerings/requests I would like to make.
Hidden Water is holding a special crowdfunding campaign for #GivingTuesdayNow where any donations made in the next two days will be matched up to $40,000
I ask that you give something, anything, to support this work and support a new vision where accountability trumps denial and compassion is for all.
My personal page is www.charidy.com/hiddenwater/azar
But more importantly, I want to send a message. The page that supports those who have harmed and are taking responsibility for their actions is www.charidy.com/hiddenwater/TeamPurple and this is really who I want to support. I want to support those who want to take accountability for the harm they caused.
If making a donation at this time is not possible I ask that you keep this organization in mind. So many of us are impacted by childhood sexual abuse and so many of us desperately want to heal. Hidden Water’s 12 week circles are transformative and free to all.
Rabbi Esther Azar