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How a Release Challenge was Inspired by a Cause

by bookczuk
June 28, 2012

Yesterday, I met with a couple of people who work for Darkness to Light (D2L), an amazing organization that is working to "empower people to prevent child sexual abuse." That's a huge and incredible mission, one that impacts the lives of so many people I know.

The reason we met was because of BookCrossing. D2L is seeking ways to get their message even more out into the community, particularly during August, which is sort of their kick-off month each year for raising awareness and letting people know about resources and programs available. They contacted the site via Support, who put them in touch with local BookCrossers. We had a great talk, in the courtyard of one of our OBCZs, Kudu, the site of many good times for the 2007 Convention and the 2008 UnConvention), and have come up with some ideas that might just work for them.

But the whole exercise got me thinking, about what I might be able to do. I'm just one individual, but if individuals join together, we have a stronger voice. I was not personally sexually abused as a child, but two women, who I hold very dear, were, and by a perpetrator I actually knew when I was little. He was a man of contradictions, very gruff, but fiercely devoted to those with whom he was close. He scared the bejiggers out of me, enough so that I told my mother* I didn't want to be alone with him. I couldn't articulate why, but she seemed to understand, and told me that no one should ever have to be afraid to be with another person.

As I mulled over what I'd talked about with the folks from Darkness to Light, an idea came to me. We'd talked about ways to release books that had child sexual abuse as part of the story, treasure hunts, twitter and facebook postings etc, to help raise awareness of the issue. D2L may be here in Charleston, but this organization has reached far beyond the local community, modifying the advice to think globally; act locally. For them, local is global. They've got training sessions set up internationally to help raise awareness of the prevalence and consequences of child sexual abuse. My world, too, may be local, but thanks to the internet, I can easily and quickly communicate with friends and family thousands of miles away.

My idea was to create a book release challenge through BookCrossing, for members to release books that in some way reflect to the mission, purpose, or any way they can relate, of Darkness to Light. I would ask that each book have in a journal entry which contained a link to the Darkness to light website for further information. I think it could be an amazing challenge, promoting awareness of a cause that needs to be brought into the light, and totally extinguished. To get more information or join the challenge, click here.

Though the Darkness to Light organization will be releasing books that actually have child abuse as part of the plot line (and there are a lot of those, when you actually sit down and think about it), I plan to expand the criteria with my usual rules for release challenges: if you can make any tie-in with Darkness to Light or with the subject matter, it will count. Full information will be posted in the next day or so in the Release Challenge Forum. Please come join us, and help defeat darkness.

Because, as Bumma said, no person should ever have to be afraid to be with someone else.

*My mother, Bumma, who was a BookCrosser, died three years ago June 28, which coincidentally was the day I decided to host this challenge. Every June, since her passing, I have dedicated the month to acts of kindness in her name, that would have made her happy. It somehow seems fitting that this challenge was born on the anniversary of her departure, and has allowed me to share a bit more of her spirit with a community she loved.


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