January 21, 2016

Issues Are A Bummer. Causes Are Inspiring.

I like being excited and inspired. I don’t like being bummed out.

It’s a pretty simple concept, really. And, one that I think most of us would agree on.

A few years ago, I was at a point where I’d been seeing my counselor, Swede, for a while and worked through my experience pretty well. So, I wanted to finally use my story to help other people in similar shoes. But, I had no idea how to do it.

I was familiar with social good organizations and companies that inspire many of us. Thanks to Bono (and a few others, I’m sure), countless individuals wear (RED) products to fight AIDS.   Demi Moore once appeared on the Tonight Show barefoot, taking part in TOMS Shoes’ “One Day Without Shoes”. And, a heck of a lot of people donate their birthdays to raise money for charity: water to bring clean drinking water to those who don’t have it.

These are causes that inspire us. They’re exciting, they’re bigger than us, and they’re focused on solutions. And they’re things that we can be part of on an individual level.

When I looked into the realm of child sexual abuse, I didn’t find a cause. And the things I did find felt depressing.   From my perspective, the whole “space” (for lack of better terms) felt really dreary and heavy.

Does that make sense?

I mean, let’s face it, child sexual abuse isn’t exactly the conversation you want to bring up over dinner.

It became clear to me that child sexual abuse is not a cause, but rather, it’s an issue. There’s a BIG difference. 

To me, issues represent problems; problems with no obvious solutions. They don’t leave me feeling excited, but instead, feeling heavy.

Causes, on the other hand, represent solutions. They inspire me to take action. They leave us feeling enthusiastic, feeling good about ourselves, and feeling confident about a bright future.

This was a huge problem that had to be addressed. If we ever hope to move the dial and be truly effective in 1) preventing child sexual abuse and 2) restoring the lives of those already affected – and on a large scale – the social dynamics surrounding this entire issue must first change.

This is why I’ve always said that at Speak Your Silence, we’re in the business of moving child sexual abuse from a taboo issue to an inspiring cause that you can be excited to champion.

This is also why The Stitch has been so effective. It’s a solution – and very simple one.

The Stitch makes it possible for you to change the life of the person sitting next to – and without necessarily even saying a single word – while, at the same time, helping change the overall social dynamics surrounding the entire issue cause.

Imagine you had a story that you’d never shared with anyone because it was so weighted with guilt, shame, and fear. If you were surrounded by people you love, all of whom wore The Stitch… and all of whom (including you) knew what it symbolized… how much more inclined would you be to finally share your story?

This is powerful. And it’s bigger than any of us.

I hope you’ll be part of it.

-Matt

Join us by wearing #TheStitch.

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