She recently revealed she is a survivor of child sexual abuse and partnered with UNICEF to raise awareness. Karlyn says the event is about encouraging women to face the “elephant” in their lives. ByBlacks.com spoke to Karlyn about her own elephant and how she stared it in the face.
What inspired you to face your Elephant?
The burden. I wanted to be free, free from shame or guilt. I wanted to be in a position to make more meaningful connections, and stop carrying around this baggage.
The things that cause you shame and insecurity forces us to just try and cope with life, which makes us operate below our full potential. I could not be my authentic self, as in the Caribbean community it is counter culture to discuss taboo topics like sexual abuse.
We often times convince ourselves that these things did not happen, but somehow issues resurface later on in our life. They manifest themselves in different ways. In my case, I held myself back because I felt that people would see through me, and my secret would have been revealed.
What is SisterTalk?
There were days I would cry and could not understand what was happening. So one night I gathered 10 of my closest female friends for a ladies night to talk about these issues, to see if anyone else was experiencing what I was going through.
The sisters opened up and started sharing their own experiences. The conversation went on until very late that night, and at the end the ladies asked if we were going to do it again.
The group has been meeting for two years now.
Can you share with us one of the success stories of SisterTalk?
The real success is seeing sisters being able to identify, and share their “elephant stories”. We have been able to encourage other women to share, and eliminate from themselves the shame that cripples us emotionally.
The forum gives women the opportunity to talk openly about secrets, and find their authentic voice. We operate in a very safe and confidential environment.
What is the upcoming event you are producing, and why?
The event on November 16th was born out of the authentic conversations emerging from the SisterTalk group, and we decided to partner with UNICEF to raise funds for the Break The Silence initiative. We have a goal to get a half million pledges for a petition to end violence against women and children. These 100 women who attend the event will be the first people to sign the petition. In 2015 UNICEF will be reviewing all the initiatives implemented over the past seven years to see how successful they were.
November 16 is also the anniversary of when I was invited to the UNiTE Regional Conference in Barbados, as the keynote speaker to share my story.
What other upcoming projects do you have in the works?
Now that my tenure with the BBPA is over, and I can focus on being president of the non-profit Bellemoun Community Youth Network (BCYN). The organization focuses on the empowerment of youth and the development of youth-based organisations and initiatives in the Caribbean. So I will be spending most of my time developing and working on initiatives to end sexual abuse and violence against children, and women.
How can people connect with you?
The best way to get in touch with me is through my website KarlynPercil.com. there are links to the Sistertalk movement, upcoming events, info on the UNICEF initiative and of course our social media channels Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter and Youtube.
Share Elephant Stories online anonymously at KarlynPercil.com