What’s the motive?

Why is the media trying to discredit Heal For Life?

What’s the first thing you ask someone who you want to accuse of being an alcoholic? You ask them if they’re an alcoholic, so when they say no, you can say that denial is the first symptom. But what if they’re NOT an alcoholic? It doesn’t matter, because no matter what they say, you’ve already discredited them.

So if you want to attack an institution, why not find people who will claim there’s talk of conspiracy theories and satanic abuse, so that when you ask people why they’re being discredited, if they then say that they think it’s part of a smear campaign, you can then attack them as being paranoid. You can discredit someone even further, while they try to defend themselves. Their only option is NOT to defend themselves. Then people will also claim if they’re not defending themselves, it must be true. It’s quite brilliant manipulation really.

Last night, the 7:30 Report did a piece about Heal For Life. While admitting that they have an excellent track record of healing visitors, (which is 90%) they then went on to show a bunch of past volunteers and facilitators who were unhappy about their experiences while working at Heal For Life. Several newspapers have also grabbed on to the story this morning.

I attended a healing week at Heal For Life. It was an amazing experience. I learnt more about myself in one week at Heal For Life, and came home happier, and more at peace with myself than any other experience I’ve had on my long road to healing. While I was there, there was no discussion of satanic abuse. It was never suggested to me that I was a victim of satanic abuse. I never heard anyone else discuss it either. The first day I was there, we signed a statement saying we would not engage in self harm, and could be sent home if we did. There was a strict rule about no alcohol or drugs on the premises. There was also a strict rule about no touching, (although you could ask someone if they wanted to share a hug, and they could say no) and definitely no sex at the facility, even if it was consensual. We were told if anyone was found being intimate, they would be sent home. If one of the carers was having “consensual sex” with the attendees, as stated in the report, I can fully understand him being terminated. People are vulnerable, and open. It’s not the time to be having sex, while you’re dealing with sex abuse.

No matter where you go, if you find any place of employment, volunteer organization, even a church, you’re going to be able to find people who are disgruntled and who will talk bad about it. I’ve had several jobs that if you asked me, I could state reasons the place sucked. It doesn’t mean it’s true, but that’s my opinion. While volunteering with the Boy Scouts, we went on a trip to Mexico. It was right as the shit was hitting the fan down there. I’m surprised we were allowed to go. I didn’t think a lot of the things we did on the trip were safe. It was a caving trip, and we were inside a mammoth cave far from medical help. We had a bunch of youth with us. If anything had gone wrong, people could have died. But here’s the thing about being a volunteer. If you don’t like it, you can stop doing it. Which is what I did. After that trip, I stopped volunteering with the scouts. I hated the caving trips, it meant it wasn’t fun anymore because that’s all we did, so I just stopped doing it. I’ve also had jobs I hated, so I left.

If volunteers at Heal For Life felt burnt out, they could have stopped. They could have said, “Hey, I need a break for a while.” It’s OK to take a time out. In fact, one of the biggest lessons I learnt at Heal For Life was that it’s OK to say NO. It’s OK to make yourself number one. I have no doubt that being a carer or facilitator at Heal For Life is stressful. We were told not to go into detail of our own abuse with other attendees, because of transference. I can understand this because after I publicly told my story, I had hundreds of people email me, call me, or tell me their stories in person. Most days I was glad people felt like they could share with me, but other days it can be highly depressing. Some of the things I heard at Heal For Life were very sad, and I’m sure that hearing those things frequently can be very disheartening. But I also heard from the carers that they switched out frequently, to avoid being burnt out.

At the end of the week, we were given information on people who attended several healing weeks who went on to become carers. I wouldn’t say they were “recruiting” people. We knew that all carers were past attendees, and that there was an opportunity to become a carer if we desired it. Part of what makes Heal For Life unique is that it is staffed by past attendees. People who understand what you’re going through. Too many people have been to see a counselor or psychiatrist and had no success because they feel like the shrink is just sitting there doodling and not even listening. They just look up occasionally, say “and how does that make you feel?” and then tell you they’ll see you again next week. When you go to Heal For Life, you’re surrounded by people who understand what you’re going through. Nobody would dare pat you on the back and say “There, There, it’s all better now. Get over it and move along with your life.” But if a carer feels like it’s too much for them, it’s up to them to take a time out, and say that they can’t deal with it, and have somebody else step in. If you don’t think you’re trained enough to help others, then don’t.

I question the motives of the report on Heal For Life. If they can admit they have a great success rate with attendees, why are they doing a report on the staff, and the management. It looks very much like a smear campaign against Liz Mullinar. She can’t come out and defend herself at this stage, because if she does, the media will claim she’s paranoid. They’ve got some unhappy formers staff to say she’s paranoid, and if she now says people are trying to discredit her, it’s like fulfilling the prophecy. The whole report came off as people pointing a finger at Liz.

We’re in the middle of a Royal Commission. There’s a lot of unhappy people in high places that are looking to discredit anyone and everyone who might say something against them. There’s also the fact that Liz Mullinar was actually the casting director on Hey Dad..! She’s widely known in the entertainment industry, and there are many more actors like me who have experienced abuse in the industry. Several actors have been through the program at Heal For Life. If anyone was ready to speak out the way I have, I wouldn’t put it past some of the perpetrators to try to discredit Liz, in an attempt to discredit the victims. There has always been rumours of groups of people in the industry, who were cult like, or involved in satanic rituals*. If any of those victims were getting ready to speak out, their defense would be that Liz planted those ideas in their heads. That she helped make it up. Their cases would be thrown out, because they’ve already discredited Liz. For the record, I don’t know if any of the rumours are true, I just know they exist.

We’ve already seen how many cases have been swept under the rug in Australia. How many cases have been ignored. How many cases had nothing done till somebody went public. (Not just me). We’re also seeing lots of high profile people, including judges and magistrates, who are themselves being arrested for sexual assault against children. Victims are starting to talk. These people who thought that they were protected are starting to feel the heat. They’re worried their little worlds are going to crumble. I have no doubt that the people in power, who are very high up in society, who have been getting away with it for years, would stoop to levels of discrediting someone who is helping victims, if they thought it meant they could save their own asses.

So I just have to wonder why the ABC chose to go hunting to find past carers of Heal For Life. Why did they do the story? Whose idea was it? How much coercing was involved in getting these people on air? Did the carers approach the ABC, or did the ABC go looking for the story? Does Media Watch ever investigate stories on the ABC, or just from the commercial networks? What’s the point of this investigation? Are there genuine concerns about Heal For Life, or is this just a witch hunt against Liz personally?

Liz may not be able to ask these question herself, because they’ve already set the grounds for her to be paranoid about organizations trying to discredit her, but I can. Liz wasn’t at my healing week, and I haven’t seen her in person since about 1995. I had just returned from Honduras, and was at an audition, and she asked me straight up if I had ever been touched on set. I was terrified of answering her honestly, so I just told her my mum said if I couldn’t say anything nice, not to say anything at all. I didn’t know that she knew the truth, and had helped in finding replacements on the show because of it. I always wish I had been strong enough back then to tell her the truth. Things may have turned out much differently for all of us.

Alas, the past is the past, and all I can do is focus on the upcoming trial. I know that Liz will be there for me if I need her to be. I just hope that Heal For Life will also be there if I need it.

*I’m not linking to it, because of defamation idiots in Australia, but Google “the paedophile and satanic network in Australia” I have no idea if this is true or not, but there are rumours and innuendos out there that it does exist, and it involves some very interesting people.

Heal for life

Mayumarri – a Magical Place

Back in March, I made a short trip home to Australia. It had been a while since I had been home, except for quick fly in fly out things that weren’t a lot of fun.

Australia didn’t feel like home anymore. It was a place where I had grown up, but I didn’t have the most normal childhood, or the most enjoyable one. When I moved to Texas, at first it felt foreign, but I started to feel at home. I started to let myself live my own life, where nobody knew my past. Nobody judged me as being some has been former child star. I was just Sarah.

Right as I was really starting to form a new life here, and I was slowly working on moving back to being comfortable with cameras, I had found a passion in making a new series, Going Down, I was contacted about coming back to Australia and talking about my old life.

At first I said no. I thought I was moving forward. I didn’t want to go back. A few months later, I was asked again. I said no, again.

Then I was teaching acting classes, and I had a mother ask me questions about the industry. There was an incident with her daughter. Hearing the story made me so mad. Matt said he had never seen me so angry. It was like every piece of anger and hurt that I had buried from my childhood came bubbling up, all at once.

I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know how to fix it. But this time when I was contacted about talking about my past, I thought even if I have to go back, even if it means letting down the facade of being “just Sarah” something had to be done. Somebody had to stand up and say something. Somebody had to be willing to stand up and tell people what the industry is really like.

Now, I really didn’t expect what happened next to happen. I had spent years in Australia being told I was a nobody now. Just another washed up has been former child star off some sucky sitcom from the 80’s.  I honestly thought it would be a miracle if anybody read the story. I hoped a couple stage parents might see it and think twice about letting their kids in the industry. I purposely didn’t name who it was, because I didn’t want it to be about me and him. I wanted it to be a story about what can happen to ANY child in the industry.

Well, I miscalculated. Apparently people read the story. Then all hell broke loose. It became bigger than me, and I wasn’t in control of it. All of a sudden there was people at my house, then I was on a flight to Australia. It all happened so fast. I was being pushed and pulled. I was once again being told what to do. It seemed like everyone was talking about it. It was on the news, in magazines, the in flight newscast. Basically, it was insane.

It also made Australia seem like a scary place again. Everybody there was judging me. They all knew who I was again, and everybody had an opinion. Most people didn’t have a nice one either. Everyone seemed to think I had some kind of ulterior motive; That I only spoke out to revive my career, or make some money. I’ve since noticed that happens anytime someone speaks out. Nobody wants to think that maybe there really are Pedophiles out there, and it’s easier to knock the victim, than admit bad things happen.

After all the media hoopla, and my life was completely changed, and I didn’t know who I was anymore, I thought about the few people who had actually taken my side during the ordeal.

There was Hetty Johnston and Bravehearts. There was several people behind the scenes. Then there was Liz Mullinar. She had been the casting director for Hey Dad, and she had been on TV several times to talk about what she knew.

I hadn’t seen or communicated with Liz since I was a teenager. But I felt the need to write everyone a letter and thank them for standing by me over the last two years.

I wrote to Liz, and she wrote back. She asked me if I would accept her invitation to come to Heal For Life. She knew how hard this journey was, and wanted to make sure I was going to be OK. I had read about Heal For Life. It seemed like an awesome place, and I had wished I was in Australia to attend it. There was several programs to choose from. Liz invited me to the private retreat, or the regular healing week. Something told me this was something I really needed to do. You know how the little voice inside you just screams sometimes? So, I worked out when I could get leave. I knew I had enough frequent flyer miles to do the trip. I just had to work out when there was a healing week and flights….

So in March I finally made it back to Australia. Funnily enough, it was the one week of the year that Liz wasn’t at Heal For Life. She was on a cruise with her sister, but it was still amazing.

My brother drove me up a long winding road out into the Hunter Valley. There was trees, and birds, and a whole lot of quiet. It was far away from the city, and any potential of anybody seeing me. I didn’t have to worry about any rogue photographers, or ending up in the paper.

Heal For Life was the most amazing thing I have ever done for myself. I arrived on Sunday afternoon, not knowing what to expect, and I left the following Friday as a completely different person.

Every morning we were greeted by kangaroos and wild birds. We got up and made breakfast, before starting our day of healing. There was a group of ten of us at that week. We were all apprehensive, and then we opened up. We realized we all had own own issues, and nobody else was going to judge us. It wasn’t like a group therapy session, where everyone spent an hour talking, and then had to go back to their normal life. This wasn’t like talking to a shrink, who just sits there and writes in a book, and doesn’t understand what you’re really going through.

All of the carers at Heal For Life are survivors themselves. They’ve been through the journey. They don’t judge, or give you a simple pat on the back and say “there, there, it’ll all be ok”. Instead, this was completely the opposite. You were encouraged to scream, shout, cry, talk, punch things. Do whatever you needed to do to let the pain out. We learnt about triggers, and what happens when we are triggered, and how to de-trigger. We learnt how what we went through as kids can affect our decisions as an adult.

I knew I was working stuff out when I decided to go swimming in the pond. Even though I scuba, I’m actually quite terrified of water. I’m fine with the air tank, once I’m under water, but fresh water, and being on the surface freak me out. By Wednesday, I was swimming around in the pond….

I’m not a crier, or an emotional person. I’ve always just pushed it all deep down inside. I learnt to cry at Heal For Life. I learnt to let my emotions out, instead of just bottling it all up. Even my masseuse has noticed the difference. I no longer have giant knots in my back.

When my brother picked me up, we had a long hard talk. We talked about things I never would have talked about before. And I was fine. I had already worked out so many issues, I could handle our conversation.

Before Heal For Life, I wasn’t sure if I could handle coming back to Australia again. Now I miss it. It feels like home again, like it no longer only holds bad memories. It also made me realize I was strong enough to get through the next year, and going to court. I know there will be bad days, but now I know how to respond to those moments, and move past them.

Heal For Life made me a better person. It made me strong, it made me happy again. I wish everyone who had been through some kind of childhood trauma could go there.

I can never thank Liz Mullinar enough for creating Heal For Life, and for inviting me to come down and experience it. It has completely changed my life.

I encourage anyone who needs to heal to look into attending a healing week. It seems scary, but it really will be an amazing thing to do for yourself.