After suffering in silence for over 50 years, a West Nipissing woman is finally sharing her story in the hopes that other victims of mental, physical and sexual trauma know they’re not alone.
For most of her life, Cherylann Beaudette had let few in on the abuse she had endured at the hands of several people growing up in Garden Village and Sturgeon Falls. But in the past year, she decided she’s no longer willing to carry the burden of others’ actions.
“I think everyone needs to know that I’m not alone, that there’s so much out there, but people are afraid to come forward,” says Beaudette. “They don’t have to be afraid. It took me 51 years of silence… to finally realize that it was never about me. It’s not my shame.”
Beaudette details her childhood trauma in her recently released biography Silent Cries: My Tearful Journey. She didn’t set out to write a full-length book about the lowest points of her life; it started out as a journaling exercise that her counsellor recommended to help her work through that trauma. Soon after, Beaudette began posting her journal entries on Facebook.
“It was hard to open up about it and I thought, you know what, how many people out there need to talk and are afraid to talk?” she recounts. “So, this spring when I started writing, I said to myself, ‘This is going to help a lot of people. I’m going to start talking and I don’t care who gets hurt now. I’m not going to put any names in my book. I want to help people; I want to help the women out there that have gone through what I went through and don’t know where to turn. I want to be their voice.’ So, I started writing.”
Beaudette says the response to her online journal was positive and supportive, with several readers asking whether she would be releasing a book.
“I thought, ‘I don’t know, I’ve never wrote a book before.’ But the more journals I was writing, the more it sounded like a story. I was told I needed at least 30,000 words for a story, so I started writing and got up to 33,000 words in 33 days,” she says.
When it came to telling her story, Beaudette would just pick a time in her life and write what memories she had of that period: she was amazed at what came flooding to her.