I gave a presentation for media, trauma therapists and survivors at the International Cultic Studies Association conference in Dallas. The presentation was called The Role of the Media in the Recovery, Retraumatization and Empowerment of Survivors of Traumatic Psychological Manipulation.Read More »
The Science of Gratitude | University of Pennsylvania, 2005. One of the greatest contributing factors to overall happiness in life is how much gratitude we show. And a noticeable difference can be experienced with as little as three expressions each day (“Thank you for…”).
Trust, Morality, and Oxytocin. Claremont Graduate University, 2011. Based on research findings, psychologists believe humanity’s trust, empathy, and morality increase as their levels of oxytocin increase. Neuroeconomist Paul Zak explains the simple act of eight hugs a day can increase internal oxytocin levels and result in a happier you and a better world.
For a Better Day, Smile. | Michigan State University, 2011. People who smile as a result of cultivating positive thoughts can significantly and immediately improve their mood. Simply put, one easy way to improve your mood right now is to recall pleasant memories—and smile because of it.
The Dynamic Spread of Happiness | University of California, San Diego, 2008. In this significant study, people who were surrounded by happy people were more likely to become happy in the future. So if you want to discover more happiness in your life, make a point to surround yourself with joyful people.
Kindness Counts | University of British Columbia, 2012. In this study conducted at an elementary school, students who performed kind acts experienced significantly higher increases in peer acceptance. In other words, people who are kind to others are more well-liked. This contributes to their own personal popularity as they help other people.
People who Exercise on Work Days are Happier | University of Bristol, 2008. People’s moods significantly improve after exercising. They are also more productive and equipped to manage stress in their workday.
Is Volunteering a Public Health Intervention? | University of Exeter Medical School, 2013. Evidence suggests volunteering benefits mental health and even, survival. Donating time to causes you believe in not only improves well-being and overall life satisfaction, it is also linked to decreased depression and a lower risk of dying early.
Spending Money on Others Promotes Happiness | University of California Berkeley, 2008. This study suggests that how people spend their money may be at least as important as how much money they earn. Specifically, spending more of one’s income on others results in greater happiness. So go ahead, be generous. You’ll be glad you did.
Well-being not Wealth | Harvard Business School, 2009. While there does appear to be some correlation between happiness and income when basic needs are not yet met, people tend to overestimate the influence of wealth on happiness by 100%. Money does not lead to nearly as much happiness as people think it will.
Experiences, not Possessions, Leads to Greater Happiness | San Francisco State University, 2009. The study demonstrates that experiential purchases, such as a meal out or theater tickets, result in increased greater well-being than material possessions. These experiences tend to satisfy higher order needs, specifically the need for social connectedness and vitality—a feeling of being alive.Read More »
WHAT IS POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY?
Traditional psychology is the study of mental illness: DARK
Positive psychology is the study of mental wellness: LIGHT
Positive psychology and happiness is an EXPLODING field, bursting out bestselling books for a reason.
Before we can be happy or successful, we need to first develop the ability to see that positive change is possible. Only once we learn to see the world through a more positive lens can we summon all our motivation, emotion, and intelligence to achieve our personal and professional goals.- Shawn Achor, Author -“Before Happiness”
A survivor journey with a Positive Psychology framework could benefit from a “guidemap” that incorporates the Positive Psychology character strengths.
The Six Classifications of Character Strengths
1. Wisdom and Knowledge
Cognitive strengths that entail the acquisition and use of knowledge
Emotional strengths that involve the exercise of will to accomplish goals in the face of opposition, external or internal
Interpersonal strengths that involve tending and befriending others
Civic strengths that underlie healthy community life
Strengths that protect against excess
Strengths that forge connections to the larger universe and provide meaning
This week, I am thrilled that I was invited to speak on two different television shows on the intersection of polygamy and human trafficking. This is my odd, narrow, highly-specialized area of expertise that historically only the most passionate activisits cared about, and I am happy that things are finally changing. As far as I know, I was the first person who left a (psuedo) polygamy situation that also qualified for services as a survivor of human trafficking.Read More »
Voices For Dignity is an awareness and educational campaign I founded to help empower women, especially those who have suffered crimes of oppression and humiliation, such as human trafficking, patriarchal polygamy, cybershaming and more (read more about it HERE). Here is my new logo, along with a few variations. What do you think?Read More »
Thank you for visiting my page. If you write to me, I will write back!
I hope you came to this site because you were disturbed by what you saw and thought, “This couldn’t be true.” Your instincts were right.
My son Tim is here visiting from Norway where he is in grad school. He came with his lovely Norwegian girlfriend Karin. Karin told me about Sami – the reindeer herders – and now I am obsessed with it! (And no, I haven’t seen Frozen yet.)Read More »
We had a magical time when Tolga’s family came to visit. The Butterfly Grove, the pacific ocean, the city, and of course, Isla Vista & UCSB.Read More »
Rising pop star Lola Blanc is blowing minds with the trippy music video for her single, “Bad Tattoo,” and RyanSeacrest.com has the exclusive premiere.Read More »
I hesitated posting these because I worried what people would think since people my age don’t normally do this kind of thing.
Here are some photos we took of my friend Kristyn Decker, an escapee from the life of polygamy, but more importantly, a sweet, strong, and wonderful person.Read More »
Here are some photos we did of the stunningly gorgeous, sweet and sassy Kollene Snow.Read More »
Here is a modeling portfolio I put together for Willy Steed. (Actually, there are a few fun photos in here as well.)Read More »
Our friend and (now) model Willy Steed, a former FLDS young man who escaped a life of polygamy and abuse, was featured on ABC’s 20/20 – and they credited us with helping him transform!Read More »
Lola Blanc was featured in a really cool issue of Afterglow Magazine alongside other Hollywood IT girls like Janel Parrish, Audrey Kitching, Kerli, etc.Read More »
Britney Spears ‘ new single is off to a smurfin’ great start. “Ooh La La,”Read More »
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“With a sultriness very much like a young Rose McGowan, her cool voguish looks ensure this Greek Hottie is set for plenty of attention.” — Gorno
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“Los Angeles is full of people that look interesting as a profession, but sometimes the look is about all you get.”
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“Bold and lively, showcasing Lola’s saucy personality, ‘Bad Tattoo’ literally bulldozers it’s way through the pop mainstream and wins over attention with it’s über juicy beats and audaciously bright appeal.” ~ EQ Music Blog
There’s a new pop songstress in town: Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter Lola Blanc is ready to make waves with her new single “Bad Tattoo,” which Idolator is excited to premiere.Read More »
Before Britney Spears releases her in-the-works eighth studio album, the pop superstar will return with “Ooh La La,” a new song featured on the soundtrack to the “The Smurfs 2.”Read More »
Las Vegas Sun | 04-12-13 Land Rover Las Vegas will be hosting “Models For Mutts” which is a fashion runway show with several of Las Vegas’ top clothing designers to raise awareness for the Animal Foundation.Read More »
It is absolutely false and outrageous to have portrayed that I ever gave up my children.
Shame on all the producers, distributors and parties involved who produced and edited this “documentary” to appear this way so as to increase the shock value. I am devastated and disappointed by Discovery Networks , eOne Entertainment and Raw TV for misrepresenting the truth in such an utterly disgusting way. Every one of these parties knew that this is false.
Since when do you describe a divorced single mother as someone who “gave up her children” when the children went to visit the father with whom she shared custody? No single mother who shares custody with her ex-husband is accused of having “given up her children” when they visit their father. The fact is that my ecclesiastical leader pressured me to give them up for adoption. I could not do that, and I did not do that.
The following transcripts of the interview and other documents were created by Raw TV and sent to me by Raw TV before the show aired, proving that Raw TV, which is now being purchased by Discovery, were acutely aware that I did not obey the prophet and give up my children.
From the producer’s transcripts of my actual recorded interviews:
“He told me I needed to give my children up for adoption [crying] to, as my next text. [crying] and I like fainted. And I couldn’t believe what he was saying, and I said it’s not right, it’s not possible. [crying] and he told me, that this was my requirement and that I’ve not yet earned eternal motherhood, and I would never earned eternal motherhood, unless I obeyed this [crying] thing
“And I walked through the valley, the canyon just screaming and crying, so confused. . . I couldn’t do it. He told me to do it and I couldn’t do it, I couldn’t pass this test, and I said, I don’t understand, I’ve passed every test you’ve given me, [crying] why this?
”So when he would call, I would have the children be quiet [crying] but I couldn’t do it. And I purposely disobeyed and hid it, and just hoped the prophet would not know.
“I was worried that he would find out I had not obeyed and that there would be some eternal consequences for me. Excuse me. [crying]
“And when he asked me to live among the poor and needy, and told me I needed to make this permanent, I pretended I made it permanent. I pretended that I had given them up for adoption, when in reality they were simply separated from me. There was no custody battle between me and my ex-husband ever, we always both wanted was best for our children.
The story producer wrote her notes (in all caps, in document called Christine Marie Heart – Story Notes from Transcript) below.
“Christine received an email from one of the sisters, telling her that ***** had been sent to jail for violating a protective order against one of his ex-wives. He wanted her to visit him at the jail (CLARIFY) at 9am the next day.”
“Christine went to see *****. He told her he was simply incarcerated on false charges like Joseph Smith before him, and that it was all false. She believed him. He asked if she had given up her children for adoption like he’d asked. Christine lied and said she had. *THIS IS A MOMENT OF STRENGTH, WE ADMIRE HER FOR IT.” ( p. 10, 5th paragraph)
This “moment of strength” and refusal to give up my children, was intentionally eliminated, and through the use of cutting and pasting words and video out of context, the message was altered to say something completely different and defamatory. Furthermore, I was made to appear that obeyed the prophet’s demand to give up my children, and I did it without even questioning! What?!
After the children were picked up in a car driven by an apparent stranger, the character who played me did not even cry. In fact, video and audio of me speaking in other contexts were spliced together to make it appear I was nonchalant, if not happy, now that my children were gone. This is a despicable misrepresentation of the facts.
My letter to the General Manager of Raw TV, who produced the “documentary” on a story from my life.
On Thu, Jun 13, 2013 at 11:01 AM, Piers Vellacott <email@example.com> wrote:
Dear Christine Marie,
I am sorry that you are still distressed by some of the negative feedback to the program and your perceived misrepresentation by us. It’s very disheartening, when the team here worked so tirelessly to create a film that was a sensitive and honest account of the story you presented to us.
When we complete production on a television programme we deliver it on to the networks, and it totally beyond our control to start pulling programmes off the air.
You initial reaction was one of jubilation, and on the second viewing (without distraction) you told us you were ‘happy, happy, happy.’
We absolutely did not present you as a stupid woman in love, we presented a very complex story, as narrated beautifully by you – and with you giving us a retrospective view of a very difficult and tragic episode in your life. Your presentation was compelling and you gave a very honest and frank account of your thoughts and emotions at this time.
I think that through the passage of time one of your main concerns was the caption concerning your children. We handled that section with great sensitivity and made clear that the children remained in touch with you and were sent to their father.
We also made clear that after you realised the deception your first instinct was to reunite your family which you did within a short period of time.
“To be honest I have a memory block about where my littlest boy went. I can’t even remember. I have an erased part there. I don’t even know where he went. So I have no memory of it. I don’t, I have certain memories about this part.”
Now more time has passed and your concerns about the programme are not just limited to this section but to the entire programme.
As MD of Raw, we pride ourselves on our output and on the teams we put together to make our output. I am confident that we dealt with all the issues in your film professionally and with great sensitivity I absolutely stand by the integrity of the programme makers we hire to make sometime difficult but important programmes.
I hope with time you will recognise that we believe you to be the victim of terrible events – one that you survived with dignity and honour. I remember clearly the conversation you and I had prior to transmission of the film, I believe and still do, that you are an incredibly strong and brave woman. I acknowledge that your story has attracted negative comments, and I pity those who feel that using the veil of the internet is an inappropriate way of getting to you.
Network & production executives such as –
Henry Schleiff, President (Investigation Discovery)
Michael Kot, exec producer (Entertainment One)
Ron Simon, exec producer (Investigation Discovery)
Piers Vellacott, Dimitri Dogani- execs (Raw TV)
wanted to create a new series.
It was represented to me that it would be a show for Discovery Networks with the following description:
“The series seeks to tell these people’s stories of subjugation and ultimate survival. The hope is that the stories will be a testament to the power of the human spirit to overcome crushing psychological adversity.”
But after I participated and signed the release, they sent out an industry press release (unbeknownst to me at the time), that said –
(wt) DANGEROUS PERSUASIONS “tells extraordinary and terrifyingly true tales of everyday people who were manipulated into committing horrific crimes.”
Without my prior knowledge or approval, they decided to turn my story of surviving human trafficking, multiple rapes, beatings and trauma – into a story where I had committed crimes or “committed horrific acts.”
Furthermore, they coached a former boyfriend, now an actor who was NOT a witness, but an actor who was falsely represented as a witness, to say things to get across their desired points. Like what? Like Christine Marie was to blame.
“followed her heart, had no common sense, and wanted to believe so badly she was willing to hurt herself.”
Like she did it for love.
Like she wanted love so badly that she was willing to do those things to herself.
Instead of speaking about the culture of Mormon patriarchy and obedience – such as in the news today:
They made my primary motivation to be one of love.
The show description all through cyberspace uses my real name “Christine Marie” (great for SEO, especially for a professional) and it says that the self-proclaimed prophet – proceeded to convince her to give her children away, relinquish her possessions and sell her body.
That description meets show series’ description. Millions and millions of people can see these words associated with my name and my face right now. But as you know, allowing visitation with the children’s father (which divorced parents by law MUST do) is not the same as “giving your children away.” Even Jack said, “Why did they phrase it like that? That was ridiculous.”
I have yet to receive a retraction or an apology.
This is what I wished to write to these people:
You do know that selling your body is a crime, right? (Although it shouldn’t be.) But it is.
Are you aware that being the victim of multiple rapes and beatings does not make a woman a criminal?
Are you aware that a woman is neither a criminal nor a prostitute even if money somehow changed hands in a building where she was the only female prey among 84 men? Nope. Even if men paid a pimp for her, this is still not “being convinced” to “sell her body.
Are you aware that being forced, coerced, extorted, monitored, followed, threatened, spiritually blackmailed, slapped, raped, robbed, penetrated with objects, confined, held down, screamed at, sworn at, insulted, had her head smashed into the floor, shoved, kicked, (did I say raped?) and sexually exploited for the sadistic, voyeuristic and financial benefit of others – is not the same as having been “convinced” to “sell her body?”
Weird, right – that I would be confused and disappointed that my story would be altered to fit into series about people who were persuaded to commit horrific crimes?
I am really just another female commodity that corporate America felt entitled to use and exploit as they saw fit.
I did not deserve to be slut-shamed by corporate America.
In Santa Barbara, the same city where Emily Lindin started the Unslut Project to fight against slut-shaming,
the same city where Elliot Rodger taught the world why it is dangerous to allow entitlement and misogyny
is the same city where I am now pursuing a PhD in Media Psychology – as a direct result of my experience with Investigation Discovery, Raw TV, History Channel, eOne Entertainment. and now add to that – Crime Investigation UK.
No woman who her traumatic survival story, especially when it includes sexual trauma, should be portrayed in a way that leaves people to believe that “she was an idiot” who “hurt herself.”
On January 17, 2013 at 3:00 in the afternoon, you might have caught a glimpse of a few celebrities on the courthouse steps in Salt Lake City, Utah. You might have even see me there too. I was the woman in red flanked by multiple husbands in matching frumpy white shirts, thanking God that I live in America, the land of the free.Read More »
This is my eccentric, artistic, alien genius geek husband, Tolga. See Tolga in action. Whether it’s developing software or producing music or doing high-end, creative fashion photography, Tolga is truly a great artist.Read More »
The Traverse City State Hospital of Traverse City, Michigan has been variously known as the Northern Michigan Asylum and the Traverse City Regional Psychiatric Hospital. It has for many years been called the “11th Street Academy”. Tolga and I stumbled upon it not realizing what it was, but we were fascinated and felt those paranormal chills. Enjoy the pics.Read More »
This is Tolga, according to Christine, and Christine, according to Tolga! It was at a pre-wedding party, us just goofing off as usual.Read More »
I grew up in Croton Dam, Michigan. It was truly like living in a post card, and the people in my tiny little town were like an extended family. People looked each other in the eye, everyone talked to everyone, and no one locked their doors.Read More »