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Welcome to the Ray Lynn Foundation website.  The Ray Lynn Foundation is a 501(c) non-profit organization based in Minnesota. This website is here for those who want to learn and share.  It is a place of support and hope for victims and loved ones who are concerned.  Abuse has an all encompassing effect on the victim and the ones that love them.  On this site, you will find articles and links to information that will help better understand the cycle of abuse.

For the victim:  You are not alone!

For family members:  You can help!

To learn more click on the HELP link.

A note from Ray

The idea for the Ray Lynn Foundation started to form in my head sometime in the late 1990’s.  This was when I first decided to deconstruct myself.  It was during this time that I began to remember things from my childhood; tragic things that I recognized as pieces to the puzzle that is/was me.  I remember wishing that there was someplace or someone to help me sort through it all.  I wished of a place I could go that was safe and without judgment.  There are many sites that have resources, but I needed a place to help me decipher my feelings.  Yet, I was not in a place where I wanted to talk to someone face to face.  As it was, I turned to self expression.  I could tell a piece of paper everything I could not verbalize without the fear of being found out.  That fear controlled me for most of my adult life.   I used to let this fear of my past control me.  It almost destroyed me.  Over time, as I grew and began to understand these things a little better, the foundation came to symbolize something more: Hope.

The hope that there are others like me who can help me grow.  The hope that the lessons I’ve learned can reach others.  The hope that I can turn all the negative I have experienced in my life into something incredibly positive.  I will share myself as I have never done in the hope that I can help someone else.   I realized that self expression was incalculably important to me.  It is what I used to make sense of things until I was ready to take control of the darkness.

I recognize the need for a place where people still struggling to make sense of their experience can go to learn through others.  My past has made me who I am.  I cannot change it.  Instead of running from it, I will embrace it and share it.  For the first time in my life, I can say that I am hopeful.

–2011  Ray Smart, Creator

My Story

My name is Ray and I am a survivor of the cycle of sexual abuse. I used to despise that word: survivor.  It’s not like I lived through a plane crash or a war. I wasn’t shot in the line of duty. I didn’t live through a tsunami or earthquake. Yet, the effects of abuse are traumatic. As a child, I protected myself and my brothers from males. I knew too quickly what my body was intended to do. As I grew, I was filled with rage.  At first, this rage was focused outward. In time, it turned inward and I soon became a self-destructive teenager. On top of the normal teenage angst, I had a secret that ate at me. Adulthood brought more self-destructive behavior and I did not trust anyone. Therefore, any relationship I maintained was purely on the surface.

After 30 years of self-hatred, lying, and protecting I took steps to come to terms with my past. Therapy helped me navigate my memories and emotions. I am now able to recognize that I did survive highly negative experiences. I am now beginning to accept my past and it was through this process the idea of the Ray Lynn Foundation began to take shape in my mind. I see now my creative outlets inevitably saved my life.  Self-expression kept me from suicide.  I did not trust anyone with the secrets I carried, but I could tell a piece of paper.  I could sing about it.  I had an outlet for the confusion and rage I had bottled up since childhood.

I believe very strongly in the power of self-expression and have applied this approach in many of my classrooms. I taught Language Arts in a small farming community, computers on Native American reservations and most recently, I was a creative writing teacher in the inner city. In each of these places, I encouraged my students to express themselves. No matter the race, gender, or socioeconomic background of the children I served the results were the same. I read stories of abuse. I read poems filled with pain. I saw paintings and drawings filled with emotion.

Self-expression gives voice to things that are nearly impossible to verbalize. I have experienced this through my own struggles and witnessed it in the countless students I had the opportunity to work with.  This is the backbone to the Ray Lynn Foundation website. I want to reach out and find those people who are struggling and help them give voice to the deep pain they carry. I want the website to be a community for survivors of sexual abuse, a safe place where they can share their experiences and learn from others in the community. Sexual abuse is a rampant plague in our society. Millions of survivors in the United States suffer alone and in silence.  The Ray Lynn Foundation is designed to break that silence by offering a place survivors can share and learn from each other.