‘Amazing Eight’ sisters presented MNCASA prestigious AWARE award

On April 20, a group of eight women, dubbed “The Amazing Eight” by their advocate, received the Minnesota Coalition against Sexual Assault (MNCASA) prestigious AWARE award. Included in this group are Springfield residents Laura Lee Bast and Clarice Platz, along with sisters Miki Schultz of Morgan,
Carol Brennan of New Ulm, Joleen Amberg of Redwood Falls, Wanita Nosbush of Park Rapids, Jean Lange of Glenwood, and Mary Schmit of Randolph, Wisconsin. 

MNCASA has been holding “AWARE,” an event to support survivors and raise awareness to end sexual violence, since 2007. The AWARE award is given to both individuals and groups and recognizes the way in which awardees courageously responded to sexual abuse and assault and how they transformed their personal adversity into prevention.  Laura Lee, Clarice and their sisters join a long and distinguished group! Past AWARE award winners include:

Jon Choi, Ramsey County Attorney

Patty Wetterling

Duluth Trafficking Task Force

Minnesota Public Radio

Senator John Marty

Senator Al Franken

The Advocates for Human Rights

Larry Schaefer and Schaefer Law Firm

Winona County Board

Safe Harbors Initiative

Paul Schnell, Hastings Police Chief

“The Amazing Eight” are eight sisters who grew up between the 1950s -1970s in Southwest Minnesota. Six were primary victims of sexual abuse by one or more family members; all eight are secondary victims. Primary victims are those to whom the assault directly happened.  Secondary victims are non-offending family members, partners, friends and children of victim/survivors and are often highly affected by the sexual abuse of others, particularly when perpetrated by a family member.

Though the abuse happened during their childhood it took a conversation following a major family “life event,” several years ago, before each of the sisters learned that they were not alone; the familial sexual abuse had in fact happened to at least six of them. Each thought they were the only one.  As is common, even though this happened decades ago, most of the sisters had not found true peace or healing. The realization that their sisters were also victims reopened wounds that had either partially healed or were scarred over. But it also served to form an incredible bond between them.

While each, of course, sought personal healing, they had a strong desire for some form of justice as a family as well. 

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