Donna Zerner, The Shadow Behind The Light

Donna Zerner shares the story of her time with Marc Gafni (using alias Mike Rockme) in an inspiring way:

It took me ten years to feel safe enough to speak publicly about my experience with Marc Gafni.  I’m pretty sure he’ll try to attack and discredit me — that’s what he tends to do to people who expose the truth about him — but at this point the urge to speak out is far more compelling than continuing to silence myself out of fear of his retribution.

It felt both terrifying and liberating to tell my story.  Of course, in 15 minutes I was only able to reveal the tiniest fraction of my experiences, so it was frustrating what was left out… I could have easily spoken for hours and still barely scratched the surface. Following the rules of storytelling, some details were tweaked and timing of events compacted to allow such a huge story to be told in such a limited time, but the essence of everything I said was True.

I used a pseudonym for MG because the intention of the story was never to expose or blame him, but to explore my culpability, to own my own journey of disempowerment and healing. If my intention HAD been to attack him in any way, the story would have been very different!

My intention was always that the story be healing for myself and for anyone who’s been affected by a similar dynamic. It definitely has been empowering for me so far, I feel much freer after ending my silence about this intense experience.

The process of creating the story was extremely challenging, a constant surrender to the Feminine. With previous stories I’ve told, I pretty much typed them out at my computer and memorized them, but this one refused to be created that way; it would only come through my emotions and my body (requiring an often excruciating reliving of experiences). I never wrote a word, and I didn’t memorize it either — very challenging for a writer-perfectionist like me! I also had no idea how it would end until the final words stumbled out of my mouth that night. The process was all about surrender; it ultimately felt like a shamanic initiation.

The video doesn’t capture how heavy and intense the energy got in the room— by about two-thirds through it felt like the entire audience was holding their breath with concern and outrage, which is why I felt compelled at one point to puncture the heaviness with a joke (otherwise too intense for a bunch of Portlanders out for a Saturday night’s entertainment!).

My hope at this point is that the story encourages more women (and men) in similar situations to recognize their own worth, honor their intuition, and speak their authentic truth from the heart.

Please know that I hold with me a multitude of other MG-affected women (over a span of 36 years, up to the present day), most of whom are not ready to speak up but whose suffering at MG’s hands was quite profound, and continues to this day. And of course, the damage he has caused and continues to create expands to areas far beyond his exploitation of women.

I pray for truth and healing for all affected, including for MG.


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