EP 180: Resources For Survivors With Disabilities: Win Charles Part Two

Diana WinklerDomestic Violence

We are continuing with my exciting conversation with my new friend, Win Charles. She is a person with Cerebral Palsy, and she is an abuse survivor, And you heard some of her story last time. Today on Part 2,

She has been victorious over the abuse and learned to heal from some of the trauma that she has suffered. She’s moved from Colorado here to Phoenix, and she’s in a special disability community in an independent living condo. We are going to talk about resources for a person with a disability who is being abused. Share this episode with someone who needs it!

About Win Charles

Born with Cerebral Palsy, Win Charles has defied the odds by becoming an author. Her memoir I, Win is an amazing story of how she remembers her life through the years of having a condition called “CP”. As a competitor in the Kona Iron Man Triathlon, CEO of her own jewelry design company, and motivational speaker, Win Charles truly is an inspiration to many. Today Win Charles tours the country, speaking to schools and institutions to raise awareness about cerebral palsy and living a full life no matter what holds you back. She is also an advocate of veterans across the world.

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Win Charles Part Two Transcript

[00:00:00] ​Welcome to the Wounds of the Faithful podcast, brought to you by DSW Ministries. Your host is singer, songwriter, speaker, and domestic violence advocate, Diana Winkler. She is passionate about helping survivors in the church heal from domestic violence and abuse and trauma. This podcast is not a substitute for professional counseling or qualified medical help.

[00:00:26] Now, here is Diana. Hello, and welcome back to the podcast. We are going, we are continuing with my exciting conversation with my new friend, Win.

[00:00:47] Charles. And you heard some of her story last time. We’re going to hear the rest of the story, as they say, today on Part 2, and for a very [00:01:00] short review, she is a person with Cerebral Palsy, and she is an abuse survivor,

[00:01:07] but she also has, been victorious over that. . Learned to heal from some of the things that she has suffered, some trauma that she’s experienced, and she’s moved from Colorado here to Phoenix, not very far from where I live, and she’s in a special disability community. Independent living condos, and we’re probably going to meet up in person for coffee and tea soon.

[00:01:38] That’s what I love about podcasting is I get to meet some really awesome people, make new friends. And you know, find a way that I can be a blessing to somebody else. she helps people with disabilities. She is a great advocate. She knows firsthand their struggles. And I uh, made a [00:02:00] comment that I complain a lot,

[00:02:02] you know, when I’m having a bad day or I’m struggling. I stubbed my toe or I have a hangnail, you know, and I’m complaining or I don’t want to do something. people with disabilities, they have to push through every single day just to do the basics of life. And so when we say that we are inspired by people with disabilities, that’s what we mean.

[00:02:28] We want to encourage people to keep going, to lift one another up in our struggles. We all have struggles. My husband is now disabled. He, has struggles. It has changed our life in more ways than one. Um, but with God’s help and help from friends like Win, we’re getting through it. So I’m not going to read her bio again, but podcast.

[00:02:56] Everything will be in the show notes for you. I want to give her [00:03:00] as much time as possible to tell the rest of her story. So enjoy the rest of my conversation with Winn Charles.

[00:03:09] And it doesn’t always have to be the aid. A lot of times, these aides get blamed for the physical and emotional abuse. People, you need to knock that off, because it could be anyone. It could be Susie Q down the street. It could be the family member, it could be the next door neighbor, it could be anyone that wants to abuse the disabled. Yes. And 85 percent of women who are disabled get abused. We, as disabled, are high upon this because we can’t move, we can’t run away.

[00:03:59] [00:04:00] And when I’ve learned over the years, is that it’s very unlikely for a woman to abuse another woman, but it could happen. And what I’ve learned over the years after this, because I was going to, go into my bathroom and say,

[00:04:21] help, I’m being abused, my abuser wouldn’t let me go do that. Because they want to, keep on doing it. Right. You tell on them, they just flip out even more. So that’s my message on everyone else. Tell, tell, tell people if you can. So to be clear, I might’ve missed this, but the abuse was, physical beatings or, bruises.

[00:04:52] Well, it was physical, but it wasn’t physical beatings. That would have been even worse. [00:05:00] It was It was physical and it was mental abuse. It was a 50 50 split of both. And I had, four witnesses. One left before the abuse, but I had four witnesses to my abuses.

[00:05:19] That’s good. Most people don’t even get that many witnesses, if at all. Um, so a delicate question, but was there any, sexual abuse going on? Was there any sexual abuse going on? I came 90 percent close to sexual abuse by this abuser. touched me in, with the razor, but she didn’t go.

[00:05:51] It wasn’t 100%, but it was pretty dang close. Yeah, that’s close enough. 90 percent is [00:06:00] a lot. Yeah, you don’t have to tell details. We’re just trying to get a grasp on what, what you’ve been through here. Yeah. So, In all of this, what did you think about God at the time?

[00:06:12] Were you angry with God going through all of this? What was going through your, your head with your faith at this point? Well, when my abuser, took me, put me in a sh singing, singing hymnals. And people don’t know this story. I’m singing church songs just to get me out of the situation.

[00:06:38] Like, with a scream, church songs. My aide, who was Mormon, When I came running to my bathroom, so I was, solely repeating church songs, all in the shell against my will, because I wanted, I knew what, exactly what was happening, and by the time, She took a [00:07:00] picture of my private area. That’s what threw, that’s what threw me over the edge.

[00:07:05] She took a picture of my private area, and that’s what, led, if you really want to know the truth, that’s what led to this, and that’s what led to I don’t feel safe around these people, and that’s what led to Adult Protective Services, and that’s what led to this.

[00:07:27] to the, background check, and that’s what led to the, report against, oh, what’s the name of it? I don’t even know anymore. And so that’s what led to the record being removed put against her. They deemed it as emotional and physical abuse. And so it wasn’t sexual. That’s why I say it was not 100%, but it was 90%.

[00:07:55] And was I angry at God? Oh, yeah. [00:08:00] Oh, yeah, I was angry at God. You just made me lose my mom and then lose my dad. And then it goes through the this?. Oh yeah, I was angry at God, but I still had enough faith in God to put me in a safer environment, which happened to be Phoenix, Arizona.

[00:08:24] And it landed up being that Phoenix, Arizona, I got an amazing housing opportunity, in which I couldn’t turn down. And my family don’t go down there. They know the stories of emotional and physical abuse towards me. I haven’t seen them since 2019. They barely want to leave the Bahamas to come see me, and yeah.

[00:08:53] And no, they didn’t move to the Bahamas because of the physical [00:09:00] and emotional abuse. They A lot of people have asked me that. My mom grew up down there. Oh, okay. So you’re here in Phoenix now because of housing for People with disabilities is that, uh, no.

[00:09:15] I am here in the Phoenix because I ended up selling my house in Aspen, Colorado due to, I couldn’t manage my house. I couldn’t manage myself, let alone my house. So I decided to sell the house that was gifted willed to me. And so, with the capital gains from that house, I bought myself, with help, a condo

[00:09:47] down in Phoenix, Arizona. And the condo I have now is just in a community that’s built for the disabled. Oh, I didn’t even know that [00:10:00] existed. Yeah. And that’s place you’re in right now. It looks very nice. It is. And this, development is one of its First in the country.

[00:10:10] That’s great. Let’s talk a little bit more of your your faith journey. So you were raised Catholic. I was raised Catholic as well. I have definitely have a journey of my own, but you are now going to a different church. What was the, the journey like, Checking out different churches. Well, I stepped away from the Catholic Church. I will tell you this. I stepped away after my mom died. After , a police said to me, how’s your mom? And basically I said, she passed away. And he goes, how nice. And I’m like, really? Goodbye, Catholic Church. And then I did [00:11:00] spiritual work on my own.

[00:11:01] I’m happy. I have people in my life that spiritual. And I did all that work. And then one day I’m sitting on a bus down here coming home and God puts on my heart, Okay, you’ve done enough. spiritual work with your bishop who baptized me in the inclusive Celtic church, which, is Episcopalian based.

[00:11:29] We use a lot of the Episcopalian literature in that church. And then God said to me, to not be afraid of any church. You need to go find a church. And I’m like, okay, God. You sent me on this wild goose chase of moving me down to Phoenix, Arizona, in a pandemic, thank you very much.

[00:11:54] And then, because I only moved down here. March of [00:12:00] 22. And so I’m like, You moved me down to Phoenix, Arizona, in a pandemic, to an amazing housing opportunity. And then, now you want me to go find a church? Because I was still a member of the Inclusive Celtic Church. And still am, but using Episcopalian, basis.

[00:12:28] To this day. And so I tried to go to a church that I don’t know if your listeners are familiar with, MCC. Okay. It’s a church meant for the gays and it’s a non denominational church. Well, I went there twice and it didn’t work out for me. It was falling apart even when I got there. So, and it was housed in a [00:13:00] Lutheran, church. The Lutherans are very nice to the gays, that’s why they, decided to let MCC in the North.

[00:13:08] But the reason why I decided not to go there is because it wasn’t safe physically for me to be in downtown Phoenix on Camelback Road. For those of you who live in Phoenix, you know, in the vicinity of where I’m talking about, Camelback Road is sketchy. And so I decided Okay, enough of MCC.

[00:13:38] Let’s, go find another church. So what did I do? I went to Google Maps and typed in Episcopalian Churches. Because way back when, after my mom died, the Episcopalians took me in under their arms and treated me much better than the Catholic Church. I [00:14:00] wasn’t Episcopalian enough by any means, but I thought, okay, let’s try the Episcopalian church.

[00:14:09] So I googled Episcopalian churches, of course, when you type in Google Maps, Episcopalian churches in Phoenix, Arizona, a million pop up. So I decided to search on a website, found their email address, emailed one of the deacons up at St. Barnabas on the Desert Church in Scottsdale.

[00:14:35] Turns out they accepted me. I kept showing up, finally, to the point of, I want to get confirmed as an Episcopalian. And so, the day the bishop showed up, I wound up getting confirmed. The first adult Sunday school that I went to was my [00:15:00] first day in that church. One of the deacons said, Do you want to come to Adult Sunday School, even though you’re a guest of St.

[00:15:09] Barnabas? I said, sure. I’m just fascinated that I’ve now found a church, and I’m just excited. I love this church, and I love the Episcopalians. and for those that don’t know, Episcopal is very similar to a Catholic mass so I felt comfortable in the Episcopal Church and then it went up being that the class that I was now involved myself into, was the Episcopal way.

[00:15:46] Therefore, it, helped with, So, I did not know this. They didn’t tell me that. So, when I was ready to get confirmed, one of the priests asked me, [00:16:00] Oh, did you take the Episcopal way? Classes. And I said, yeah, I did, but it was kind of by accident. And so he goes, great, we’ll, now confirm you.

[00:16:13] And instead of being baptized in the Episcopal Church, they asked me, do you want to baptize Catholic Church? And I said, yes, I do. And so they said, great, we’ll confirm you. All right. So, you are going there now and being involved in a church there. And, uh, I heard, you got kicked out of Sunday school once.

[00:16:41] We have to hear that story. Noise, the amount of beeping noise this chair makes, I’m surprised I haven’t gotten kicked out of anywhere. I have to be careful because this chair makes a tremendously [00:17:00] loud beeping noise and for those of you who don’t know, due to my cerebral palsy, I’m in a power chair now and the power chair was only gifted.

[00:17:10] to be in March of 2022 along with the handicapped and accessible there. But my power chair makes an incredible amount of noise when I back up. So I, I’m not surprised that I haven’t been kicked out of church. They pretty much know that I’m in the room because of my chair. Most people think my chair is a fire alarm.

[00:17:37] So they all look at me like. What is that? And we have to explain. People around me, especially at church, have to explain. It’s, it’s a wheel chair. Don’t worry about that. The fire alarm isn’t going off, but the, it’s so funny you say that, because the amount of noise I’ve made with this [00:18:00] chair in church and in quiet places, I’m sorry, I haven’t been kicked out.

[00:18:05] Oh man. Well, let’s chat about, what you’re, doing with the, disability community and, oh, maybe there are some language that we should use talking about this community, or maybe some words we shouldn’t use.

[00:18:20] I would say always, always, always, always, always, always, always talk to the disabled person.

[00:18:29] Do not talk to the caregiver no matter what. And, people with disabilities have their own way of communicating and they are just humans. And do not use the L Word. Like we used in the olden days. Because we don’t use that terminology anymore, and persons with a disability, not disabled persons.

[00:18:56] Yes, I thought with that, I used [00:19:00] disabled people all the time. But the proper term is people with disabilities. Oh, good. So, yeah. So would you use the words, differently abled? I’ve heard that as well. Yes, but that is a controversy in itself. Oh, okay. Differently abled. Some people will talk about their disabilities, like an open book, others will be shy and not talk about them at all.

[00:19:32] People don’t like the term differently abled, and they especially don’t like the term, oh, you’re an inspiration, oh, you’re an inspiration. Because We put our pants on the same way you do, people. It makes me numb and drives me nuts when people say, Oh, Win, you’re inspirational.

[00:19:54] Because we’re just living life the same way you are. Yeah, well, we [00:20:00] like to complain about our own lives a lot. I like to complain about my trials or my difficulties. And then I see somebody that, um, you know, can’t take a bath or a shower by themselves or feed themselves or walk.

[00:20:14] Or run and that puts it in perspective for me that I should be thankful that I can do certain things and I should quit whining about, uh, about my problems, you know. I think, that’s What I think people mean when they say you’re an inspiration is that you don’t let those things stop you.

[00:20:33] You keep going regardless of what challenges you have. Well, also I have worked on my own mental health. I see a therapist twice a month and I go to a sport group every weekend. It’s more than that. It’s codependence anonymous. I go to that.

[00:20:54] And so I have also worked on my mental health to, to make my fuse [00:21:00] even a little bit longer than, anyone else. And so I think that the pandemic changed a lot of people, and I think that we all should start working on our mental health. Yeah, I agree with that a hundred percent. So the fun thing I saw on your website is that you help, people with disabilities to do fun stuff like skiing.

[00:21:28] Talk more about that. I used to, no, because there’s no snow down in Phoenix . I was one of the members of a very well known ski program in Aspen, five minutes away from my house, called Challenge Aspen. And so I was out there every single weekend, or as much as I could.

[00:21:55] Aspen is a very We are a fit community, [00:22:00] we love all outdoors, we love all outdoor sports, so me, I was keeping up with the adults. I learned how to ski when I was three years old, and so people would follow in my footsteps about learning how to ski I had a lot of fun doing it, except I gave all that up to move.

[00:22:23] Hmm, well we do have Flagstaff. It gets lots of snow, so maybe you could start something up there. I’m trying to get up there. I’m trying to get up there, but haven’t made it up there yet. So, let’s see, what haven’t we talked about? Oh, you have a podcast and you’ve written some books, right? 11 books, working on my 12th, my 13th, my 14th book.

[00:22:53] My 12th book is going to go to editing soon. My 12th book is [00:23:00] all, all that needs to go. It just needs to be edited and published. And then, working on my 13th and 14th book. And my 13th book is a novel. My 14th book is a secret book that I can’t tell you. tell that, talks about something that I’ve been wanting to talk about since my mom died.

[00:23:23] And no, it’s not my abuse story or, so that will be coming out as soon as I get the courage to put it down on paper. I’ve talked about it and that’s on my podcast and other people’s podcasts. I think it’s about time to put it down on the paper, but, we have to make sure that everything is

[00:23:45] going on all kinds of crap on that. But we, I am working on my 13th book and my 14th book and then my 12th book, my [00:24:00] 13th book, and my 14th book. So I have a lot of projects going on. I have a full time content creator, I manage everything that has to do with me. I manage my own doctor’s appointments. People keep telling me to write a book and I just, I just don’t have time. I don’t have time to write a book, but I do the podcast. What are some resources that you could possibly recommend? I know being new to Phoenix, maybe you don’t know as many here, but some great resources, if maybe some of the listeners themselves have a disability or maybe one of their loved ones has a disability, how can we help?

[00:24:44] First of all, I would recommend, Independent Living Skills Ability 360. And what Ability 360 is, is an independent living center. They have, independent [00:25:00] living centers all across the 50 states. So you just have to type in independent living center, wherever you live.

[00:25:09] And they even have one in Colorado. I didn’t even know about it. When I was out there, but, it is what it is, but Ability360 is all down here in Phoenix. And so I would recommend that. I would also recommend. You find your supports. I know it’s difficult, and this is the other thing I wanted to talk to you about.

[00:25:35] It’s difficult as a disabled adult to find supports. And it’s difficult as a disabled adult to find doctors that understand your disability too.

[00:25:48] So, Just be aware, you might have to look under every block to find your supports. Find those supports. That’s why I’m saying, [00:26:00] don’t necessarily sit at home. And Most big cities either have some ways or they have some sort of public transportation, which I use all the time. So, we have the bus system down here. We have Phoenix Dial A Ride, we have Valley Metro Paratransit, which I use all the time.

[00:26:27] I’m really at my home because of those. Even though I may live in a community built for the disabled, I am independent enough where I can leave. I’m straight and smart enough where I can go out by myself. And I didn’t have those resources at last, but I was housebound due to the weather and due to other circumstances.

[00:26:55] And now that I’m blessed with some amazing medical care, [00:27:00] including the Mayo Clinic. Thank you very much. People fly in from all over the country to go to Mayo Clinic, and we are so lucky to have one close to my house.

[00:27:15] I drive by it every day, or maybe twice a day if I’m lucky. But, all in all, look for your resources. Another, um, resource that I would recommend nationally, and I have one, and I To give a huge shout out to medical liaisons. Mine is under senior care management, her name is Melissa Johnson and her specialty is dealing with dementia and dealing with the elderly population, and she does work with the disabled.

[00:27:55] That’s why I got in with her. But having a medical [00:28:00] liaison if you can afford it, mind you, is huge because They may go to those doctor’s appointments with you, and they say in general, bring someone to those doctor’s appointments. I mean, not just a family friend. Bring someone who’s skilled.

[00:28:22] I happen to have someone that’s skilled. Of course I pay, but I happen to have someone who’s skilled, but also the family number could be a medical liaison, too. And, the other thing I also want to tell you listeners, is if you have a disabled loved one, get a trust fund.

[00:28:47] And get all your paperwork together. I don’t care about the trust fund. I care about all the paperwork together of what to do [00:29:00] after you die. Because that’s what I do. The whole mess I landed up in before moving down there. My dad died in the middle of my paperwork. He died. He didn’t even have a will.

[00:29:14] He didn’t even have anything. My stuff wasn’t set up because he died. Thank God people came in and rescued it. But get your paperwork together before Especially if you’re caring for a loved one. Geez. I don’t know how many times people will say to me, Oh, I’ve now adopted my disabled sister and don’t have any way to take care of her, so I might as well put her in a group home.

[00:29:47] Oh yeah, and my family tried to put me in a group home. That wasn’t a good one. I vetoed that one, and they just wanted complete control of me. And so that’s [00:30:00] why I’m saying get your paperwork together before your loved one who’s taking care of the disabled person. I don’t care if it’s Your 90 year old grandma that you’re taking care of, and you have the legal guardianship of a 90 year old grandma, and you all of a sudden become ill.

[00:30:24] What are they supposed to do? Right. Yeah. I would recommend that advice, even if you don’t have anybody in your family with a disability. You don’t know when it’s time for you to go and people die very suddenly. Yeah. If you don’t have your paperwork, your wills, your, healthcare directive, just basic, basic financial stuff, passwords, life insurance.

[00:30:50] It, it makes a death oh, much, much, much worse, as you eloquently stated to us today. Oh yeah. [00:31:00] Yeah. And it especially makes a death much worse if you’re taking care of a disabled person like my dad was, and taking care of me. And it doesn’t help when the hospitals look at you and say, do you have a

[00:31:19] living will? And then you say, no, trust me, I finally got my paperwork visit before my back surgery. Yes. I finally got a way down here to do it for me, and so it’s. Interesting because I was telling people that but I didn’t have it until I finally realized, oh yeah, you need it when you’re going to your third back surgery and don’t know what’s going to happen.

[00:31:49] And so I finally got all that together and I’m happy that I did. But basically what I’m saying is, you need to get all your paperwork. [00:32:00] It’s a lot easier when People just have to pull out a binder and say this is what the person wants instead of piecemealing it all together. Oh yeah, yeah. That’s, that’s terrific advice.

[00:32:16] I know we were all over the place today and we talked about a lot of stuff, but, was there anything that we left out that we didn’t talk about that you wanted to tell the audience today? My podcast could be found on every player that you listen to Diana’s podcast. And please, um, Please, please, I keep forgetting to say it, on every podcast that I’m on, please leave reviews for both Diana’s podcast and mine.

[00:32:48] Thank you, because all that does is help the algorithms and gets more downloads, more people to see it. The more love you give podcasts, [00:33:00] and the more love you give YouTube videos, it just helps the algorithms.

[00:33:04] It feeds the Apple podcast monsters and the YouTube monsters and all that. And what’s, your website for getting ahold of you. CEO of a disability at Weebly. com, but if people just Google my name, they can find it. And if they look up my books on Amazon, starting with I comma W I N That’s the original one that kicked this all off, and I did that because of my mommy.

[00:33:38] So, I think my mom started all this. Because I wanted to go back to journaling school to get the word out there. I also wanted to write a book. And so, yeah, my mom started something that will continue to be a rolling snowball. And [00:34:00] so, I appreciate all the support. And I appreciate you, Diana, having me on.

[00:34:06] I wish you the best of luck with your continuing journey. Aw, thanks so much, Win. I really enjoyed, meeting you today and hearing your story. And we’re definitely gonna meet up and do coffee here sometime, okay? We’ve got to keep in touch. Sometimes you have to take it offline. Sometimes you just have to meet me in person. And I’m sure to find those

[00:34:37] content creators in Phoenix, people. Has been a wild and interesting journey.

[00:34:44] Well, God bless you.

[00:34:47] Thank you for listening to the Wounds of the Faithful podcast. If this episode has been helpful to you, please hit the subscribe button and tell a friend. You can connect with us at [00:35:00] DSW Ministries. org where you’ll find our blog along with our Facebook, Twitter, and our YouTube channel links. Hope to see you next week!