I See You


Liz Ianelli

I met her online, but I feel like I have known her forever. We have conversations like sisters, laughing and saying whatever we want.  We understand each other’s brash language and sarcastic thinking.  I feel so happy to have this connection.  Child abuse survivors understand other child abuse survivors.  We have our own way of conversing.  We joke about off color things. We find the macabre fascinating and nerd out on unexpected subjects.

Liz Ianelli was sent away as a teenager.  For 993 days she suffered.  Now, she rises out of the ashes to speak for those who cannot.  Liz sat down with me and shared her story on my radio show, Survivor Voices Show.

Click below to listen:

Liz’s story and incredible artwork was recently featured in ICSA Today’s 2017 Fall Quarterly Journal. After over 80 deaths of her fellow survivors, many of them suicides, Liz decided to begin the #ISeeYou campaign to inspire others and let them know they are not alone in their struggle. She rallied up her fellow survivors to make videos sharing their stories and what we deal with on a day to day basis as a result of being abused. Soon, survivors were sharing their stories. Liz hopes to continue rallying survivors, asking them to make videos as they feel comfortable.

Vennie Kocsis is the best-selling author of Cult Child and the hostess of Survivor Voices Show and her live Sunday broadcast Off the Cuff. She is an advocate, poet and artist.


After cult life I
Know what it’s like
Run across the road
In the dark night
Steal vegetables
From the neighboring farm

And it harm none
Mama formed the mission
Holding her Bible
A glory soaked misfit

Cold seeped doorways
On an old trailer
In lot Number seven
Piling up blankets
Summers fanning heat

There was no heaven
In our empty stomachs
Or a cruel mother who
Stood us in the welfare line

She was too ashamed
To carry the box
With the cheese blocks

Public Humiliation
Public Assistance
Poverty Resistance

There was no difference
Between dark and light skin
Not in the dusty neighborhood
I was a teenager in

We all knew the same sadness
The lonely, nights
Listening to the drunken fights
Echoing from Lot number six

The one road that divided us
We crossed it anyways
No moat could kill connection
Of like mind interaction

With them I found soul
First bi-level hair cut
I learned the shuffle
The southern hustle

Our skin color
Had no relevance
To each other
Because we had in common
The struggle of poverty

“What would you buy
If you won the lottery?”

“Back to life
Back to reality”

I didn’t know
What that meant to me


I was just surviving

And memories of the after life
When things should’ve been better
Are sometimes harder
To remember because they’re


And my keys are more tired
Than my fingers
But the lingering remnants
Drop from their tips
As I tell the rest of it

There are stories
Filling seasons and I
Feel their festering
Where once I had to dive
Now they willingly rise

Exploding, bursting to tell
How one little girl
escaped human hell

Where comfort
Should have rang
I clanked my
Poverty bell

vennie kocsis