Thursday, April 25, 2013

In Memory of Lynn Wasnak

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

In Memory of Lynn Wasnak
(AKA: Lynn Iverne Koehler - Wasnak)

1945 - May 14, 2013

Lynn Wasnak (AKA: Lynn W.) has been a pioneer in self-help / anti-rape movement since 1989.  After a group called Speaking For Ourselves closed (which was the first newsletter for individuals with dissociative disorders) –– Lynn Wasnak picked up where they left off and she founded  the organization "Many Voices", which offers a bi-monthly newsletter, information and resources for survivors with dissociative disorders.

Lynn was a phenomenal writer and author of several books on dissociation.  Her books include "Mending Ourselves: expressions of healing & self-integration" and "Multiple Personality Disorder from the Inside Out".  

Lynn has been a loved and cherished friend to many for over a quarter of a century.


“Lynn Wasnak died May 14, 2013 in her home in Cincinnati.” Lynn would have approved of that factual lead, believing it was better to come out and write what you mean rather than dance around a subject or doll it up. The problem is, that those who are her friends know that Lynn left a legacy that is truly alive, and will be as long as those who need her wisdom and help choose it to be, as long as there is a community of survivors willing to share.

The last few decades of Lynn’s life were focused on the organization for which she became executive director (and every other title at Many Voices Press). Certainly she continued her successful freelance writing career, but even the money earned from that went to subsidize her advocacy for those who suffer from abuse and trauma. At one point she decided to master the complicated world of nonprofits, and struggled to keep the organization financially afloat by using her own funds and those of special friends. A post office box full of reader submissions, and email overflowing with expressions of thanks and a need for information kept her going because it was confirmation that her efforts were needed.

Later, when Lynn was stunned to discover she had stage four breast cancer, she fought harder and more self-sacrificingly than anyone should be asked to do. But, she did so because Lynn really was the embodiment of “many voices.” When a friend commented that she couldn’t understand why Lynn fought so hard to live when she was suffering so much, daughter Diane had the answer: “She was unselfish.” 

Lynn was a voice for living life with passion. She was a voice for the oppressed and suffering. She was an advocate for Alzheimer’s research after losing both her mother and sister to the disease. (Following her mother’s death, Diane was determined to navigate a complicated research donor process to honor Lynn’s desire to have her brain donated to Alzheimer’s research.)

While she was in the throes of a particularly difficult physical and mental period, Lynn amazed everyone by taking on the cause of a senior center that was closing in her area. (This was an organization she had no connection with previously.) She was tireless in her giving.

Lynn’s voices – all of them— resonated with both brilliance and passion. She tackled each challenge armed with reams of research and documentation. What must her oncologist have thought when she would arrive at each appointment armed with the latest studies and knowledge of all the intricacies of what she was experiencing! 

Now Lynn’s voice has been silenced by a body that simply could not keep up with her mind and her epic efforts. That is where the rest of the world must take up the songs she sung so eloquently and the debates she fought so well. While there will be no more newsletters, books or postings from this prolific writer, the issue of dissociative disorders and abuse remains. The suffering remains. Lynn was a conduit for disseminating information from those who survived abuse. It was her wish that someone would continue that role; but even without it, each and every one of those she touched can keep Lynn’s voice for healing alive. will remain online. We hope you will write and create and share through this and the Many Voices Press Facebook page. The greatest gift to Lynn would be to know that she created a community that is united and able to sustain itself. 

Even if you are not comfortable posting anything, please visit these pages periodically to read messages from others and to see if Many Voices Press has found a new conduit leader. It’s the most meaningful way to honor the voice she used for so many so passionately. 

A special note: Lynn died without a will, believing her body would be disposed of after her brain was removed. Unfortunately, the way things work is that the body of the deceased research victim is returned to the family. Diane, who is struggling with the loss of her mother and financial shortages herself, asks anyone who would like to contribute to these arrangements to please send a check to her at Many Voices Press, Many Voices, PO Box 2639, Cincinnati Oh 45201


Unknown said...

Lynn W - you meant so very much to me. We will miss you tons, though the work you started will live on forever through every survivor that you have touched. We honor your life.

Condolences to the family.

Felicity Lee

LadyJtalks said...

A beautiful person who will be missed by many.

Anonymous said...

You are dearly missed. Rest in Peace.

Anonymous said...

May light and healing surround your loved ones. I truly believe that you are on the highest level in heaven. Thank you for so many years of being all voices for so many of us just like you. You are truly missed.

Anonymous said...

Shine on you crazy beloved diamond.