Lauren's Kids

To prevent sexual abuse through awareness, education, and to help survivors heal with guidance and support

"I'm proud of her willingness to share her story and not allow shame and embarrassment to be something that keeps her from helping to protect others and make a difference."

Ron Book, President of Lauren's Kids and father of survivor, Lauren Book

Survival Stories

Savannah, Georgia

My name is irrelevant but my story is very real. I may not have suffered what is considered to be severe sexual abuse but I was impacted greatly by what happened to me. When I was eight I spent the night at my older friend’s house and she kept wanting to play games that felt wrong but nothing explicitly sexual ever happened. This continued for about a year as I would spend the night at her house every two weeks. One night she said to me, “I have a great game, it’s like playing house but it’s for older kids”. She proceeded to describe to me what was in her terms “an opposite world” in which we were husband and wife. As the wife I had to do things like kiss her. This made me very uncomfortable so she said that if I didn’t kiss her that she’d have to kiss me and she did. After this incident she coaxed me into getting into her bed with her and from this point I am uncomfortable discussing specific actions but it was my first exposure to any form of sexual activity. I was terrified and did not know what to think because I suddenly felt aroused by some of her actions but I also felt entirely guilty for participating. From then on I felt like I was disgusting and vile and that no one could love someone who allowed their self to tricked into such acts. I felt so guilty for the actions and the fact that they felt good to me but I knew they were wrong. I knew that love was not taking advantage of someone’s innocence and naivety but I felt that it was my fault for being so innocent and naive at the time. When I was eleven I began self harming because I felt so displeased with who I was and what “I had done”. This lasted until I was fifteen and I broke down. I was helped through a Christian counselor and my mother who experienced sexual abuse as a child also. I realized that I could not have carried on telling myself that this situation was my fault and I now know that it was not my fault and I forgive the person that I used to consider a friend. I also realized through a conversation that I had with her that she is a victim also, she only did this to me because it had been done to her by another “friend” when she was younger. I am not saying that it was not her choice to do this but I know that she experienced it also and it negatively impacted her. Today I am extremely confident in who I am and I know that no matter what happened in my past, people can not judge me for being a victim and they will not judge you. For those who are afraid to tell about their abuse, you will never heal until you are free from the burden of holding your “secret”. IT WAS NOT AND NEVER WILL BE YOUR FAULT THAT YOU WERE ABUSED! No one who truly values you will judge you for being a victim. There are places that you can receive help from, please take advantage of them.

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Middleburg, Florida

My story is not much different from thousands of children across our country. My story is not as horrifying as many, but to a child it was different and horrifying. My parents were alcoholics and well respected in the area we lived and attended school. However they would begin drinking every afternoon. The slightest thing would set off a tirade or swearing and verbal abuse that would usually escalate into hitting, kicking, smacking across the head. At one point my brother and father went after each other with a bat and shovel in the garage. My brother learned to fight back, I learned to hide or run away. During my junior year of high school, I was drugged and gang raped. They then doused me in vodka and dumped me on my front lawn. When my parents found me, they began screaming at me and made me drink vodka – never realizing what had been done. I had been raped with a broken bottle, people had written cruel things on my body and they taped the entire scene. My parents called the police out to tell me what happens to “bad girls” and grounded me. I never received medical help. When I went back to school the teacher played the audio tape in class and humiliated me – this at a Catholic school. No one would listen to me. Over the next year, I became shunned from my peers as my parents pushed me to date an older man. I was 17 and he was 22. My mother forced me to compete in beauty pageants and the “boyfriend” attempted to force me to give him oral sex. Again – no one listened. I moved out of the house the day I could leaving my brother behind. By that time he had turned to a life of petty crime. For years I suffered traumatic nightmares and had trouble getting close to people. I understand now my parents were to drunk to ever realize what they were doing. Does it excuse them? No. But I understand. Drugs do not help people make good decisions. Over the years I have been depressed, scared, and it wasn’t until my husband showed such kindness and patience that I began to feel safe again. He made the difference and made the effort to protect me and let me know he always would. Yes I survived, I am partially healed and I have granted forgiveness. Now I want to make a difference for someone else. To offer them an ear, shoulder to cry on and a feeling of safety. I now have two beautiful amazing sons and a loving husband – I survived and I know others can to.

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Atlanta, GA

My story isn’t as extreme or severe as others, but it still messed me up.
When I was 6 I was going through a tough time in my life. My parents split, my dad was re-marrying, and my mom got on drugs. My mom didn’t care about my brother or sister or I at all for weeks at a time. All this led to was my grandfather and cousin stay at my house. My cousin is two years older than me and lost her father in a shooting, her mother to drugs (she’s still alive to this day), and was abused sexually by her step-brother.
My cousin would all ways go into my room and close the door when my siblings and I were in there, we would be playing innocently when she would want to play another game. It involved me or my sister getting on top of her while she masturbates and have us kiss her. It was the only attention we ever got from anyone.
This lasted for a few years. She would tell us to keep it a secret. I was in the 2nd grade so I didn’t know and I lived in a small town that never experienced or talked about anything like this.
My sister and I went on to explore and experiment with others. I liked the feeling I got, which made me feel very sick and guilty (later on I discovered that I am bisexual). I wanted to tell my mom and when I did, my cousin and her mom and my mom all called me a liar and told me it wasn’t true. I just told them I lied to get them off my back. Why would they Believe me? I was 8 years old and both adults were addicted to drugs.
My dad didn’t know about it and I thought at times that he didn’t want to see me or talk to me. Later on I found out that my mom was brainwashing me into believing my dad was a horrible person, when in reality she is the horrible person. My dad was trying to get custody of me and my mom wanted me to stay with her, even though this abuse was going on behind her back. I didn’t want to stay.
When I finally came to my dad’s house I pretended like I forgot everything, and I did, for a while. In the 6th grade I started acting up, it continued to the 7th grade, and then to the 8th grade. I was cutting myself, being disrespectful, and hiding my feelings and not talking. My parents took me to many psychiatrists and psychologists, but I lied and never opened up.
It finally clicked within me to seek help recently. I am talking to my school counselor about my cutting and I am going to tell her about my abuse.
I am a SURVIVOR and you CAN do it TOO!!!

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Miami Shores

Between the ages of 10 and 11 when I lived in Peru I was raped by an older neighbor repeatedly for about a year… I never told anyone ever and pretended it didn’t happen. I pretended it never happened for so long… I guess I felt guilt and shame and I thought I should have known better…. When I was in rehab as an adult for drugs and alcohol, I connected with this nice therapist and it’ all came after about 40 years… It was the most painful thing I have ever experienced… And it’s still kind of tough now that I am sober for three years… I am still seeing my therapist but I haven’t finished. Something that she asked me to do was to write a letter forgiving the little child in me because it wasn’t my fault. And my rapist …forgiving him also… She says that will set me free forever… But I am very slow. And I am living my sober life day by day, and I can’t seem to sit down and go through that but I know I have to do it….. So my older sister, who was shocked when I told her what happened in my childhood has been helping me out a lot and because of her, I’m writing my story to you now.. She got some bracelets from you and I am wearing one… I am still having a hard time talking to other victims about it…

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Orlando, FL

My story started when I was 13 years old. The first time drugs were involved in the act. The act continued, he impregnated me. I had an abortion at the age of 14. I told my mother but she could not believe me because of her own issues; at the time, I did not know about her issues. He would make me say that I was nothing but a whore and that’s all that I would ever be. My oldest son is his biological son through rape. Because of my own mental issues resulting from the abuse my life was filled with drugs and self abuse. I did not get the courage to stop him until the age of 32. I gave my life to the Lord and have been on a healing journey ever since. I have since gone back to school and got my high School Diploma, a license in Cosmetology and I am currently in college pursuing a bachelor Psychology with a Minor in Human Services. I would like to volunteer with your Organization to give back to children and adults who have struggled with the effects of incest and abuse.

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IL

Mine will be very short. I’ve never told anybody. I’m 19 years old. When I was 7 years old on my way home from school, a stranger grabbed me and pulled me into the woods. I was terrified. I remember pretty much everything. He threw me on the ground and started to rip my clothes off. I was crying and screaming, trying to get away. After he pulled my panties down, he got on top of me and raped me. I didn’t even know who he was, which I think is the worst.

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Chicago, IL

My experience was mild compared to most cases of molestation, but it was still extremely traumatic for me.

I am a middle child, with 3 siblings. I came from a very normal, happy family. But when I was around 12, my parents were experiencing some marriage problems, and my oldest sister was in the midst of a rebellious streak. This made for a very tense, seemingly unstable environment for me. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was feeling extremely vulnerable, insecure, and fragile. Luckily my parents worked through their problems, but this period set the stage for what was to come soon after. At 14, I was a late bloomer for my age. I had no experience with boys, I was skinny and awkward, wore braces – I was very shy, insecure, and uncomfortable with my appearance.

I went on a church retreat where there was a 37-year old male volunteer. Everyone adored this person. He was the life of the party, charismatic, charming, friendly, made everyone feel special and like his equal. I thought he was so cool. My family was already friendly with him because my oldest sister had known him when she had to attend similar outings.

It all played out very slowly over many months. First he would start giving me more attention than the other kids and made me feel special. Then he would start to give me small gifts. It became normal for him to pick me up in his car and drive me to and from these events. Then he would start to hold my hand whenever no one was looking. There was a part of my head that thought it didn’t seem right, but all of this was so slow, and it was like I was brainwashed by that point and assumed it was safe because I trusted him, he was an adult, and he wouldn’t do this if it was wrong. He would start telling me personal things about his life, including his marriage problems. Then he would tell me he loved me. As a people pleaser, I felt like I should say it back so I wouldn’t offend him. It was so confusing. There was a song lyric about someone “going down” on someone, and he told me his daughter had asked him what that meant so he explained it to her, and asked me if I knew what it meant. I remember being scared and so embarrassed by that – why would he ask me that!?! But I was so deep in this twisted mess by that point that I let it slide. The first time he ever kissed me, we were at a church gathering. I remember it vividly. In a fraction of a second, I physically jumped back a tiny bit because I was so shocked by it, but then immediately smiled because my people-pleasing-personality kicked in and I didn’t want to hurt his feelings. His kisses were always pecks on the lips – never deeper – which added to my confusion. “Was this wrong? The kisses are fairly innocent. Am I reading into this?” He would start to write me letters telling me he loved me. I always wrote him back. He would always say “Give me a kiss,” and I obeyed. He would tell me it was okay to touch him, to rub his back. Again, nothing extreme. My mom was getting suspicious and was asking me a lot of questions – “Are you in love with him?” “Has he ever touched you?” I was mortified. Her questioning made me feel guilty of something. I couldn’t explain to myself what was going on – how could I explain it to her? I was beyond confused. I was lost. I lied to her. “We’re just friends!” and “This is how he is with everybody!” I lied because I HAD TO PROTECT MYSELF. I was SO scared, and so alone. I didn’t know what was happening. It felt like I was playing a part in some sick play.

The way it ended was kind of miraculous, and hard to explain. One day, I just woke up. I snapped out of it. I was horrified. WHAT IS HAPPENING? It had to stop immediately. I was disgusted and HATED him. I felt so dirty, broken, ruined. I was SO afraid. NO ONE COULD KNOW. I cut him off. He would continue stopping by our house, calling – and I would hide. I would beg my parents to lie and say I wasn’t here, and hide in my room. Of course that was a red flag to my parents, and they continued to ask what was going on, and I continued to lie. I needed to block and bury this. I was in survival mode – I HAD to lie. I didn’t want to see him, hear about him, think about him. In my head I decided it was over, and I needed to get on with my life. If anyone knew I was done… if my parents, siblings, or the kids at school found out, no one would ever look at me the same way again. I had SO MUCH SHAME.

Over the years, any time his name or a reference to that time would come up, I put on my poker face and tried to change the subject as soon as possible. But inside, it was like I had been stabbed in the heart. I was both numb and burning up. It made me sick to think about. But as long as he didn’t come up, I was fine. I went on living a great, normal life. I did fine in school, I had boyfriends, had a career, got married, and now have kids. No one knew the whole story.

I am 32 now. A few weeks ago, my husband convinced me to go to therapy for my insect phobia (something else that’s been a part of my life), and our new insurance covered it, so I went. At the end of the first session, my therapist told me that the most common cause for phobias is trauma. At the start of session two, I told her everything. It was SO scary to say everything out loud. I felt 14-15 again. I was terrified that even she would think I was gross, messed up. It was SO hard to get it out, but I’m so glad I did.

But I couldn’t stop with her. The flood gates were open, and I had to tell my family. One by one, I told every member of my family (including my husband, who only knew an abridged version of the story). Telling my parents was by far the hardest. I felt like I was having panic attacks before deciding to tell them. I couldn’t sleep, couldn’t eat, my heart was racing. But for nearly 18 years, I was running and hiding from this, and I couldn’t run anymore. I couldn’t let his name, or the possibility of a conversation about it happening, destroy me anymore. I’ve been SO afraid for so long. And therapy has helped me make some connections with other areas in my life that I’ve had struggles with. I’ve lived a great life (as long as we didn’t speak about it), but I’m also a hard-core perfectionist who beats myself up if things aren’t to my sometimes-impossible standards, I’m a control freak, and I have a lot of anxiety related to needing that control. And regarding my insect phobia, my therapist thinks it is related to this because we went camping on many of our church outings.

So, at 32, I’m finally starting to address these issues. I consider myself lucky that this didn’t affect any more of my life. I still question whether I have the “right” to call what happened to me molestation, since it could have been so much worse. But this was earth-shattering to me as a fragile 14/15 year old. I have a scar. I am a survivor. And it’s not a secret any more.

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FL

I was 5 when I first was encountered by my uncle. He would come home from school, lie in bed, watch the news and “snuggle me” under the covers. When he would snuggle me, he would press his private parts against me and would keep watching TV. After a few months of this, it escalated to him pulling down my pants in his room, under the covers of his bed, and anally raping me for what seemed to be long excruciating hours, but most likely were just minutes. However, before this he would ask me to give him oral sex and tailored it to a 5 year old level of understanding by saying, “Lick it like an ice cream, go ahead, it’ll be fun!” When the deed was done, he would pull me up by my collar on the bed and make me look at the Virgin Mary painting over his bed and beg for forgiveness for what I did. He then told me that if my father found out about our game that I would end up like one of those homeless orphans who beg for food in the streets of South America. This occurred for years and I lived in a constant state of fear and guilt. I remember my mother briefly telling me about “good vs. bad” touches and how I could always tell her anything growing up, but I still was held with severe guilt and confusion with my uncle’s threats. After a while, I remembered enjoying him touch me and kiss me everyday and that became my biggest source of guilt, shame, and disgust with myself.

It wasn’t until I was around 8 years old that my mother discovered blood in my underwear. She took me to the doctor, he evaluated me briefly, and told me that I had started my period. After several tests, they discovered I was anemic, but I remember that the bleeding was from anal tearing as well. No one took notice and I was relieved at this because I wouldn’t have to face my reality. It wasn’t until I was 14 years old that I had disclosed my story to my mother, a victim of sexual abuse herself. We were reading a newspaper together and a story about a girl who was raped by her family members was in the news. I quickly glanced at the story and then at my mother and said, “You mean what they did to her wasn’t her fault and was theirs?” My mother broke down once she found out my story.

After years of pain, confusion, healing and lastly, acceptance, I finally was able to forgive my uncle. I am currently a psychology doctoral student 2 years away from being hooded and have recently researched Pedophilia and it’s effects and etiology. This is a severe disorder that appears to be cyclical in men, them being victims of abuse themselves. Being able to intellectualize pedophilia helped me through my healing process to discover that even that their brain anatomy and composition is different. Although this does not justify his choice to abuse, it did allow me to understand it better. I now have made it my life work to treat children suffering from the aftermath of their abuse and find it the most rewarding career and passion and am currently writing a manual for the parents with children with Autism on the prevention of sexual abuse. We forget how resilient our children are, and with the proper support system and interventions, healing is possible.

For those of you still suffering or left feeling confused or helpless, reach out to anyone you can trust. Even if your parents are the perpetrators TELL A TEACHER, school official, police officer, or other adult. It is imperative that you find that strength within you to fight against the injustices that have been done to you. I never got justice for the crime my uncle committed because it was in a foreign country and there was little physical evidence after so many years, but don’t let that deter you. You are more powerful than you think. Never lose sight of the light within you, no matter who or what attempts to put it out.

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Vero Beach, FL

My story began at a very young age. First it started with my uncle. He would get my cousin to try to get to me. My cousin was a year older than me, and we were only children. He said if I didn’t do what he said, then they would cut the couch and tell my mom I did it. My uncle wanted me to touch him while my cousin watched. Later, as time went on, my cousin raped my little sister. She was just a small child, maybe 2 or 3.

My Uncle beat me once because I was cold. We were at a lake and I couldn’t talk. I was scared of him. He took the rope off the intertube at the lake and whipped me across my back with it.

Later, my mom met my stepfather and married him. I was 5 years old when the abuse started. I was scared of him also. He would make me sit on the couch and read to him. If I messed up, he would make me stand in the corner and take off my underwear. I was 6 years old, and I felt naked. My mom didn’t stop him. She was never home when he molested me. He gave me my first hickey when I was 8 years old. He would say things like, “If you tell your mom, I will kill her.” He would make me touch him and it made me sick. I had nightmares. I told my mom when I was 8 and she confronted him. He called me a liar and beat me with his belt. I was finally 12 when he confessed. My mom sent me away for the summer, but eventually went back to him. He never again touched me, but I never forgot. The memories are forever in my mind. Lauren, you came to my job (I work in Vero). I was working so I never got to hear your speech. Nobody knows what this did to my life. Bad marriages, bad choices, and bad men. Finally, after a lot of abuse (to me and my children), I am a strong woman who works hard and devotes all of my time to my children, grandchildren and photography. Thank you Lauren for being there for kids like me, and yourself. I shed tears at the age of 50. The memories are just as painful. I lost more than my childhood. The ability to be a real woman was destroyed. I could say more, but I’ll end on a good note: thank you from the bottom of my heart.

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Arizona

April 4, 2013

It all happened when i was about 6-7 yrs old it was by my babysitter. She would start us off with a bath she would take my and her clothes off which I know how to do. She would touch me in the bath and make me touch her. My mom was working and we knew her quite well but then one thing led to another when she acted like santa and she said come touch santa and stick my tongue in her mouth. But jut recently on 9-3-12 i was rapped by a family friend in the pool he touched my breast and then sexually assaulted me.

BUT I SURVIVED AND SO DID YOU GOD BLESS BROTHERS AND SISTERS!!!

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Austria

April 30, 2013

Father,

Once I have loved you.
I adored you.
I trusted you.
You were my Daddy.

Once, the sun was shining.

Then darkness came.
It seized my body and mind.
I could not escape.
You held me.
I could not breathe.
My world turned upside down.
I could not speak.
I was alone.
Mummy, where are you?
No hand to hold.
Alone. Cold.
Swallow.
Be a good girl.
Will you love me Daddy?
Can’t you see that I’m a good girl?
I’m trying hard.
Not good enough.
It hurts so much – the pain inside my body.
No, I don’t wanna eat.
Want nothing.
My mouth is my enemy.
Go away. Leave me alone.
Suck.
Swallow.
Silent.
Do you love me?

One day the sun was strong enough to break through the clouds.
Its warm rays touched my frozen body, warmed my heart.
One day I raised my head and saw the blue sky behind the clouds.

The sun is drying my tears.

One day the sky will be infinitely blue
and I will fly.

I love myself.

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Perry, Florida

April 26, 2013

I was about 11 when I was first molested by an older cousin babysitting me, it would happen most afternoons after school. When I was 12 I befriended a teacher that lived down the road from my house and of course I trusted him….he was a teacher. He would make these really neat rings and bracelets out of leather and he was teaching my brother and I how to make them. One day when my brother decided to go home early he pulled me to him and kissed me then stuck his hands down my pants. I finally got away but again I never told anyone…who was going to believe me? The trend continued on. I was again molested by another cousin while at my grandmother’s house and that was on a daily basis. This went on for several years and by the time I was 17 I was raped twice…..one in the family and one a stranger. I have kept this a secret for so many years because I figured I must have deserved it if it continued to happen. I have struggled with this and at 14 I developed and eating disorder which I am still struggling with today. I am now in a relationship that is abusive but I have two wonderful children who mean the world to me. My husband told me that couseling is stupid and a waste of time but I have started going anyway because I NEED to heal so that I can be the mother my children deserve.

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St. George, Utah

I was around 11 when it started. My cousin would always play `games’ with me. One day I was sitting in the living room and all the adults had left. He walked over and sat next to me. He asked if I wanted to play a game, and being a bored 11 year old I said yes. He put his hand on my leg and I got really confused. He moved his hand higher. He asked if I was nervous and I said yes but he continued to move his hand higher and higher until he was almost in my panties. I kept asking him to stop but he said it was a game and to stop being a baby. One of his sisters woke up then and he scrambled out of the room. She asked what happened and I of course said nothing. He didn’t touch me again until two years later. I was bullied viciously by people at school and I desperately wanted to get away, so my mom decided we would move to where my uncle and his children lived. I was so excited to get away from these people. My cousins decided to come down and help us pack, and they ended up spending night. We popped in a movie called “The Other Guys” and my eldest cousin complained his back hurt. I offered him the couch and I made a bed on the floor. My cousin who had previously touched my leg was already on the floor and he smiled as I sat next to him. I remember my mom had gone upstairs to sleep, so it was just me, my two cousins, and their sister. Eventually, everyone else fell asleep so it was just him and me. I was in a huge tee shirt and flannel pants. I told him good night and rolled over. I woke with my shirt around my face and the rest of my clothes gone. I felt his face near my private parts and I felt so sick. I asked him to stop and he punched me in the face. I cried out but he put his hand over my mouth to muffle it. I started to cry when I felt him straddle my face. He then proceed to rape me for what seemed like hours. He kept telling me what a good girl I was. It was so painful. I just kept thinking I was going to die. Finally he finished. He kissed me on the mouth and said for the last time what a good girl I was. I laid there for a couple minutes horrified that he would wake up and rape me again. When I knew he was asleep, I got up and went to the bathroom. There was blood on my face and thighs. I washed off what I could in my little sink. I washed my face off. I felt so gross and dirty. I wanted to kill myself. I was a mess. I pulled it together and woke up his sister, asking if I could sleep on the couch. She moved over and I laid next to her until morning broke. He didn’t touch me for another month. Then on my 14 birthday he tried to drag me out of a bowling alley and rape me again. A couple months after that, he broke in to my house and molested me. He then tried to rape me in my church. He had me against the wall when the bishop came in. I was so scared but acted like nothing was wrong. He was a year older and bigger then me. It took 8 months for me to tell anyone. We had finally moved away when I told my mom the truth. She cried and cried I felt horrible for making her so sad…

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Panama City, FL

I was abused by my biological father from the time I was 3 (my first memory of oral sex) to the time I was 12 (3 days after my 12th birthday he was arrested). I never knew it was wrong because it was something that happened my whole life. He never had to threaten me not to tell because in our house, you didn’t question my dad, ever! If you did, you saw the wrong end of a belt or wooden spoon or plate or what ever he had in his hand at the moment. My two other sisters were also sexually abused by him as well, but that is their story to tell if they choose. There were 7 kids in our family: 4 boys and 3 girls. There were so many “times,” I could go on and on, but one thing that stood out in your book is that you realized that your past is your past. It is what made you who you are today. I am a very successful realtor in Panama City, Florida and I NEVER talk about this because I know it makes the rest of my family (husband and kids) uncomfortable. But I read your book this weekend and felt the need to reach out. I had many years of counseling as a child. One of my sisters is an identical twin, so we knew it was happening to each other and could talk about it to each other, but still didn’t tell. I know that sounds crazy to everyone, but it’s like when someone asks me what it’s like to be a twin. I say, “I don’t know,” because I don’t know what its like to not be a twin. When they ask why didn’t I tell my mom, it started when I was 3 and I learned that is just what happened with my dad. At about 10 or 11 years old, when things were happening a little more often, I started to wonder if all girls went through this but kept it locked up. I was failing school and just didn’t care about life. Then finally one night my mother came into my bedroom and said she was going to look for dad because he had been out again, and she went to my older sister’s house. He had been having an affair with my sister’s friend. My sister didn’t know how to tell my mom because she had told my mom multiple times about my dad abusing her, and she didn’t believe her. After they got home, they both came in our room and asked if Dad had ever touched us in a way we didn’t like. We both said yes, all the time. My mom said she was sorry, but it took me years to forgive her after I found out that my older sister was going through it worse then we were. She didn’t believe her 7 years before and did nothing about it. My dad has since passed away. My oldest sister has had multiple failed marriages, my twin sister is ending her second marriage, and I am on my third and last marriage. I have the most understanding and caring husband but this subject does make him very uncomfortable. We saw your bus last week go through Panama City and that’s when I looked you guys up on Facebook. I had no idea someone was out there advocating for sexually abused kids. This weekend I downloaded your book and read it in about 4 hours. I knew he was interested in it because Sunday morning he asked me for a book report (which he does on all the books I read). I asked him if he really wanted a book report on this one, and he said yep. So I told him. He asked why I read the book, and I told him because no one understands what a survivor has been through except another survivor. Again, the most encouraging part of your book is reminding people that your past is your past. No matter how awful it was, there were great times, but your past makes you the person you are today. You are the one that needs to choose to be strong and not be a victim any longer. Thank you Lauren for your story. I’m sorry you had to go through that, but again at the same time I’m glad to see that someone is making a difference so more kids are not so afraid to let people know it’s OK TO TELL!

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FL

My story… hmm. I have been wanting to tell my story for 45 years. I have never been to counseling, but my childhood had a great affect on the choices I made as an adult and the relationships I endured. I suffered at the hands of abusers for years, until finally I took a stand and said no more. Domestic violence is the life I lived as an adult. My childhood was robbed from me at a very young age, and I will probably never get over that. I am a very strong person, and by meeting me you would never know that I was a small child who was molested. I was abused from the age of five until twelve at the hands of a man who is no longer on this planet (whom I forgave a long time ago).

As an adult, these memories are still very painful to talk about. Since I’ve never seeked counseling, they have been buried for a long time. Once in awhile they surface to the top. I haven’t read your book yet. I have always wanted to write my own story, but never wanted to hurt family members. The truth is whether it’s childhood or adulthood, abuse is abuse. The difference is a child has nowhere to run. When I was a child I did tell, but it did no good because nobody believed me. Instead I was punished and the abuse continued until I was twelve years old. I love what you’re doing, Lauren, and I will wear your shirt proudly and  do anything I can to help. Next time you’re in town, I’ll be there with my camera in hand taking pictures. I hope to meet you again.

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Florida

April 10, 2013

I, like many others, was molested as a child, once by a man at a convenience store and also by one of my stepfathers and his father and I was raped at age 15 and had a child from that rape.
I was always a quiet child and still am some what, I am sure this helped the molesters, along with them telling me to not tell anyone. I never felt like I could tell anyone what was happening to me. I trusted adults and was taught that I should always obey them, which again helped them.
My stepfather molested me often and when we had to move in with his family, so did his father. He would sneak into the room after everyone went to sleep.
After we moved out, when we would go see my stepfather’s dad, I didn’t want to get out of car, but they would keep at me until I finally had to get out of what I thought of as a safe place. I think this is something adults should watch for, when a child doesn’t want to be around someone, they may want to find out why.
I don’t blame my Mom; I honestly don’t think she ever knew this was happening to me. I also don’t blame myself. I did nothing wrong, the ones who did these sick things to me were the ones who were doing wrong.
I kept what happen to me inside for many years, I am now over 50, but now I am slowly talking about it. Only a couple people in my family now know some of what happen to me, but not everything. When I spoke to one of my family members about some of it, I found out that an older cousin was molesting younger cousins of mine, which I never knew. I suspected it because at one time a few of us were alone with this person and some of the things that was said, started me to think that’s what the person was up to, but they were stopped by someone calling out for them.
I believe those of us who have been molested can help others and maybe keep this from happening to someone else, if we will speak out about it.
I have learned something by volunteering with the Families Against Domestic Abuse Group where I live; unless you are in someone’s shoes you should not judge them. Just like me, many have different reasons for not telling someone that they were being molested. Some because they were scared, some being threaten, some because they were taught to trust adults or other reasons.
It’s terrible that this happens to anyone and if we knew the real number of people who were molested, it would probably scare us. Hopefully with more of us opening up about it, maybe others can be saved from this happening to them.

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Stanford, Kentucky

April 6, 2013

So, I thought I would try to tell my story today…maybe it is because I am feeling down today. It is a beautiful day, but it feels more like a dark day to me. I am now almost 43, but when i was in 2nd grade started a life of abuse for me. My babysitters son touched me inappropriately and kissed me. That seemed to start a lifetime of abuse patterns for me. When I was 12…my dad and I sang together in a gospel group and the man that sang with us and also played the piano…little did I know he was going to become my nightmare. He had a daughter about my age and I stayed the night with her. The very first time i stayed the night he waited til everyone was asleep and he came in the room and told me to come with him, he wanted me to hear a song. I went with him and at first it was a song, but it lead to him feeling me up and kissing me. I remember feeling sick, i just wanted to get away. When he let me go I went back to my bed and tried to forget that it happened. From that night led to him coming up with an excuse to my dad for being able to come over and work on pianos in our garage because “he didn’t have anywhere to store them”. I lived in walking distance from my school. He would be there waiting for me everyday and drive me home, my parents at work, my brother not getting home until 45 min after me. Everyday he would rape and sodomize me.

I never told anyone until I was 15, and that is mainly because we had moved away from where we lived and I thought I would never have to deal with him again. but since my parents never knew what happened, I thought I was safe, but we would go and visit sometimes and he tried to find out where we lived saying he would come visit. I just couldn’t handle the thought of him getting to me again so I told my mom on the way home after a visit. That led to an investigation. This could lead to a very long story so i a going to try and shorten it. By this point I was now 16. I had to go to the grand jury, they felt there was enough evidence to arrest him. He spent 1 night in jail. It drug out forever. I kind of moved on thinking maybe one day. I went on to get married and have my son…when I was pregnant with my daughter my mom died. After my daughter was born, she was 4 months old, I had been married for 6 years and I had went back to work as a manager at burger king, and I was closing one night and one of my employees needed at ride home after work…little did I know his plan…I was raped in the back of the store. It was the most horrible of anything that I had ever been through, but in my mind it took me back to the abuse I endured as a child. It nearly destroyed my marriage, my faith in God, I was no longer (and maybe still am not) the person I used to be. I didn’t even try to bring charges against him because of what happened when I tried to bring charges against my childhood molester (because at this time nothing had still come of my case and it had been 14 years.

) So once again, I try to move on with my life, but it is so difficult. I am at work 4 years later after the rape, and I get a call from the county where I lived as a child. It was the newspaper calling, telling me they were doing an investigation of the court system where I lived and that they found my case and it was 20 years old. It had never been closed, basically it was lost in the court system. They told me that the case was going before the judge and if I was interested in still trying him to be there and if I wanted to drop it just not show up and the judge would dismiss the case. It was a hard pill to swallow but I chose to go, i thought this was my second chance at justice. I had to face the man that molested me when I was 12-13 and now I was 33. It was the most horrible thing. I felt like that 12 year old child again. I never realized how much control he had over me. Seeing him made me sick. To make a long story short…I had to return to court 3 months in a row..seeing him each time. Then the case is dismissed because HE wont get a fair trial. I never got to speak…not one time. I did an appeal, and was turned down again. I just let it go after that. I had my closure…I guess. Not the way I wanted it, but I had prayed for many years for God to give me closure. I have just had to learn to forgive the best way I know how. Having hatred towards these people was killing me inside and I knew I would never be able to be the person I was capable of being if I didn’t forgive. I definately have days when I wish I could still hang him for what he did to me, but I have to just move on past it and think of what I have today and who I am today inspite of it all. I have a great husband and 2 great kids. Is everything perfect? No, but I try my best to be the person God would want me to be. I am a survivor!!!

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Pharr, TX

March 13, 2013
Pharr, Texas

Im not sure exactly when it happened (ever since it happened I completly blocked it out ) but it was somewhere between 5th – 6th grade. My dad would abuse drugs and he was almost always drunk at the time so we (my brothers) wouldn’t really wanna spend time with him. One night, I was spending the night and right before I got into bed I took a shower, my dad walked in and he said he was gonna help me, he started “washing” my back and butt. I felt so uncomfortable but I felt like it wasnt a big deal, after all he was my dad. Later that night I woke up cause I felt someone touching me, it was him. The man that’s supposed too love care and protect his kids, the person I trusted and loved the most. I felt confused and I was scared too say STOP. He kept touching me down there, making noises like he wus getting pleasure out of touching me. After a while he started touching himself and that led too him getting on top of me. My heart was pounding, I felt scared and hopeless. I didn’t know what molesting ment but I knew what rape was. That’s when I knew I had too speak up. Who knew a two letter word can do so much? I told him no, all he said was okay like it was nothing. I drifted off too sleep and again awoke too my dad touching me. When he realized I was awake he stopped. I couldnt go back too sleep after that. I stayed laying there blank minded for hours till the sun came up. As soon as I saw light I ran outside, sat on the stairs and I tried to think but I couldn’t. That was the last time I thought about it until I was 14 (i was about to be in 9th grade). That was also the first time I told someone. It took a few hours, I never thought something could be so hard to say I would try too speak but there was no words. When the most difficult part was done I never felt so free. It was wierd though, I wouldnt think bout it at all I almost even forgot it happened, so it was like I was a prisioner but I didnt even know it. Now almost the 3 years later I think about it alot more, probably because now I fully understand what happened too me. Now specific things make me uncomfortable, like the word molest and people touching me. I feel different now, I dont feel like a victim, I don’t really feel like I got “molested”. It’s just unreal.

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Boynton Beach, FL

2/27/2013

I want to first thank you for what you are doing. I’m sure you have saved a lot of souls.

I am an incest survior. I was in foster homes at the age of 9 months old with my twin brother. We were adopted into a family at age 5. My horrific experience started when I was 9 years old and did not stop until I was 16 years old. I had graduated from high school early and ran away from home when my adoptive parents left for their first vacation without us. I endured physical and mental abuse from both parents every day for seven years. The sexual abuse was from my adoptive father. I left home and was on the streets at 16, I had earned a 1 year scholarship to a 2 year school. With my pell grants I was able to find rooms in half way houses til I was old enough to be hired. The year I turned 18 I was offered several jobs and having been bearly making it, I took three of the jobs. That’s when I was able to find help through therapists. I had no self esteem, thought I was ugly and did not deserve to be in public. Decades later I have a Engineering Degree A.S. and Physical Therapy Degree A.S. I have 12 credits to go to finish my B.S. degree in Applied Business Management. I have been married and divorced, of course to a man who was just like my parents. Since then I have broken the cycle, my two children are very bright and healthy children, living there own lives. Durning one of my jobs were I would help clean the Social Security Office with my friend I was offered a job. It took them six months to convince me that I would do better then with the doctors I was working for and my two buisnesses I owned. I was sworn into my job 8/12/2011. One month later 9/11 happened and my businesses were dissovled a couple months later. Needless to say I had made a good choice to work for SSA. It is now 12 years later an I love serving the public. I still have PTSD from time to time, with good counseling I build my survivor skills and life seems to brighten up again. I thank God everyday for my mind and the way I think. When I was being abused I kept telling myself there are others out there that have it a lot worse. At least I have food, clothing and shelter.

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Gainesville, FL

2/16/2013

I was born in Atlanta, Ga. to a black mother and a white father, Just before my third birthday, my mother passed of colon cancer…she was 32. My dad took me to Texas, leaving behind my half brother and sisters in Georgia. A few years after living in Texas, my father stole over $40,000 on a drug deal gone bad and we fled the state. We were on the run for three months until we ened up in Florida where his parents had moved. Haven’t seeing them in 17 years, he showed up on their doorstep with a half black child whom they assumed he had kidnapped. Within months of meeting my grandparents, my dad began physically abusing me. Shortly after, the physical abuse turned into sexual abuse. I was 9 when it began and 14 when I finally got the courage to tell. I was removed from the home and placed with my grandparents. I then went from family friends, back to family. During this time, I was molested by a teacher, moved from my family and placed into foster care. After having my life threatened by the woman I was placed with, I eventually ran away. Homeless and pregnant, I checked into Alpha House, a center for pregnant women in crisis. While there, I atteneded high school, parenting classes and aged out of the system. After a few more trials and tribulations, abusive relationships and a feeling of lost hope, I discovered my purpose and became a Guardian ad Litem. I use my story, not as a crutch, but as a tool to help others heal. Now 30, I’m currently finishing school, raining my children and continuing to heal everyday. Thank you for this website, and for giving me an oppurtunity to give a brief synopsis of my story.

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Schenectady, NY

2/20/2013

It was 5 years ago. I was 12 years old, and had just gotten my period. My father must have realized my breasts, and that’s when it all began.
I lived with my father, sisters (2) ages 14 and 8, and brother, age 4.
My mother had to go to a mental institution for reasons still unknown to me today. I lived with my father as the main authority in my life.
I was in my bedroom, on my phone, texting my best friend Rachael. My dad walked in with a knife. He walks up to my bed and says,
Now I am hoping that I don’t have to use this. But I will if I have to. He sat on my knees, and unbuttoned my pants, and took off my shirt, exposing my bra. He, who was in his boxers already, took my panties off, and raped me. I felt a pain and squealed a bit. He took his knife! And slit my wrist. He said,
“That is for making noise.”
I hated it. I felt the blood running down my leg. He then put his genitals in my mouth.
This happened at least 10 times every month, and he is now in jail for child abuse! And is a sex offender.

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Edgewater, FL

1/04/2013

I lived in a house with my mom dad and my brother. I was 11 years old in the sixth grade and my brother was 8. It started when my grandfather kind of moved in. He lived in an rv next to our house. He moved in when I was 7 years old. Nothing had really happened up until what I’m about to tell you. Within the first 2 years of him living there, he would just look at me funny and ask me very personal questions that
quite frankly I never answered. And then when I got my period he saw that I was developing breasts and thats when the molestation and rape
started.

The first time he ever touched me was when I was 11. My mom asked me to go get a loaf of bread from him and I had no problem with that so I went. My grandfather was a very crochety old man and was never really nice to anyone. I knocked on the door and he said I could come in. I proceeded. I asked him for the bread and he got it. He held it out like he was going to give it to me but took it back and asked what I would do for him and I said that I didn’t know. I started to feel weird so I tried to leave and he hit me in the head and pushed me to the couch.

I started crying and he told me to shut up. He sat down next to me and started putting his hand down my shirt. I tried to push away but he pushed me down so I was laying down in a very vulnerable position. He slapped me in the face and held a knife to my neck and told me that if I ever told anyone that he would kill me. He unbuttoned my shorts and there was nothing i could do about it because if I made any noise he would kill me. Before he did anything else he tied me up and drove his rv into the woods, called my mom and said we were going shopping because he had no bread. He came back to me and pulled off my shorts he started rubbing my underwear where my private parts were. He took off my panties and he unzipped his pants. I couldn’t do anything. He raped me continuously for 5 years. I’m 16 now and I’ve tried telling my parents but they dont believe me they just call me a lying whore and a slut.

I told my best friend about it and we got him arrested. I live with her now and my life is better God has helped me recover in so many ways. He gave me my normal life back.

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Winder, GA

12/27/2012

My twin sister and I were sexually abused by our stepfather. He started when we were 15 years. old. I was the main one but she also was abused. My mother was abused by him also. My mother finally left him for good when we were seniors in high school. We NEVER talked about it, not even to each other.When I was about 35 yrs. old, I told my husband and sought counseling. I also talked my sister into seeking help also. We wrote my mother a letter and told her when we were about 37 years old. I still suffer from it, but we are survivors!!! I have even forgiven him, because I know it is a sickness. GOD is in control, he will get his punishment.

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Dahlonega, Georgia

12/06/2012

This is a poem I wrote that I would like to share. This isn’t my survival story just a poem I wrote On December 5th 2012 while going through counseling for the sexual abuse. I am still working on putting the pieces of my story together.

ONE DAY…

I sit quietly in the corner all alone. Just wanting something to call my own.
He took over my body at a very young age now I have nothing but to feel ashamed.
He took me under his wing. Telling me I would forever go unseen.
The things he preformed on me were to hard to bare.
Sometimes I would find myself in a deep dark stare.
Dreaming of a magical place to get away.
Trying to avoid the pain that was here to stay.
Hiding to blend within the branches above
Sitting and waiting for a magical person to take me away.
One day I will be free.
But for now I sit quietly and wait for that to be.

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St. Lucie, FL

When I was 6 years old, I was at my uncle’s house because my auntie was babysitting my cousin, my brother, and me. My uncle got home from work, and then went in his room while I was in there. With the door open while I was sitting on the bed watching tv he put his hand on my leg and then he touched my privates under my underwear. I was thinking he was going to do something bad, so I told him to stop before I told somebody. He didn’t say anything, and he didn’t listen. He pushed me back and laid me on the bed, and then he tried to take my clothes off and tried to have sex with me. I kept trying to scream for help but nobody heard me. Afterwards, he said that if I told anyone he would deny it and nobody would believe me. I thought that nobody would believe me because they would have thought I was making stuff up.

This happened for about 8 or 9 years - when they baby sat, if I was over at their house to help my auntie with something, at family parties, and so on. I always would think “why is this happening to me?” or “what the heck is he thinking?” I felt uncomfortable and thought that nobody should go through this. I felt worthless, hopeless and helpless. I then told my counselor at school that I was suicidal. I felt so broken down, so why keep on living? My counselor sent me to the hospital, and I learned in a group about telling people what’s happening so that it’s not bottled up inside. Finally after 9 years, I told my family. They were very supportive of me and understanding in ways that I thought they wouldn’t be. Since then I put my Uncle in jail so he cannot rape his baby daughter when she is older. I feel like weight has been lifted off my shoulders, and I wish I told them sooner. Now I am doing great in school, and I’m motivated to have a better future. I have control over my emotions and do not get in trouble anymore. I can enjoy my life now.

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Altamont, KS

I was about six when my aunt’s boyfriend got her pregnant. Well, that wasn’t really the greatest thing that they’d ever done, as he was a pastor’s son and she grew up in a Christian home, so they did the “right” thing and got married.

When they got married, it’s like they suddenly realized that they didn’t have a place to live, so they moved in with my mom and I. My dad died when I was four, so it was just us.

My mom had a job driving a suburban for special-needs children and my aunt delivered papers. One day, while my aunt and my mom were in the garage, my new uncle stuck his hand down my undies. I didn’t know what he was doing, or WHY he was doing it, but I let him. He was an adult, adults are always right. So far, I hadn’t met an adult that was wrong about something, so that’s how I thought.

That’s how it all started.

While my mom was on her routes, my uncle would molest me. He’d molest me anywhere, actually: in the garage where he and my aunt were living, in my room, in the bathroom. He didn’t care.

I remember once actually thinking, “This just so doesn’t seem right! Get me out of here!” And then another part of my brain would calmly remind me, “Uncle Justin knows best.”

This went on for about two months I think. I’m so glad it stopped! Two things I remember plainly are him saying that it was our special thing and that it was supposed to be a secret. Another thing I remember – once when he was molesting me, I asked him to stop, I was scared…I don’t remember now if it hurt or not, I think I blocked memories of pain from my head, and he said, “No, I’m almost done.”

One morning, he came in after I got up and did his thing and went on his way. As I was putting my panties back on, my mom came in and asked me why. Had I wet the bed?

Finally she figured it out, and thank the Lord, he was put in prison!

*fast forwarding noises*

Okay, so now I’m 14 and I met this awesome guy – at least that’s what I thought at the time – on the internet. He was 19 and had been sexually abused himself…he didn’t mean to, but he was carrying on the abuse tradition.

We would video chat and he would say and do things to turn me on. Once, he actually asked me to take my shirt off – which I did. I am ever so ashamed that I did that. I think that he realized that what he was doing was wrong, and he broke it off with me. It still hurt me though, and the depression I had been battling that year got even worse.

Fast forward a few months – I’ve got a new boyfriend (a REAL boyfriend this time). Two weeks after we met, we’re already making out. Three weeks after we met, he’s broken up with me and I’m on the verge of suicidal.

It took me a few months to get back to normal after that. Now, I’m less depressed and I have an amazing boyfriend, who I could tell anything to and who I feel safe and protected by. I have an amazing family, awesome friends and a God who loves me and who will use all the pain that I have and do experience because of those two men for good, not more evil.

I am a survivor. RAWR!

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North Carolina

I want to share a letter I wrote to myself as I begin dealing with and healing from my childhood sexual abuse. Hopefully other victims can connect with the emotions I have been dealing with through this difficult journey. Sometimes its so much harder to hate your abuser as much as you hate yourself…

Dear Me,
I’m sorry for being so mean to you the past few years. You deserve so much better because you truly are one of the most amazingly genuine people I know. It’s so hard for me to see that sometimes and I wish I could explain to you why. I wish I could explain why I hate you so much. You are so smart and have such a bright future and I am sorry for making you feel like you’re not capable of anything. What you have been able to accomplish during some of the hardest times during your life is amazing. It’s about time I give you credit for how strong you are, how strong that 6 year old girl was even if she didn’t have the voice to speak up. I love you, I promise, somewhere beneath all of my criticism. Remember that on those days where you are paralyzed with anxiety. I’m always going to he here, so it’s about time we start loving each other.

Love,

You

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Marysville, Indiana

10/12/12

The weekend after I turned eight, I was molested for the first time. I remember like it was yesterday, and yet it feels like forever ago. It was the first weekend of September, 2003, and the first time I had seen my father since my parents had split. My parents split because he was, and is, a very violent, harsh and controlling man. About three weeks before we left, he threw my mom across the kitchen floor into some boxes. I have been scared of him for as long as I can remember.

The man who molested me, my father, is still on the streets…and my sisters and I still have to visit him, every Saturday from 10am to 4pm. For almost a year, he molested us every time we saw him. It was absolutely HORRIBLE. We didn’t tell anyone, not at first…we were too scared and confused – he told us he was just “helping us clean ourselves.” You see, every time he molested us, we were taking a shower. I had just turned eight, my two younger sisters were 6 and 3. We didn’t know what he was doing, we just knew it was wrong. So very wrong.

One day at home, my mom knocked on the bathroom door and asked me if I needed help washing my hair. I SCREAMED at her “NO! I don’t need any more help !” She of course had no idea what was wrong, so when I came out, she took me into mine and my sisters room and asked me what was going on. I burst into tears and told her everything.

I don’t remember how long it took for things to change. It feels like seconds but I think it was about a week. She called the lawyer, who in turn called Social Services. They didn’t do anything but make it even more awkward, and the courts just made our visits supervised…this meant my grandfather was always around and he is really creepy. He was always staring at us and he loved to play “tickle wars. ” He didn’t tickle, he touched, but I didn’t realize until about a year ago that that’s what he was doing.

I think one of the hardest things about this is that we all go to the same church. Not my father, but my moms family, and his family all do. The only thing separating us is we sit on one side, them on the other. It gets weird.

Because of what happened to me and my sisters, I have a horrible time trusting people. Especially men. It’s just so hard for me.

Another thing that changed after I told, I was court ordered to go to counseling. I have seen 12 different counselors in nearly nine years and absolutely none of them have helped. I honestly believe they made things a million times worse because every time we saw a new one, we had to tell our story again and again.

Three years ago I walked into mine and my sisters’ room because I had heard my sisters talking, but as soon as I walked in, they stopped. So, I sat on my bed and asked what was going on. My youngest sister looked to our other sister, who nodded, and said, “Somethings happened, but you cant tell mom, no matter what.” I of course agreed, but what she told me made me physically ill.

“He touched me again.”

Those words once again set my world on its axis. As soon as they were asleep, I went running to my mom and told her. We sat there and cried for almost an hour. About a week later, we went to the CPS that was located in his county and talked to the social worker. She took us to this place called a “Safe House” where she took us into this room with a mirror. Behind the mirror was a cop, another social worker, and someone from the court house. As soon as we were done talking to her, the cop went to serve my dad a subpoena to come and talk to them. The court official took a document of everything that had happened and brought it to the judge, who signed and gave us a protective order against him.

My mom was concerned for our safety when he was served, so we spent the weekend out of town. However, when our judge found out what happened and that the other judge had given us a protective order, he said it didn’t count and that we should have contacted him so he could have done something. The judge proceeded to make the visitations supervised once again, but our “dad” only asked to see us twice. After that, we didn’t see him for two wonderful, almost peaceful years. Then in January of this year, we went back to court, with a new judge. She ordered that we had to go back to supervised visits, but only once they had an agency lined up that would supervise.

That next Saturday, I tried to take my life.

Obviously, I didn’t go through with it.

Then in March, after the court hearing, my mom comes out, and I could tell she was upset. We were court-ordered to to go see him again every Saturday, from 9am to 9pm. My sisters were so scared they burst into tears. I hadn’t seen him since Wednesday, December 24, 2008, but when I heard they would have to go back, I immediately said I would go with them. To protect them. To re-live hell. Every. Single. Saturday…and I have.

My sisters and I are close, but being under so much stress and having to go through all of this, it’s made us stronger and brought us closer. Each time we see him, though, it makes us go through hell. Especially me. I’m their big sister, I was supposed to be there, and I wasn’t! I couldn’t protect them from this monster – that is exactly what he is, a monster. So, now, I go every Saturday. It’s put so much stress on me.

Two weeks ago, I tried to commit suicide again. This time, I wasn’t going to chicken out. I didn’t. I did attempt, but at the last second, I stopped. Someone was coming into the bedroom, and I didnt want them to walk in on that, so I stopped. But I still think about it. Not every second of everyday, like before, but still. I hate him for what hes done. And I hate the court system for making us still go, I hate everyone who has EVER hurt, in any way, shape, and form a child, or adult for that matter. But to everyone who has been hurt, I am sooooo sorry. I know your pain, and I know your struggle. But we are NOT victims. We are SURVIVORS !!! And will continue to be. One step, and one day at a time. I am seventeen years old, I was a victim, but NOW I am a survivor. May you ALL have peace the rest of your days. Hold On, Pain Ends. HOPE!

 

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Hollywood, FL

10/5/12

I thought what happened to me was my fault. I “let things happen” many times because I thought I wanted sexual attention. I was only looking for attention and love. Growing up in an alcoholic household I was exposed to things children shouldn’t be, but I didn’t know. I just thought I was more “grown up” than my friends. It came to my surprise one week ago that the “things” that were happening were in fact sexual abuse. It started when I was 10 and ended at 16 with a dozen people. I am a survivor. I didn’t die. However, I’m 24 now and I struggle because all my relationships and even the way I think, love and believe are affected by fear. I’m happy I know the truth now and I have hope.

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Buffalo, NY

My siblings were adopted. Both younger than me. I guess they were both abused before we got them because they both touched me. My sister and I used to take baths together. She would climb on top of me and touch me but I had no idea it was wrong, so I didn’t care. My brother used to touch me while I was sleeping, but I was never really asleep – I was just completely paralyzed and could not do anything. My parents always wondered why I insisted on getting a loft bed (it was so I would wake up by the time anyone got near me). My brother still touches me if I sleep anywhere dark and accessible.

When I was twelve, a boy in my class took advantage of a dark classroom – the teacher used an overhead – to press himself against me and unzip my jeans. I pushed him away. At fifteen or sixteen, a 23-year-old man tried to convince me to pleasure him in the public library in front of a window. He had his genitals hanging out of his pants and used it to touch my outer thighs, shoulders and my hands.

I called my dad to pick me up. He asked me what was wrong and I couldn’t tell him. I told my friend’s mom, my friend and her sister later that day, and she told my mother. I filed a report, but I don’t know if they ever found him. A week later I ran away briefly because I didn’t know how to deal with what had happened…maybe a month after that, a man in a black SUV tried to offer me a ride as I was standing at a bus stop. At the time, I was carrying a backpack, wearing jeans, a jacket and a COOKIE MONSTER T-SHIRT.

He talked softly in the hopes that I would come closer to hear, but I just told him to speak up. I told him I was waiting for the bus and didn’t want a ride. He swerved, and I thought he was driving away, but then I realized he was making a U-Turn so the driver’s side would be facing the road, so he could snatch me. I was poised to run, but then the bus turned the corner and I got on before he finished the turn. I dunno if he saw it, but I flipped him the bird out the window of the bus, which was one of the most satisfying things I’ve ever done.

After hearing about that incident my mother cried and made me promise to always be careful if not for my own sake then for hers. The only thing to happen since then happened two weeks ago: I woke up in pitch black with someone on top of me straddling me and rocking on me. I couldn’t breathe or move. I thought it was a dream until I noticed a brush burn on the underside of my left breast in the shower. I don’t know who it could have been, but what frightened me most was that no matter how much I struggled I was unable to move even half an inch.

I want to believe that none of this has affected my life or relationships in any way, but the fact is, I have a lot of trouble trusting people and there are very few people that I’m comfortable with touching me. I have very few close friends, and have never had a lasting relationship. I can’t even let people kiss me without feeling disgust, and one of my fleeting boyfriends once remarked that when we were sitting on a bench I was unconsciously sliding away from him. As soon as someone expresses any interest in me sexually, I am automatically afraid of them. I have given up on dating people because no matter how much I like them at first, once we even get to the kissing stage, it is game over. I will probably never be able to get married.

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Florida

9/16/12

Well here we are again – with the box back at our door.
No matter how deep we bury it, it always returns once more.

Our story turns to stories, starting from around age eight,
Just trying to forget the bad, we forget our whole darn plate.

Don’t speak of private sins, for private they will stay,
We try to ask for help, but are mostly shushed away.

Fleeting moments of the past, leaving only scars for me.
For I do this to myself, these tortured memories.

Wrong choices made by naïve pubescent minds,
Result in violated lives and never discovered crimes.

There were no evil-doers, yet evils were done and left their mark.
Pissing on our inner fire every time it tried to spark.

Well the kindle will never smolder since the source is from I AM
When the whole world seems against us; He helps us stand.

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Miami, FL

I Hate You

I hate you
You robbed me
Of my innocence

Then the hate
Boiled up within me
And I wanted to hurt someone

So I took it out
On the only person
I had control over
Me

I defiled my body
And nearly damned
My own soul

To an everlasting hell
Of unending regret
Because of what
You Did

You murdered my innocence
Shattered me into
A thousand pieces
Of pain and sorrow

I felt different after that
Different from
Every other little girl

Little girls shouldn’t
Have to think about
Those things

Shouldn’t have to wonder
What it means

Wonder if it shows
If everyone can tell

What you did
Can’t own me though
I am stronger than that
I’ll show you

I am a phoenix
I rise from the ashes
To survive another day

I buried your shame
Deep within me
Never to be shared
With another human being

Never to see the light
Of a mortal day
For your shame it is
Not mine

And you never even
Said you were sorry

I put the pieces
Back in their places
Although never the same
They refract light
In a thousand ways

Reflecting
The inner beauty
The resplendence
Of who I really am

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Hialeah, Florida

Things can be so ironic at times. Who would have ever thought that I would find this website in a flier inside an enveloped that was addressed to my rapist? I started to cry when I found it. Not because I haven’t gotten over what happened to me, but because he had seen this very same flier about “donating to prevent child abuse” and how to help out, but that still didn’t stop him…

I am now 18 years of age, and like everyone else on this website sharing their story, I am a sexual abuse survivor.

How did it start? I can’t even remember how it started to be honest. It had been happening for as long as I can remember, by my own father who was an alcoholic. My mom would be sleeping and that’s when he would come into my room and molest me. I would go into the details about the horrible things he would do to me, but its way too painful for me. All I want you to know is that he would do it to me every night, for years.

He did horrible things to me that should never be done to anyone. Especially a child. It got to a point where I was even okay with it and I would go into his room when my mom wasn’t there and undress myself for him. When I explained this to the police officers and my psychologist I was told that my father “groomed me” – for those of you who don’t know what that is, it when you’re rapist psychologically trains, and brain washes you to do what he wants.

My dad was the type of man who loved to be in power and in control. He was the head of my household and the only one that was able to work. He only made only enough to pay for my household and food. My mom couldn’t work at the time because she was an illegal alien in this country and in the process of getting her papers. He knew this and he made me know this. He told me that if I ever opened my mouth, me and my mom would be left to die out in the streets. He made sure I never told anyone because if I did, he showed me the gun in his closet and his hunting knife, and he said he would kill me. He would constantly threaten to kill me with the knife. He would lock me in a room with him when my mom was out for groceries and he would put the blade of the knife against my wrist.

I was raped until the age of around 13 years of age when my father had a stroke and became paralyzed from all of his left left side. (I guess, bad things really do happen to bad people, huh?) I thought this is when the abuse finally ended, but I was wrong. Sadly, it didn’t…it only got worse.

I wasn’t physically abused anymore, but I was emotionally abused. For years I hated myself, because in my eyes I would never be a virgin. I couldn’t enter a church, I thought God hated me and I thought it was all my fault. I attempted suicide several times. I went from swallowing blood-pressure pills, to trying to drown myself in a pool and having to be pulled out by my mom and given CPR. I went into a huge depression. I would lock myself in my walk-in closet at night and cry myself to sleep. I would wear sweaters to school with cuts on my wrist from razor blades. I didn’t have many friends in high school except for my best friend and a few others, but none of them knew.

The only person who ever got to know was my boyfriend, because I trusted him and I fell deeply in love with him, and one day planned on having sex with him. I thought it was only fair for him to know after two years of being together, that if I ever wore a dress at my wedding, it would never have a true meaning. He understood and he didn’t care. He accepted me. And he told me in his eyes I would always be a virgin to him.

I felt okay for awhile, but as the days passed by my dad started getting better and being able to walk and speak correctly. He also started to gain back his memory. After a stroke a lot of people don’t remember a lot of events because they experience brain damage, but after time they can start remembering again. He began calling me a slut and a bitch for having a boyfriend. There started to be times when he would try to hit me for no reason when my mom wasn’t there. But he was weak and I was older and able to fight back. Once I got so furious I grabbed a broomstick and hit him with it and knocked out his teeth because he started chasing me to hit me.

A couple of days after that, I had a fight with my mom because my dad starting getting things into her head that I was having sex with my boyfriend and that I was a slut…I wasn’t just to clear that out. My mom, not knowing anything of course believed it, so I ran away.

I started living with my boyfriend, and honestly that was the worst mistake of my life. At first, I explained the situation to his parents and his mom loved me. She was more than happy to take me in. She said the same thing happened to her as a child. Little did I know that his mom was a drug abuser and alcoholic and that his dad was an abuser himself. My boyfriend had told me the stories about his dad being violent, but one thing is hearing about something and another thing is witnessing it in front of your eyes.

It was so sad to see his mom drugged up every night. It made me depressed. But it was sadder and scarier to see my boyfriend’s dad grab him by the neck in front of me and watch him smash him against a wall, while his little sister was screaming. His dad was also an alcoholic and when he was drunk he did crazy things… He would grab my boyfriend’s mom by the hair and drag her up the stairs calling her a “stupid bitch” while she was screaming. This would happen continuously and when ever it happened, my boyfriend would grab me and hug me.

One day it got really bad. Me and my boyfriend were sleeping and it was about 3 a.m. when we heard fighting upstairs from the bedroom. Then we heard a smash of a glass and a whole bunch of things drop upstairs. Me and my boyfriend got up and ran outside the room. Then we saw his mom running down the stairs screaming, “Please call the police!” My boyfriend grabbed his phone but he couldn’t call the police. He started crying and handed me the phone and said, “You do it.” I ran to the backyard and that’s exactly what I did. Shortly after that, the police arrived and arrested my boyfriend’s father.

His mom stopped doing drugs for awhile, but then she started again and didn’t stop. I contacted my mom and told her I wanted to meet up with her. I let her know what had really happened with my dad. All she did was started to cry. She told me she couldn’t do anything because she gets paid minimum wage and my dad’s disability checks paid the rent for the house. She told me I was allowed to live with my boyfriend and she would send me a little bit of money whenever she could.

After that, my boyfriend’s mom only got worse, and she started telling my boyfriend it was my fault her husband got arrested. My boyfriend would start accusing me of this, and we started fighting a lot. He was confused. I mean, it’s not the easiest thing losing someone you love. I tried to convince his mom to stop abusing the drugs, but it was no use. My boyfriend’s mom called my mom and said I was causing her nothing but problems and my boyfriend ended up telling my mom he never wanted to see me again.

One day, my mom picked me up from school and told me, “You’re not going back to your boyfriend’s house ever again. You’re coming back home.” That is when I had my first anxiety attack and I blanked out completely in my mom’s car. She didn’t know what to do so she took me back to talk to my boyfriend. When I got there, my boyfriend told me he never loved me and he never would love me and to get out. I grabbed all my stuff and left.

I called my best friend and asked him if I could stay over for a couple of days, and he said yes. I explained again what happened to my best friend’s mom, and she taught me how to love God. She took me to church and she told me even if I didn’t want to, I would have to forgive my dad and go back home with my mom because I was only a child.

I listened to her and went back. It didn’t work though, I couldn’t forgive my dad. I started developing severe anxiety in my house. I didn’t have my boyfriend anymore who would give me support. I was alone. My mom decided to get me a therapist for the anxiety because I was getting to the point that I couldn’t eat anymore without puking after every meal and my ribs were beginning to show.

I love my psychologist and up to this day I thank her because she is the best thing that has ever happened in my life. <3 I went to the psychologist for about 3 months until she gained my trust and that’s when I told her about my dad. It wasn’t easy, but I did. That same day when I went home, police officers were waiting for me in my house. At first, I started crying because I didn’t know what my mom would do about the finances, but the police took care of everything and arrested my dad.

My dad is now in jail. It has only been about 4 months since he got arrested, but he has been sentenced for 30 years in jail and me and mom have a restraining order against him.

As for my boyfriend, I ended up seeing him at a friend’s party and he apologized for everything. He broke down into tears in front of me and told me his dad got out of jail and his mom got arrested for a DUI for getting caught drunk driving, and that she was under strict surveillance with the police. She is constantly drug tested and she has to blow into this special device to see if there is alcohol in her system. His mom is truly sorry for everything and even called my mom saying she was sorry about my dad and to tell me she’s sorry. I haven’t found it in my heart to forgive her yet. Its been almost over a year since I have talked to her or seen her. I ended up forgiving my boyfriend, but it took a long time before he gained back my trust. Me and my boyfriend are still together up to this day and are extremely happy.

I know I wrote a lot and most people might not even read the whole thing, but it doesn’t matter. This is MY story about how I became a SURVIVOR. To whoever does read this, you have to love yourself for who you are and who you want to be in the future. You have to be strong, because just like everyone who has a survival story, YOU ARE NOT ALONE! (:

I am in college and one day I hope to become an oral-maxillo facial surgeon. I am determined to help my mom out so she can one day retire and not have to worry about finances or money ever again in her life. Goodbye, and if you made it all the way to the end, thank you for reading my story.

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Portland, OR

I was abused by my father as a young girl. I grew up thinking that was the only way a father was supposed to treat his daughter. I finally told my godmother. She helped me get out that situation. I have been in abusive relationships since. Now that I have my son, I am no longer in an abusive relationship because I am determined to break the cycle of abuse. My son should know that he is loved and he can come to me for anything.

Just because you were abused doesn’t mean it has to continue. Break the cycle.

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Boca Raton, Florida

The abuse started when I was 11 during summer vacation in Colombia. I came with my brother and mom – my mom left a week later and my brother and I stayed for two months. I was alone one night with my uncle…it was really cold so I was huddled next to him. He unzipped my jacket and started touching my breasts (this happened twice). I didn’t move because I thought it was normal. Another night he told me to feel a little lower then his stomach because he was really warm. I felt him, but then he told me to feel a little lower. I said no.

The following summer I was 12. I was always in love with horses and I rode them a lot in Colombia. We had a farm helper and he was around 17 years old. One day he invited me to go horseback riding. I had a little crush on him so I said yes. One of my family members allowed me to go…I was so excited!

When we were walking through a forest with the horses, the farm helper asked me if I had a boyfriend. I said no, and I asked him if he had a girlfriend. He said no. A little after, he got off his horse to check the horse shoes on my horse. He was standing next to my horse and I was sitting on it. He started rubbing my leg slowly with one of his hands and the other hand was in between my legs, but barely touching me down there. I moved the hand in between my legs and he looked at me funny. I decided to not do that anymore because he might not like me anymore. He then asked me if I liked him, but I said no because I felt a little embarrassed. He asked me in Spanish if he could steal a kiss from me (I barley knew Spanish and didn’t understand, so I said yes). First, he told me to promise not to tell any of my family members. I said “ok.” I was still wondering what I just said yes to, he then grabbed my face and tried to kiss me so I forced my neck the other way. We went home after that.

A few nights after, he was at the farm hanging out with his friend in the room and I was in the other room with my friend. I saw a page of a magazine that said “A girl was raped,” but the words were in Spanish. I asked my friend what it meant and she told me to ask the farm worker. When I asked him what it said he and his friend simply laughed, so I forgot about it. A little later that night he told me to go with him to put away the horses, so I did.

I was sitting on the edge of the balcony and it was so dark I could barley see my own hand! When he put the horses away he came very close to me and asked me if I really didn’t know what that magazine meant. I said no. He asked me if I wanted him to shown me what it meant. I started getting scared because I felt like the magazine said something bad. I couldn’t see his face, I could only feel his breath. He just kept asking me to let him show me, but I kept making excuses like “I’m cold,” “I want to go home,” “please no.” He finally said, “ok go home,” and the five minute walk home was very dark…the whole walk home he was a few steps behind me. All I heard were his cold foot steps. Thankfully, I got home safe.

The following year I was 13, we were in Colombia again. We were all on a really fun family camping trip, and this was the year I met a new uncle that was lost for almost 20 years. I was happy knowing I had more family, but that uncle always looked at me weird and I caught him watching me get dressed behind the tent. I just thought I was over thinking things…

We were camping next to a big river so we would individually wash ourselves with our swimsuits on in the river. When I went to wash off, my uncle came along. I didn’t think much of it because he is my uncle. He told me that he would pour the water on me while I scrub, but he got kinda rough. He pulled my swimsuit top to where my breasts were showing and I yelled at him, then he did the same with my bottoms. It all happened in a second and I didn’t have time to react.

That night, we all slept in a big tent – my uncle, his wife, me, my brother, my aunt and her husband. When everyone was asleep, I was half awake and felt his hand on my leg. I was shocked and felt paralyzed. I pretended to be asleep because I couldn’t move. He started moving his hand up my leg and started rubbing my thigh. I was so scared and I didn’t know what was happening. He put his hand in my pants and began touching me. I just kept quite and didn’t move. I couldn’t.

This summer I am back in Colombia. I am 16 now and this happened a few weeks ago. My aunt invited my brother and I to her house and we were so excited! We would stay with her and one of my cousins who is 17, and the other one who is 24. My uncle from the previous story lives there too and I was very worried about him. The whole day I was only paying attention to him and keeping an eye out for what he did to me a few years back in the tent.

When night came it and was time to sleep, my brother wanted to sleep in the bed with the dog. I thought that was gross, so I slept in a separate bed with the 24 year old cousin; the 17 year old cousin slept with his mom, and my brother with the dog.

My cousin and I were awake late watching TV. When we turned the TV off to go to sleep, my back was facing him so it wouldn’t be awkward. I woke up a little later that night and felt that my backside was touching his leg. I didn’t care because I thought he was asleep. I started feeling his hand rubbing my thigh…I was paralyzed again and was so sad that IT was going to happen again…I couldn’t move. He lifted my night gown and began touching me over my underwear. I was screaming on the inside. He kept going, touching, rubbing against me, going inside my underwear and getting very rough. He was really hurting me, but I couldn’t move. I felt him pull his pants and rub against me harder. I couldn’t let myself get raped…what if I got pregnant? I used all my strength to move over a little and pretend I was just moving in my sleep, but it wasn’t over yet..

My cousin moved next to me and started touching me inside my underwear. He was grunting a lot and I could feel his breath really hard on me. He pulled my hair and spit on me :( . He was rubbing against me again, and all I thought was, “What I did to deserve this? Why me?” He turned my face and started rubbing my lips with his finger. Then he started making out with me. I just held my breath. He started to touch my breasts, too.

At that moment I realized I was in my grandparents’ old house and that my grandfather died in this room. It also happened to be the anniversary of my grandfather’s death. I started praying in my head to him, begging him to help me to make this all stop. At that moment my cousin’s alarm clock rang for him to go to work. He sat up in bed, stroked my head once, and left.

I started cutting myself after this and burned myself in hot showers because I could still feel his hands on me. A few weeks later, I was sleeping in a tent with my 17 year old cousin, his mom, my brother and another cousin. I was next to the older cousin – he is around 40. I woke up with no pants on…I still don’t know if he did something to me. For some reason I feel more violated than the other times because the other times I was aware of what was happening. This time I don’t know what happened when I was actually asleep. Maybe something happened, maybe nothing did. I don’t know.

So, that’s what happened to me. I was molested four times and the fifth time is unknown…

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Sopchoppy, FL

8/10/12

It’s a constant struggle and a constant battle but after battling it for over five years, I can say that I am a survivor. It’s a constant mind game with yourself and the memories last a lifetime, or so it feels. When I was just fifteen years old I was molested by my Aunt and Uncle. I was making a trip to see them in Georgia which changed my life forever. This is my Father’s side of the family, which he passed away in 2005 so I was trying to get closer to this side of the family and remain in touch. 2007 is when I made this trip to see my Aunt and Uncle. I was there for 5 days; the first night I was there was the night that the trauma took place, they gave me alcohol and drugged me. The rest of my stay was a blur, and very hard to endure. Luckily I have good friends and family that stuck with me throughout this whole process. It has not been easy, but standing up for me and all the others who have been abused, this battle with the court system has been worth it!!! After a mistrial, and two years after the incident happened, I finally got a conviction. Being on the stand was another battle that I had with myself, not only was I re-victimized, but I’m trying to convince everyone of my story. There were other factors that were a part of my case or evidence, which consisted of pictures, videos, and “toys” that made my case stronger. They were given a sentence of 50 years for each of them. They are still in prison in Georgia, however, they are doing everything in their power to appeal and get out. All of the lower courts in the state of Georgia have denied them a right to an appeal and now they are moving on the U.S. Supreme court to petition on receiving an appeal. Hopefully our Great God will not allow this to happen and I will finally be at peace with myself, along with my family members and friends. Only time will tell, and until then I will try to remain calm and keep convincing myself to forgive and move on.

To everyone that has gone through this type of trauma, stay strong and push through these hard moments in life. I’m not sure why things of the nature happen to people, but there is a reason for everything. Don’t give up on yourself, you can do this! We all have a past, but don’t let this define you in a negative way, overcome it and be able to look back knowing that you have pushed through and become a survivor.
Just an uplifting note: I have completed my A.A. degree and I am now starting Florida State University to receive my bachelor’s degree, where I hope to go to law school to help victims overcome their fear.

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Palm Coast, Fl

7/26/12

I am a survivor of childhood abuse. I am 48 years old and am just now starting to deal with it.  The abuse caused me to develop severe PTSD and Dissociative Identity Disorder. The PTSD diagnosis was only made in the past 4 years and the DID diagnosis in the past 8 months. I am only now experiencing the flashbacks that are revealing the truths about what actually happened. This was at age 5. I actually have had bits & parts of memories (flashbacks) that point to abuse at 2.

I have been in & out of therapists’ offices & psych hospitals since I was 14. That started because of another abuse event. I was raped and became pregnant. The decision to terminate was made for me. It would not have been my first choice at all. I have experienced a lifetime of traumas—both sexual and non-sexual. You know where I could have changed things? If I had TOLD!! I just a couple of years ago admitted to having been abused physically by my parents. That’s when I began to realize that more abuses had taken place – it has been life changing.

I SURVIVED it! I have developed an unshakable faith in God that for me, is imperative to survive. I got sober. I had been abused horribly as a child and into adulthood. Why was I CHOOSING to abuse myself? So, that had to go. I try to stay positive and think before I talk. I have a real attitude problem at times. Counseling helps tremendously. I had to give up my control back then and it very well may have saved my life. But, I don’t have to give up control today. I am worth so much more than what those guys told me I had. I am worthy of feeling good, happiness, smiling, laughing, healthy love and so much more. I must remember to tell myself that every day. I was taught not to give up five minutes before the miracle happens. And I didn’t.

I got hit by a truck on my bike, which left me relearning how to walk, talk, write and eat. I feel like God got me through all that  happened because He has something really really great to do in my life. That’s one thing I hope others pick up on. We all made it through what we experieced for a reason. Finding out what that reason is is what drives me. I have turned my bad situation around to help one child. I want to help all the kids everywhere but if I touch one its a start. I am an abassador for BulliesOut–an anti-bullying organization, aNoteToMyKid where letters of unconditional love family members have for LGBTQ person in their lives, and am co-moderator for Jubliee–an youth outreach organization focused on antibullying. I can share my story of surviving insurmountable odds in hopes of empowering others to tell their story. I want to help give a voice to those that don’t have one. I am praying for all of us!!

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Vero Beach, Florida

7/16/12

When I was in 9th grade, going to 10th, my moms fiance every night would come into my room, try to take my bra off put his hands in my bra. He thought I was sleeping, but I wasn’t. Once. I woke up and he was on top of me and I told him to get off. It was like I was in a dream and I saw him. I would wake up with my bra strap undone and my pants zipper undone and button undone if I fell asleep with pants on. I went on happening for months. I only told one Girl.

One night he unstraped my bra and touched my breasts and licked them. He would turn the lights on and off and I didn’t know why. I told my friend and she said I had to tell the school officer so I said I would after our 3rd period. In our 2nd period were were passing notes and I was crying and I wanted to kill myself then and there. After a couple of hours my friend and I called the cops and I went to the police station and  told them what happened.

My mom didn’t believe me and my own sister called me a lying snitch. My mom’s fiancé’s sister and brother started writing negative stuff to me. A girl at my school found out and told a lot of people at school so I moved and my mom never did anything. She’s still with him.

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Vero Beach, Fl

7/11/12

When i was just about to be 5 i can remember everything so clear it’s kind of scary. My mom, sister and I moved in with my aunt and her three sons – aged 14, 15 and 17. We didn’t have money like everyone else. The weekend of my birthday was the start of something no one would ever know about. My birthday fell on a Friday that year and I knew my mom, sister and aunt would have to go to work that day and like always I would have to stay home with my cousins. I can remember my 14 and 15 year old cousins coming in my room that morning telling me my mommy, aunt and sister went to work and also to tell me happy birthday. I was always a happy baby and loved to be around people but that all changed that day.

When I finally got done eating my breakfast I asked my cousins if we could watch Blues Clues - I loved that blue dog. After I asked they said no, instead we would play a game. Me being a little girl I was so excited to see what this game was until we started to play. They called it house. They told me I was the mommy and that my 15 year old cousin was the daddy. They told me we would have to go to the bed room to play this game. When we got in the room they started to ask each other questions, I can only remember the one question that stuck out to me the most…”What if she tells someone or screams?” They put me on the bed and told me I would have to take my big girl panties off. I didn’t want to at all. At this point I knew this wasn’t going to be a game I wanted to play ever again. They forced my panties off and covered my mouth. After they got me to stop crying and kicking they told me I would be okay and that it would only hurt for a little bit but then start to feel good. My 14 year old cousin held me down and covered my mouth once again but this time it hurt everywhere. I kicked and screamed hoping someone would make them stop hurting me but that didn’t happen. It seemed like it went on forever. Finally when they got done they left me in my room crying. They told me if I said anything they would hurt me again. They did that for almost 3 years till finally we moved out!

When I was 12 I finally had a breakdown and just could hold it in much longer! I wrote my mom a note telling her what had happened and she didn’t do anything. I felt like she didn’t care and that it was my fault. Maybe I did something wrong. Maybe it was my fault. Maybe I could have done something different but then I realized I was 5 years old, how could I have ever fought back? I spent years and years holding it in, crying myself to sleep hoping someone would ask me if I was okay. I still have nightmares about it and even flash backs that sometimes I can feel. It’s scary and all the time I just want to believe it was all just a dream. It hurts to know that no one in my family understands but I know now that I’m not alone and that people have been through the same thing as me. I know now its okay to tell someone and I know it’s not my fault. I am strong enough to say now that I am who I am because of it!

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Tampa, Fl

7/2/12

I was abused by my step-father for 10 years, starting from the age of 7 all the way to 17. I am now 18 years old.

I still remember the first time I was abused and it haunts me constantly. I remember he told me not to tell even though I felt like it was wrong. He was supposed to be a man of God and lived a life of lies constantly lying to my mother and younger siblings. Around the age of 9 I wanted it all to stop, I told him to leave me alone. He apologized and for a little while left me to myself, he then came back and tried to bribe me with toys and candy as I got older it got worse. When ever I tried to stay away from him he bribed me with money and clothes, I would resist and tell him no but he didn’t stop. I would find ways to get out of the house or to be away from him as much as possible but it was so hard because my mother didn’t know what was going on. I would have nightmares of him and I would cry, whenever he saw me cry it was like nothing to him, it just made him angry. It got to the point where I would cry whenever my mother was leaving to go to work or even the store, I didn’t want to be left alone with him because I knew what was going to happen. I stopped crying in front of him because it made me feel weaker than I already was so whenever I was in my room at night, I would cry for hours.

When I was 17 I couldn’t handle it anymore, I told him to leave me alone and to stay away from me. He became furious and told me he was going to ruin my life. As months passed by he did just that, he wouldn’t let me hangout with my best friend and called us “lesbians” for wanting to spend time with each other. Whenever something went wrong he would yell at me and curse at me, he told me that everything I did was wrong and that I wouldn’t ever be anything good in life. One day he came home from visiting his mother from the hospital, he came in very angry and impatient. My mother told him that he needed to take my little sister to the store to get some supplies for a project, he did just that. After returning from the store my sister came in the room and told me she needed to tell me something that my step-father said, she told me that he said that he was going to kill me and my mother and that he hated us. When she told me that, I knew that we had to tell our mother.

While he was taking a shower my mother told her what he had said, she was furious. When he came out of the shower my mother confronted him, he raced towards the living room and yelled at my sister saying “You are not my daughter! You disappoint me!” My little sister went to her room crying while my mother and step-father fought. I went to her and I held her as she was crying, she held me and whispered in my ear saying ” There is something else I have to say but mom is going to hate me.” My heart dropped , I knew what she was going to say. My mom came in the room and hugged my sister, she told her that everything was going to be okay and that he didn’t mean what he had said. At that moment my sister looked at my mom and cried even more, she said ” Mom I have something else to tell you, dad had tried to touch me.” My mother was in shock and asked my sister if she was sure, I had a feeling that she was going to question my little sister and I was scared she wasn’t going to believe her so I decided to tell my mother what happened to me. My little sister and I cried, my mom kept asking me “Why didn’t you tell me?” All I could say was that I was scared.

My mother left the room and went up to him asking him if he had ever touched me and my sister and he replied with a “No.” My mother knew he was lying, she cried and slowly fell to the floor, my little sister and I went to her and held her as tight as we possibly could. My little brother went up to him and yelled at him, he knew he was lying. My brother forced him to pack up his things and leave the house before he called the police, so my step-father packed up and left. My mother gave me a couple of days to calm down from what had happen, then came up to me and asked me to tell her everything he did to me.

After I told her my story she asked me “Why? Why didn’t you ever tell me?” And I told her “I thought you would hate me, I thought I would be seperated from you, I thought you wouldn’t believe me because that’s what he told me. I would never want to hurt you and I thought you were happy with him, I didn’t want to mess that up.” I began to tremble and cry as I told her, she then held me and told me she would never hate me and that she loved me, she told me she never wanted me hurt. I kept telling her I was sorry and that it was all my fault and that I would make it up to her. She told me that nothing was my fault and that I was young and didn’t understand what to do. She then called the police, and ran an investigation. I am currently waiting to press charges towards him, I don’t want another girl to go through the same things as I did.

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Portugal

6/23/12

I was an extremely shy and lonely nine year old child. I was taught not to disobey adults; I was told by my parents that I was a perfect daughter, very well-behaved because I never complained, was very polite with everyone, used to play all by myself, quiet under the kitchen table (my favorite spot to play). They raised the ultimate people-pleaser, the perfect victim for a predator, who happened to be my uncle.
My younger brother was born with several health problems; my father emigrated to earn enough money to cover the health expenses. My mother was depressed and overwhelmed with the responsibility of raising a young girl and a sick baby. After the perfect victim, the perfect environment was set.
My uncle took care of me at that time. First, the uncomfortable questions, if I already had my period, if my body was changing… He used to say “when you have your period, you’ll want to be with boys, so I’m just teaching you.” The porn magazines and movies were meant to teach anatomy, then, very quickly he started touching my breasts, my genitals, and so on, and so on, always increasing the gravity of the attacks, for almost two years.
I learned almost instantly to withdraw during the attacks. To be absent minded, to almost literally “not-be-there”. I did not realize at the time, that I was training my brain to avoid intimacy at all costs, something that haunts me till now. Because of his words, which initiated almost all of the attacks, I kept repeating to myself “I’ll never want to be with boys in my life, never!”, so I refused human nature itself – I am now 36 years old. I never had a boyfriend.
Nobody in my family knows of this. I told my best friend my “horrible secret” at the age of 21 – the first time I talked about it was more than 10 years after it started. I still feel the guilt and the shame, the humiliations, besides all logical reasoning – I KNOW that it wasn’t my fault, but I still FEEL differently. The depth of the full effects is still unknown to me. I’ve been on therapy for two years now and slowly uncovering the layers.
If I knew how to defend myself, nothing would’ve happened. If I felt I could speak up, I wouldn’t be struggling now with my phantoms of isolation. That’s why I think your work here with Lauren’s Kids is so important. I believe most child sexual abuse is preventable. Educating children without scaring them is the key to end this pandemic tragedy. Thank you for letting me share my story and keep up the excellent work!

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Hialeah, Florida

6/20/12

I’m currently 17 years old now. The sexual abuse started when I was 10. Almost 11 all the way until i was 14 and a half. I was physically, sexually and emotionally abused. And the man who did all this is was my step father, who I trusted with my life, as a kid. He did all this to me, but yet, he is still roaming the streets, living his life, not working a single day and enjoying every luxury possible.
While my mother, brother and I live in a house with my grandparents who are retired. My mother drives from Hialeah to Homestead and back everyday, just so that she can pay for her gas and sometimes food. Yet the man formerly known as my step father lives off the rent money of a house that is properly my moms.
The abuse has been reported. Since January and because I wasn’t raped recently and have no physical proof justice can’t be served. Nothing is being done about this. It’s like no one cares. And it just makes it seem like it is completely ok for this to happen, even though I know it’s not.
I want to know what I can do to help myself and my family. I want this man to pay for all the damage he caused. I was subjected to humiliating things and I felt embarrassed because my body would react to the stimulation. I felt it was my fault for the 3 years I didn’t speak about it. Now I’m learning otherwise.

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Naples, Florida

6/12/12

I was abused by another child and it was labeled “normal curiosity.” I am sure this little girl was being abused sexually as she was demonstrating on me and my sister at the ages of 4 and 3 years old what was being done to her (she was also 4 years old).

At first it could have been natural childhood curiosity but when she showed up at our house in just her pajamas (she lived a few houses down) I am sure she was wanting help not to continue the abuse with me and my sister. Objects were used and adult sexual acts were engaged in repeatedly in my parents’ home (who ironically were a forensic psychiatrist and a psychiatric nurse). My sister and I were neglected so there was ample time for these encounters to take place downstairs in the garage. We enjoyed it at the time not knowing that it was abnormal because our bodies were simply responding to the stimulus which is what our bodies were designed to do. As an adult I have never been able to recover from these unfortunate events and am still suffering psychologically today. I cannot find treatment anywhere and I am 44 years old now. My sister won’t talk about it so I am not able to share with anyone what has happened.

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Margate, FL

Today was a blessed day for me because I met the president and founder of Lauren’s Kids who taught me that I am not the only one and shame should not be felt by the abused. I am 34 years old and I have periods of disbelief when I remember my many years of abuse. I was molested from the age of 5-13 off and on. I really felt ashamed because it was my own father and my stepfather.

I remember it all started as a tickling game and progressed to having me rub his erections. I was forced to get naked in front of him and allow him to rub and fondle me until he ejaculated. I was so afraid of him because he use to beat my mom. At age 10 he came to my bedroom and attempted to have intercourse with me and I screamed and my mom woke up. He abruptly got up and told me if I told her he will hurt us both. I was afraid and did not tell. My dad finally decided to leave my mother and after I told her of the abuse and she informed the authorities. He left and they could not find him.

My mom moved on and got remarried when I was 12, she told my stepfather all about what I suffered and he comforted me. A year later he raped me and told my mom I came in her room and thought I was her. I was so sick,embarrassed, humiliated and afraid. He was reported, went to jail and was released because they say there was not enough evidence because they believed his story. He bragged to his friends how he had me and I wanted the abuse.

I still remember all those feelings, I have not truly talked about it with anyone but my husband. I realize that it’s not my fault . I personally would like to thank Mr. Book because his words were a blessing today. EDUCATING MY SONS ABOUT CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE IS A TOP PRIORITY FOR ME.

THANK YOU!

 

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Patchogue, New York

6/4/12

I came across your website while doing some research online for my book.
I never looked up the statistics of sexual abuse. The subject was never brought up to me. So Im learning now at 32 years old that I am one of the 1 in 4 girls and also one of the 1 in 39million that have survived sexual abuse.
My story may not be as tragic as others that I have heard. Mine didnt last for years of continuous abuse. Mine was quick. It happened once and I never saw the people again in my life. Almost like the first time you fall off your bike. You recall the memory – that you got hurt badly, but just becomes a memory.
The first time I was sexually abused I was about 18 months old. Its amazing at how much I can remember at that age. Being that its my first memory. It was by a couple that my mother was friends with. A lady with red hair named sherry and she had a black boyfriend. We stayed at their house in virginia, Im not sure if it was a day or two that we were their. One night I didnt want to eat my dinner, I kept saying that I wanted watermelon instead. I never got the watermelon though because I didnt finish my dinner. I was asleep on their couch with my mother. They woke me up and brought me to the kitchen. They asked me if I wanted watermelon. I said yes. Sherry then got on the kitchen table and sat near the end of the table and spread her legs in front of me and her boyfriend told me there you go, theres some watermelon. I felt very confused. But they kept telling me that her vagina was watermelon and that I should lick it. It came to a point that I did. The taste and smell was horrible. I dont remember for how long this happened or if anything else was done. But once they were done they brought me back to my mother who was still sleeping on the couch. The next day we left.
The second time I was molested was when I was 9 years old. I wanted to sleep over a friends house one weekend. My friend had a sectional couch that we slept on and she slept on one end and I on the other. In the middle of the night I felt great pressure. I couldnt move. So much pressure that my fingers locked up. I soon realized that someone was putting their fingers in me. I was scared, I kept my eyes closed and tried to stay quiet like I was still asleep. But the pressure was so great that I had to move. Once I moved they quickly pulled their fingers out and walked away. I remember smelling alcohol. I sat up on the couch when they walked away and I looked down the hall and saw my friends older brother go into his room. He must have been about 15 or 16 years old. I went home the next day and sat on the toilet for a long time asking myself if I was raped or not. Nobody ever talked to me about this so I didn’t know what had happened to me. I figured if I wasn’t raped then nobody needed to know. I never told my mother or father. I never went to my friends house again, I never played with her again.
Those are the two times that I was molested. Im healing now, realizing now in my life that this was horrible. I have an 18 month old now and I can’t imagine this happening to him. I have 2 step-children that I have talked to about sexual abuse. I need to do my part as a parent to try and prevent this from happening to my children.
Thank you, Lauren, for doing what you’re doing by bringing awareness to kids. I wish in the 80′s they had something like this. What matters is there is something now for the next generation.

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Champaign, IL

5/31/12

It all started when my older sister & I lived with my grandparents because my father was busy running his two businesses and my mother who worked for him. I was 2 years old when the abuse first started. My sister is two years older than me and she was always out of the house at preschool and after school programs. My cousin, who lived with my grandparents attended the high school that was ever so conveniently placed across the street from where my grandparents lived.

My grandpa would be at work the whole day leaving my grandma to attend to me. My cousin would walk to school and come home for lunch every day. He would take me up into his room because he knew that my grandma would always fall asleep during her soap operas. He would shut & lock the door, hand me my cabbage patch doll & turn on Teletubbies & to be quiet. It was not right. & I knew that. But I was terrified of what he would do. Once I screamed & told him no & he slapped me so I learned quickly to never speak again.

I will never forget the glowing stars upon the ceiling & the way he smelled & looked. The abuse started when I was 2 and went on until i was roughly 7. It happened every single day of those 5 years except on occasions on the weekend. This may sound disgusting – but I would poop & pee myself all the way until I was 7 so that he would not want to touch me when he got home. But nothing I did ever stopped him. He would just clean me up & get angry that I wasted time & I would get it ten times worse. The worst part of all is that I loved my grandparents. I always wanted to go to their house because they were my everything. My role models. They taught me right from wrong. They put me to bed & tucked me in. I felt safe around them until my cousin came. They trusted him. Everyone in the family trusted him. He almost got caught one time when my grandma woke up from her nap & came up stairs wondering where I was. He threw on my pants & told me “do not open your f*****g mouth” & he told my grandma that I was sleeping & watching T.V. She was extremely pissed that the door was locked & that it was taking him so long. But she didn’t ask any further questions.

I started living with my parents & older sister at our house in 2000 when my little sister was born. I was six when she was born & if I needed to be babysat then the abuse would still occur. I kept my mouth shut from everyone for 7 years. My cousin was deployed to Iraq & I would be forced to talk to him on the phone. (I used to secretly hang up on him after I said hi & just sat & talked to myself so my mother wouldn’t think anything). I began having flashbacks while he was away & I didn’t understand why. I then realized I had convinced myself it was a dream – that the abuse was all a dream. I went in my older sister’s room that night & asked if she liked our cousin. We were never close before & had never had a serious talk. She finally got it out of me & bursted into tears. She explained that it happened to her to & that she was sorry that she didn’t protect me. After that I didn’t feel okay. I became a heavy cutter. I cut everyday & still do (but not to the extent that I used to). I have tried to kill myself multiple times, I became a drug addict to the point the doctor said to my face I don’t know how you’re still here & I was admitted into a psych ward at 16. The worst part is – my sister & I had to be bridesmaids in his wedding, and the marriage didn’t even last a year.

I went through intensive therapy while I was in the psych ward & continued it after. I finally told my psychologist & then my mother. My sister resented me for telling at first, but now she thinks that it is the best thing that I could have done. We are now inseparable & I want to protect my younger sister from him. My father still does not know to this day & probably will never know. My family likes to keep emotional things to ourselves, which is why I resorted to cutting & drugs.

My mother & aunt confronted my cousin when he returned from Iraq & he confessed. Nothing happened to him. Nothing. I feel like I destroyed my “perfect” family for nothing. I still feel like what happened was my fault & that the disfunction of my family is upon myself too.

I will always be triggered & I will always struggle. But that does not mean that I cannot overcome.

This is only part of my story.

But I stood up & spoke out.

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Mt. Vernon, NY

5/19/2012

I experienced 3 different situations of abuse/molestation from 3 different people, all who were family members. I grew up fairly poor in the islands but I had a happy childhood. My sister and I shared a room and one night when I was about 6 or 7 I was laying in bed and I remember my much older cousin climbing into my bed. We were always close and playful, but that night he was more playful because he started to touch my breasts and my privates. When I think about it now, he was aroused and rubbing his privates against me as well as making my touch him. I was scared and didn’t know what to do so I didn’t tell anyone. It continued for awhile until he moved away one day. He also did the same thing to my sister but my sister and I never talked about it.

Around the same age, or maybe a little bit older, another much older cousin was pushing me on a swing and he grabbed and rubbed my breasts while I was sitting on the swing. He had never done that before and it caught me off guard and I remember running away. He never touched me again.

The last time I was molested was after I left the islands and moved to the U.S.A. when I was 11. My mother became close friends with the home owner who we rented an apartment from and after a few years they got married. He was an elderly man, probably in his 70′s. Before my mother married him and before we moved out of our apartment and into his, I would cook his dinners for him a few days a week. One day when I was in the kitchen and just finished cooking his dinner, he came into the kitchen and walked up behind me…the whole time he was aroused. He began gyrating his privates on me and rubbing my breasts, he also tried to kiss and after letting go of the shock, I pulled myself away and ran outside. I was scared and didn’t know what to do so I tried to avoid him as much as possible. After he and my mother got married, he didn’t really try anything but one other time he tried to kiss me again.

After all three incidences happened I never told anyone. And they’ve affected me to this day at 35 yrs old. I hid the situations in the back of my mind for years until I was about 18 when I met my first love and simple things like kissing caused me to cringe or try to avoid contact. It was then that I realized that my behavior connected to the molestation from when I was younger. While I was sexually abused in terms of being forced to have sex with my molester or engage in other acts, what happened to me still affected my life greatly. I never confronted my molesters about what they did and the “hard to believe” thing is that I still see my cousin who first molested me and we laugh and talk as if everything is ok and as if nothing happened. I don’t think I will ever confront him about what he did to me.

My only concern about being molested is that I have and still do engage in promiscuous sexual activity with a lot of men. I’m not sure why I do it because I always feel bad about myself and feel worthless after I do it, but I still do it. Sometimes I wonder if I think that’s all I’m worth is being used by men. The only thing I hope for myself is that one day I will find the courage to seek counseling and accept that it wasn’t my fault and that I don’t deserve to be used or treated badly.

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Tampa, FL

5/19/2012

I would like to start my sharing with these words that brings meaning to my life’s journey:
Pearls are the product of pain…
It is a symbol of stress~ a healed wound…
A precious, tiny,  jewel conceived through irritation, born of adversity, nursed by adjustments.
Had there been no wounding, no irritating interruption, there could have been no pearl.

Per Dictionary.com, a “victim” is defined as a person who suffers from a destructive or injurious action, one who is deceived or cheated by he dishonesty of others, one that suffers harm from another or from some adverse act or circumstance.

I was born to a teenager of 16 years. I was told by my mother that I was a “product” of a rape. I am not sure what was the ultimate decision (s) in keeping me, marrying my father, and then having my little brother but despite everything I am truly grateful that she did.

My first memory of molestation was at the tender age of 5 years.  My innocence stolen by a “friend” of the family on my father’s side.
Here I first became what one calls a “victim” without even knowing what a victim was.
From 7 to 9 years of age, two blood related cousins would take turns touching and molesting me.
Here is where “incest” was added to my young life.
When I was about 8, a stranger had somehow convinced me to go with him behind a wooden fence where he proceeded to expose himself and masturbate in front of me. I had no idea at that time what he was doing and when I went to run because this felt scary he grabbed and would not let me go. He finished his business an threatened me with if I told anyone he would come back and hurt me but I ran straight home and told my mom and the police was called out. I don’t know what happen after that concerning this stranger but what would happen later that year out did all that had touched my young life up to that point.

At age 9, my mom had moved my brother and I in with her then boyfriend who I never felt comfortable around. During my Christmas vacation we  had gotten one of the biggest Christmas trees ever and I can remember feeling so excited about this amazing tree.
So of course I tried to stay up as long as I could but fell asleep in front of our beautiful tree. Next thing I remember i was being picked up and carried to my room by my mother’s boyfriend but when he placed me into my bed, I was fully awakened by the feeling of fingers inside my little body. This time this violation made me physically ill and I woke up the next morning crying and hurting  between my legs. So i had built up enough courage to tell my mother. I believed if i told her she would protect and defend me just as she did when the stranger forced me to watch him please himself.
But unfortunately this was not the case. She didn’t believe me, she chose his word over mine ( he did eventually admit it when I was 26 years old). Even worse she ended up marrying this man and had my two brothers and one sister whom I do love with all my heart and cherish them deeply.
Now holding the title of my stepfather, he tried again when I was 11 years old but I was able to get away for him.
Here I experienced what I felt was betrayal of a mother and the pain of rejection and a new level of shame had now been added to my young life. Her choice not only broke my young spirit but had stolen one of the most important relationships in a human life.

From that moment I never again felt any trust towards her  or felt safe in her care. The love a daughter towards her mother had died the day she chose to believe the word of a man over her own child. I thought “family” was suppose to keep me save and protect me from the outside world but who protects me from them?
From all this trauma, I struggled with myself, with loving who I was and caring for my life. My way out,  my only response at that time was taking a steak knife and cutting both my arms, which oddly enough brought comfort to me by exchanging my internal pain with this external one.
By 13, I began to drink heavily and started to experiment with drugs. At 14, I became sexually active, giving my virginity to someone I barely knew. I then began  my daily cocaine binges to stay in a constant state of numbness. I became suicidal and took a box cutter and attack left arm cutting myself very deeply but as you can see I did not fade into history instead I went to school and my guidance counselor saw my bandages and asked me what happened and of course I lied but she didn’t believe me and the authorities were called and I was taken to the hospital, given 5 stitches and then removed from my grandmothers’ home. So for the summer of 1988 I went from group home to group, adding the trauma’s of physical assault, robbery, and possible rape. After 4 months I was given back to the custody of my grandmother and father.

But at 16 years old, I met a man who would out do all the others who had stolen pieces of my soul. He was a 26 year old drug dealer who befriended me during a very critical and vulnerable time in my life. He said all the right things, he did all the right things. He appeared sincere and genuinely concerned with me. Through this friendship, a deeper relationship was born and I allowed myself to fall on love with him ( well what I thought was love).
He brought my broken life, a feeling of safety, protection, and love. I has convinced myself that I had FINALLY found someone who would protect from the world and from my family.
I believed that if I gave of myself freely the he would continue to provide me the one thing I so desperately longed for, to be loved and to belong and bring some form of purpose to my then useless life.
A few months into this relationship, I became ill for almost a week straight, not being able to hold down any food or liquids (including water). Come to find out I was 23 1/2 weeks pregnant. Oh goodness, I remember how joyous I felt. How happy I was to know I have a life growing inside tummy. A baby that I would mine. I was so looking forward to sharing this life altering news with my boyfriend.
I went to his house full of excitement and already thinking on “our” future. He greeted me sweetly so it was easy for me to say to him that we are going to have a baby. After these words left my lips, the feeling in the room changed. He said absolutely nothing and had an expression on his face I had never seen before. Then after about 5 minutes he calmly got up, lit a cigarette and began to pace, all the while saying nothing. He then broke the silence with this crazy question, “so you want to keep this baby?”
Totally confused by this, I answered him, “Of course, I want to keep this baby!” He then said nothing and proceeded to his bedroom closet. He went and came out with $500 in cash and threw it on the bed next to me. I was at a total loss a d asked the most obvious question, “What is this for?”. He answers in a tone I had never heard before and loudly said, ” TO GET AN ABORTION!”
First thing I remember saying to myself was this man is crazy! I will NOT have an abortion. I kinda lost it with my words and took the money and threw it back at him with the words, I don’t need you or your dirty money. So I got up and began to walk towards the door and before I realized it, this man, who I had convinced myself loved me with all that he was, grabbed me, picked me up off the floor and threw me on his bed. I honestly had no idea what just happened and what was about to happen. But I was not afraid at this point, I was furious and so full of rage at how he was treating me. I went to get up and he push me hard by my head back on the bed. Now extreme fear set in. I began to fight him, scratch him, beat him, but with absolutely no effect. This man was about 6’4, maybe 230 and I was only 5’3 and about 160 but with every bit of strength I had, I fought him. But he was just too strong. He then places his pillow over my face to muffle my yelling and screaming. Now I am fighting just to get air in mt lungs. But on top of all this, he did the unthinkable, unimaginable, and incomprehensible, he ripped my pants off my body while they were still buttoned and zipped, moved my panties over and began to RAPE me. ME, in the same bed I had given myself freely to him. The same pillow I slept on was now being used as a weapon by the very man I gave my all to. I can still remember all he said, now he smelled, and the extreme amount of pain my body was experiencing. Then just as I began to feel lightheaded and possibly blacking out, it was done. He took the pillow off my face and I took the deepest breathe of air that my lungs were starving for. I remember the sharp pain I was experiencing in my chest, the fuzziness in my head, and the intense radiating
pain and soreness coming from the lower half of my body. It felt like I had been punched in my stomach and ripped down below. But there I was half naked, humiliated, violated, and completely “AWE” struck. Per the Merriam-Webster dictionary, it provides this negative defintion: An overwhelming feeling of fear produced by that which is grand and perplexed. Shocked, stunned, and dazed, to strike with fear and terror.
After a few moments, I slowly tried to get up off the bed but the pain was intense. I didnt say one word to him. I didnt even look up at him.
He then threw the money at me again and without even thinking of his possible reaction or any further comsequences, I took the money and threw it back at him again. He then told me to get dressed and get in the car. I didn’t even have time to look at myself. The entire car ride I cannot remember (maybe the trauma had already set in). When we reached my grandmother’s house, he reached over me, opened my door and told me to get out. He tossed me like a bag of trash being left on the side of the road. I neither spoke to nor told anyone at this point. I sat in my tub in total disbelief on what just happened to me.
About 3 days after this horrific event, I noticed blood on my panties. Terror began to grip me but I dismissed as part of the aftermath of the rape. About 4am on that 3rd day, the most extreme feeling of pain, i had never experience before, woke me up from my sleep. I sat up quickly filled with terror and out of nowhere i hear what sounds like a rubber band being popped. An overwhelming feeling of dread took over and I quickly got up off my bed and when I placed my feet on the floor and say up, a pool of bloody fluid poured out of me onto the floor. I had ABSOLUTELY NO idea what was happening to me. I walked quickly down the hallway with a trail of bloody fluid behind me. I locked the door and began to fill the tub up with warm water. I sat in the water and within seconds a pain hit my body with such an intensity it literally took my breathe away.
Terrified, shaking, and probably in some form of shock I opened eyes just in time to witness a tiny little person floating on top of the water and going towards the drain. I could not believe my eyes. I was just horrified and distraught. It felt like time has slowed down and I was able to grab my baby before it could go down the drain. Mystified, I began to examine this little person as I continue to bleed in the tub. It was a little boy. He had brown eyes but no eyebrows, his hands and feet were all there, tiny, but all there. He has an outline of a nose, a tiny shape of mouth, and no outer skin. His tiny umbilical cord was still attached to his tiny belly. I can vividly remember my 1st son. All I could do was weep. I then noticed I was sitting in red water. I slowly got up out of the tub and sat on the tiolet. I then felt something else come out and dropped in the tiolet (which I now know,was the placenta). I placed my dead son in some yellow tissue paper and because the bleeding would not stop though the pain had subsided. No one and I mean no one knew of this pregnancy but I knew I needed help so I had no choice but to wake up my father and his girlfriend. So I knock and he opens the door and sarcastically asks “What’s the problem?”
With no strength in me to even speak, I just opened my right hand revealing his dead grandson as blood is dripping down my legs.
The next set of words I hear from this man, the one given to me as a father, broke whatever was left of me. He said, I got what I deserved opening my legs, how much of a whore and slut I was and with absolutely NO remorse or concern, he yells at me to get in the car and the entire car ride to the ER he expressed his disgust with me and saids he hopes this has taught me a lesson. See he knew nothing of the rape which I know caused the loss of my son from the trauma.
Maybe because of the rejection from my mother and the disregard of my father, I never reported the rape, I never asked for help, and until recently (21 years later) am I breaking the silence in my life.
I have left myself no options in looking back or sideways or allowing my past to keep me bound to shame, guilt, and despair. No longer do I make excuses for who I am (the good, the bad, & the ugly),and for what I believe. Forgiveness was the only way to truly heal and love the little girl of my past and the woman of my present. I believe with all that I am, everything that had touched my life has purpose, destiny, and meaning. I can now look back at where I came from, all the darkness, trauma, shame, guilt, despair, and self-hate and sincerely love and appreciate the reflection looking back at me. I am worth this life, the love of a husband, the love of my children, the love of family and the love of myself.
Per Dictionary.com, a survivor is defined as one who remains alive, a person who continues to function or prosper in spite of opposition, hardship, or setbacks.
I end my story with this, “I was a victim for a little while but I AM a SURVIVOR!”
I am proof that healing exists, unconditional love exists, hope, happiness, WHOLENESS all exists and are all obtainable.
God took His broken little pearl and used her brokenness to be a light for those still in their darkness.

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Pensacola, FL

5/19/2012

I was sexually,physically,and emotionally abused from around 3 until age 19 years old. I was brainwashed into believing I was keeping our family together and safe from the evils of this world. I am now 33 and have entered a helping profession. I have overcome. He is gone as of 1 year ago. I never told:(

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Kendall, FL

4/23/12

I am Lauren’s cousin. I have never told my story. Not because I was ashamed. But because, up until the last few years, I didn’t believe that my abuser, or the abuse he wielded over me as a child, affected who I am today. I thought I was one of the lucky ones who was strong enough to “deal” with it, without scars. I was wrong. So wrong.

I was 9 years old. An awkward, overweight, people-pleasing elementary school student. Academic overachiever. Socially inadequate. He was the older brother of my best friend. He was also our babysitter. What started off as an “innocent” game of hide and seek became the way he made time to be alone with me. To hide in dark closets and bathtubs and behind locked doors. At the same time I was innocently learning “where babies come from”, I was walking around school, convinced I had “made a baby” and too ashamed to tell anyone.

These are the lessons my abuser taught me~ that people (especially men) are not to be trusted, that the most valuable thing I had to offer was my body (which I hated, anyway), that no one and nowhere constituted a “safe place”, and that I am helpless and unlovable. To this day, there are triggers that take me right back…my mother’s hairbrush, the smell of Elmer’s glue…all elements much too graphic to speak about.

I have spent a lifetime in therapy, for this and other issues that shaped my life. I have come a very long way in healing. But, I have discovered that my scars are not only real, but at times, not very well hidden. While I am a very mild mannered person, not easily angered, if I pass by someone who resembles my abuser (even though I know he in no longer alive), I shake, and feel a rage that is both unfamiliar and terrifying. When I hear stories in the media about children being abused, in ANY way, I can feel the fury in my blood. The anger and hurt is palpable. I have never thought myself capable of inflicting harm on another person. In fact, I am a nurse. A hand-holder. A healer. But, show me a child who has been physically harmed by anyone, and well…there is a reason why I would never own a firearm.

Why tell my story now, at 46 years old? Because, every time I see Lauren’s name, her book, a sign or a media event, I am reminded that we are related, not just by blood, but by a bond no one should share. I wish that someone would have told me that it was “Okay to Tell”. That I wouldn’t have been judged, but protected. I want people to know that the victims of abuse come from all walks of life, all kinds of families, and no one is immune. There are only a handful of people who know what happened to me as a child. Those who don’t know will, most likely, be shocked. I am the face that gives comfort, hugs, support, encouragement, advice, love. I AM THE FACE OF SEXUAL ABUSE.

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West Palm Beach, FL

4/22/12

Up until this past February, I had no hope that my life would ever change. I never thought that I would ever be able to let someone in, and I never believed that I would be believed and offered help to stop the abuse. It was a poster positioned right accross from the toilet in a bathroom at an E.R. in Broward County about speaking out about domestic violence.

Then, when the nurse came to my room and asked me general questions about my health and one of them was “Do you feel safe at home, or are you being abused in any way?” the flood gates behind my eyes gave way. All my built-up tears that I had minimized and taught myself to forget about for so many years poured down my face and neck I couldn’t stop it. I tried. She put her hand on my shoulder, and told me it was ok to let someone know, that there were people who WANTED to help.

My first reaction was that nobody could help me. I WAS OWNED, I WAS A POSSESSION, A PLAY THING. Right now, two months later, I am almost positive I that I own myself and I am worth more than the life I lived.

The case turned federal, considered a child exploitation case. It’s more serious than I thought. At seven years old, my dad took my virginity and my innocence, and then over and over following until I was 10, when I was sold to a man in New Jersey for the purpose of prostitution. At 12, I was traded and went to a man in New York City. I remained under lock and key with him until February, when I was transported from that ER to a domestic violence safehouse in Deerfield Beach, called Women in Distress.

At the end of March, I moved to transitional living in West Palm, where I now have six months to collect my thoughts, get counseling, follow up with legal proceedings and develop and stengthen the woman in me who is beautiful, courageous, strong, meaningful and MY OWN PERSON.

At 22 years old, I haven’t experienced all the stuff other young women my age have because of the lifestyle and conditions I was in, because of the abuse. My life starts today, it can be anything I want it to be. I can do or be anything anything I want. I am free!

Thank you Palm Beach County Victim Services and my advocate, Sandra. They were there when everyone else pretended they didnt see what was happening to me, or pretended not to know about it. Because of them, NOW I HAVE THAT HOPE!

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Naples, FL

4/17/12

My grandfather was my favorite person in the whole world. I was four and “his little red-head.”"He takes her everywhere with him,” people would say. He did. He worked for the state of Illinois agricultural department and would take me out in the country and molest me. I was so very young and I remember both of my grandparents warning me about the man next door…”He does bad things to little girls,” and the whole time Grandpa was touching me. He told me that this was our special secret and to never tell anyone. I loved him then so I didn’t.

When I was older, around 10 , my grandparents came to live with us and the touching began again. One day while my parents were both at work, my grandmother announced that she was going to the store. She had not pulled out of the driveway when grandpa pulled me into their bedroom and this time attempted to penatrate me with his penis. My grandmother must have suspected something because she came home and broke in on us. My grandpa left the room without uttering a word, but my grandma told me that if I ever said anything to my parents that she would tell them that it was my fault, so I never spoke a word.

After that, my grandpa had little use for me, which broke my heart.

I have a younger sister. We are four years apart in age and my grandpa would give her candy and play with her, but not me. One day, I walked in to see him trying to put his hand down my sisters panties. I went and got my father’s gun, and would have most likely shot him if my father had not kept the gun empty while it was in the house.

My sister and I ran to my parents bedroom and cried in each others’ arms. We never told anyone and even buried talking about it with one another until recently. We are now both in our 50′s and have both had relationship issues. I never felt free from the guilt I felt until she and I sat up late one night and talked it through.

Speak out, tell your story, seek help……and if someone comes to you with their story, LISTEN. Thank you for listening to mine.

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Jacksonville, FL

4/17/12

I just finished Lauren’s book, and the timing is almost scary. I was molested from the time I was 11 to 13 (so end of fifth grade, which was early 2002 until the end of seventh grade in late may of 2004). I was homeschooled for eighth grade because public school was “making me” aggressive, anti-social, self-conscious, and my straight A’s slipped to unacceptable B’s & C’s (all this according to my parents). Unlike Lauren, I didn’t tell my family…there was, and is, a lot of turmoil in the house that prevents it…there is a lot of instability, and I don’t feel I can add to it for them.

My freshman year in high school, I was sexually assaulted by the boy I had been dating, and once again my world was rocked. In middle school, other than controlling my intake of food and losing 30 lbs., I had begun cutting (on my shoulder with a safety pin, so not noticeable in FL). After this boy began physically, emotionally, and sexually abusing me, these things only intensified. I was new at my Catholic high school (2 years of public middle school and suddenly I can’t fit with the people I used to know..I’m…”different”…for lack of a better word). I was in NJROTC program (at dad’s insistence), and even though that boy was in it too, the only two people to notice a change were also in that unit. My best friend and a guy friend were my support system, but I didn’t tell them about middle school. In a lot of ways, they saved me from myself. That guy friend and I are 21 now and married, and my best friend is still just that, but because of physical abuse in her home, we opened up more to each other as time went on…we needed each other.

After high school, I began FSU in fall of 2009 with my now husband. That spring, when Lauren’s first inaugural walk wet on, I was in a final so close to the capitol building that I could hear some of the speeches when the wind blew right. We had been getting emails for so long about it, but I had blown it off. I rushed through my final and tried to make it over before it all had ended…still in my car (waiting on that darn Tallahassee rain), I drove as close as TPD would allow and kind-of just sat there and felt relieved that I could take this all in alone.

I went home and was supposed to have a dinner date with “My Man” (the name he put in my phone for himself to make me smile one day after revealing my past…and I haven’t changed it)…well…I got to our apartment and just sat quietly. He knew something was up, and asked if it was about middle school of the boy from freshman year. “Yes” was all I could say in a bewildered tone. He sat with me and just held me, and the more he did that, the more came out of my mouth. That night was the first night I slept through the night, and he (with his own blanket) slept next to me. You see, we shared a 2/2 because my father is over-protective, fearing that the stereotypical creepy guy in his 50′s will attack me..but we each had our own bedroom. We could’ve easily had one…except one thing…I couldn’t fall asleep with him in the room, and if I did, I woke up in a massive panic thinking he was going to do something. After that night, as long as he had his own blanket, I would let him hold me at night, especially when the nightmares got bad…as a psychology and criminology double-major, it was hard to hear my story sooo many times a semester and still feel so helpless.

I should have pushed harder to report my abuse – I tried once and was accused by the 7th grade administrator that I was just trying to sully an athlete’s reputation…I couldn’t have cared less about it. I take full responsibility and certainly feel it for any victim after me. I could have and should have prevented this. For the boy in high school, I wish I could have communicated my fears and drawn better boundaries (I don’t know if it would’ve actually helped, but I feel guilt for not trying). I am no longer angry for what was done. I see that I am meant to be a teacher, and to be the advocate I wanted so badly, and have begun by being a victim advocate at UNF where I feel like I can do some good.

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Rockaway, NJ

4/10/12

My daughter was sexually abused by her father 16 years ago. On a beautiful spring afternoon my six year old daughtger came home from school and was crying. She told me her father had laid on top of her. The thoughts that raced through my head at that time cannot be explained. I believed something happened to her but I didn’t know what. She wouldn’t tell me. I called her father at work and asked him what he did to her to make her so upset. Two months later I went to court and received a restraining order as a result of him taking me down to the ground in front of my three children. I went to a counselor who called my children’s supervising therputic counselor at that time. She called DYFS and I had to bring my daughter in to be questioned at that time. The counselor said she didn’t think anything happened to my daughter at that time. I brought my daughter back into DYFS and demanded to see the counselor my daughter had just spoken to. I was upset. I wanted action. The counselor said to me at that time that “nothing that bad could have happend to my daughter compared to how I was acting in their office.” I was livid and called my children’s superivising theraputic counselor. The following week I brought my daughter back to DYFS where the counselor and a detective questioned my daughter again. My ex husband was arrested that afternoon. My daughter did not want to testify. My ex pleaded to endangering the welfare of a minor and Megan’s law applied. It took my daughter fifteen more years before she would tell me in detail what her father did to her. This was after a very serious attempt on her life. My ex had been contacting her trying to convince her everything was in her mind. Again we went to court to obtain a restraining order for my daughter.

I cannot express enough how important it is to LISTEN to someone who reveals they have been sexually abused and take action. I wish more that anything none of this happened to our family. My daughter is graduating college in a few weeks. She is going on to graduate school. This has not been easy for her. She has spent a lifetime in counseling. She is an active member of NAMI and is on medication for bipolar disorder. She has worked hard to overcome the abuse she suffered as a child. I wish I could have saved her from the sexual abuse she endured. I will never understand sexual abuse. I do know there are steps we can take to educate the public and help protect our loved ones.

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Portland, OR

4/10/12

I am a survivor. The sexual abuse was from my father. I’m tired of being silenced about it in my family, in my culture, in my self. This is the time to speak up, and have faith in my self. I am tired of worrying if I trigger someone in a conversation. If I do, I offer a compassionate heart and ears to help you get through the trigger. Together, we speak up and remind ourselves we are not alone!

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West Palm Beach, Florida

4/2/12

I didn’t even know I was a survivor of this until December of 2012, when I was reading about Sexual Abuse because I wanted to be able to help women and children with this issue- though at the time I didn’t understand why I felt that way.

I was sexually abused when I was under the age of seven- I think I was five, I don’t really remember. I think it was only one time- and because I don’t know for sure, I want to believe that.

It was the teenage boy neighbor, I don’t know or remember his name, I only remember his mother’s name. And no last name either.

I don’t think I was raped – but he masturbated me, and performed oral sex on me.

So yeah, that’s my story.

I am still dealing with it…I want to really help people though, still…

I’ve only know about this for about four or five months. I’ve told my parents, though, and they are being supportive.

I want to get counseling, but at the same time feel kinda weird about it.

So I guess that’s my story.

I’m 20 now, and because of my faith, I know that God will use this for good and that even though I don’t understand how or why this happened, I know that he will help me.

Thank you for listening.

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Branford, CT

4/1/12

Thank you for your book, Lauren. It has been a great comfort to me. I am a 45 year-old, happily married, blessed mother of 2 sons. My family is the joy in my life. However, my family of origin was the nightmare of my life.

I am the youngest of 5 children. We grew up in a very strict, privileged, religious home. with private school educations. The house looked great on the outside. The inside was hell. My parents were physically and verbally abusive. My 17 year-old brother began molesting me when I was 9. The abuse lasted until I was 12. Your book made me cry because someone else knew why I couldn’t tell. So many people asked “why didn’t you say something sooner?” They don’t get it. The house of cards would have crashed to the ground and it was my job to keep them standing up. We had mental illness, drug abuse, homosexuality and incest in that house and my parents made sure it was swept so far under the rug it went through the floor.

I finally spoke up to my parents when I was 12, the pain was becoming unbearable. I was told never to tell another soul. My brother did not admit to the abuse, but never laid a hand on me again, except to beat me. I coped by developing eating disorders and alcoholism. I entered a psych ward at 25 for severe depression. I finally told a social worker what had happened, but never got the chance to confront my brother as the social worker promised. You see, when he was confronted by the “professionals,” he said he’d been sexually abused by another older sibling. They let him go home with a hug. The system has not done a lot for me. I functioned on my own.

I eventually got sober 13 years ago, married a wonderful man and gave birth to two beautiful sons. Yet inside, the anxiety was chewing me to bits. It wasn’t until both of my parents died that I felt free enough to seek therapy. It’s been a year now, a hard torturous year of therapy, and I have a ways to go. I am a good wife and mother, but I want to to be more than that. I want to be a happy and serene person in my soul.

Right now it’s a process. Your book helped me tremendously. I don’t believe God put me on this earth to be miserable, and it’s time to put the blame where it deserves to go – on my brother’s shoulders. Whether he thinks so or not, I KNOW IT IS NOT MY FAULT. It’s taken me 32 to years to actually be able to feel that sentence. Progress is slow, but I don’t give up hope. Thank you again, and my prayers to anyone who suffers this pain. You are not alone and it’s not your fault.

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Warner Robins, GA

3/27/12

At 3 I was sexually molested, then at 6 by a friend’s step-dad. Then at 11, I started to babysit for a family – the father started to sexually abuse me, at lest 3 times a week…I think his wife knew what he was doing. I am the youngets of 5 children. My parents did not care what I did or were I was, so when this man sterted to say things to me, I took the bait. Like so many of us, he was grooming me. I would see him beat his kids…I was trying to keep them safe, and stay alive myself.

I did not tell anyone. My behavior at shcool got bad and I got kicked out of school. No one asked me what my problem was – by the way, I was born in the U.K. I tried to kill myself at 16, still no help. This man got his oldest child pregnant. At this time, he made me marry him, so at 19, I become the step-mother for 7 kids. Still, I told no one what was going on in that house.

He let me – why, I dont know – come over here to the USA. I met a man here, my current husband. We became close and I told him some of what I was going through. I think I was telling him so he would know just how dirty and bad I was. I was pushing him away. This man belived me 100%. I came home to the U.K. and divorced my abuser, but still no one knew what went on. I had to watch were I went – this man was not happy with me.

Well, I have been married to my current husband for 19 years. We both went back to the U.K. about 4 years ago and I went to the police and told them about what had happened to me. I wanted them to stop him from doing it to other kids. This is what happened…

They took video of me, looked in to taking him to court. They belived me and arested him, but he, of course, deined it all. They asked his daughter if they could do a DNA test on the child. At this time the child was a late teen, and had been put up for adoption. The mother found the teen, but she would not let them do the DNA testing…this would have easily proved that her dad was not her child’s father, but by saying no, the police knew I was right. The case was put to the crown prosecution. They looked it over and said that they did not think they could get a good outcome in court and did not want to put me through a hearing. In the way I can understand this, it was his word against mine. I was upset, I wanted my chance to stand up and let people know what he was doing. I was told that if any other people come forword with the same thing about him, then they would have him in court – with me as well. So far no one has come forward.

I am 48 now. I still have anger problems. I do get some help, but not as much as I need. I have bipolar and PTSD. I would give my life to help other kids to not go through this. I want to help in some way…in GA,there is nowhere to get help. So please find some one to tell. If they don’t do anything, find another person. Keep telling until someone does something for you. Never give up hope, keep on going for yourself. Prove to people that you are strong, and remember, IT IS NEVER TOO LATE TO TELL. You can do it. This is just a short part of my story. I want to help. Thank you for taking time to read my story, and good luck always.

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Lynbrook, NY

3/17/12

I was sexually abused by my father at a very young age. Although I can not remember the first time or my exact age but I know my secret was already there during Kindergarten. The sexual abuse did not stop until I was 12 and I didnt have the courage to speak up until I was 15. The secret I carried during my younger years made me feel very lonely and hopeless but the emotional scars that followed after the sexual abuse was even more tragic. My teenage years were very difficult for me, I was very sad, suicidal and lonely. But I choose not to allow my past to continue controlling my life. I choose to move forward and be happy. Although it took a very long time to forgive myself for what had happened to me, I slowly started trusting people and now am a happy wife and mother of two. I am 29 years old and extremely blessed. I still suffer from the occasional nightmare but I dont allow the sadness to consume me anymore. I deserve to be happy.

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Tallahassee, FL

2/23/12

From the ages of about 5 to 15 or 16 my older brother sexually abused me. This was in the 1960′s. I had 5 other siblings and at least one other was also a victim of this. He was 6 years older than I and from about the age of 9 until I was 16 I was never safe. When 7, I almost told a nurse at school but did not. I just told her that my mother didn’t care. She kept asking me what was wrong. I didn’t have the words to say and felt “bad” to talk about it. When I was 10 or so, I told my mother. She just said it was a “phase” he was going through and went back to doing the laundry. I can still feel the overwhelming sense of hopelessness and at that moment knew I had to take care of myself. For years I slept in fear, kept things in front of my door, got locks for my door but it did not stop him from trying and approaching me in other places. I stayed away as much as possible and became more and more unable to ask for any type of help or trust others. When I was about 15, my father finally witnessed him and kicked him out of the house. However, my parents never asked me what had happened or initiated any sort of conversation with me.

I am now 56 and a grateful survivor of sexual abuse and non-protection. It took me until I was 29 to tell the secret again to anyone and start to get help. Years of counseling, support groups, PTSD medication, time with other survivors, and finding my way to my God and prayer are all parts of my recovery process. For me the most difficult journey has been forgiving the non-protection of my parents and I believe it was this that caused the most damage to my developing personality and ability to trust myself and others. I am so grateful to have had so much support from so many over the years.

Just when I think I have finished the grieving of the lost childhood and many of my potentials, I find there is something else to work on. The amount of energy recovery from this abuse takes is very great. The one question that is the hardest for me to let go of is who I would have been and what contributions I would have made had I not suffered these violations. That is something I have put in Gods hands. I have become a professional person and have been able to counsel many many people that are also abuse survivors. My insight into the healing process is so great…it is the gift of the abuse. I am grateful for this gift. I am grateful for the ability to really understand and feel the power of forgiveness that recovery of this debt brings. I am able to care for my mother now and walk peacefully beside her. I still have problems more easily with relationships and have to work on my reactions to things more than others do. However, I live a full and safe life now, one day at a time.

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Perry, FL

2/22/12

This is actually not my story but my niece’s. She was 13 yrs old while living with her father at time. His best friend raped her and she became pregnant and was so afraid that she didn’t tell her mother what happened until she was 6 months pregnant. It has been a long road for her, and although it was traumatizing she made the decision to keep her baby. She confided in me that she just couldn’t bare not knowing whether this child was being taken care of or not. Through a lot of family support she is now 17 yrs old raising her 3 yr old son with the help of her mother. And although he is a constant reminder of what happened to her she loves him unconditionally. The man who did this to her only got 4 yrs and I think only served 3 yrs of that sentence. He was released from prison on Jan, 25, 2012 and now they are trying their best to have him sign his rights away to this child. They are going through all the necessary channels now to get a permanent restraining order. Walking with you Tuesday was a privilege and an honor knowing that she is not alone. Thank you so much for all that you are doing!

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Tampa, FL

2/20/12

My sister is 14 months older than me. When she was 4 years old and I was 3 years old we were in the bath tub. My back was to the water faucet. My mother had just walked out of the bathroom to go check on something. My sister said “because mommy touches us there it is OK for us to touch each other there”. I was in completely SHOCKED as my sister took a wash rag and rubbed my private parts.

I KNEW IT WAS PROFOUNDLY WRONG for her to touch me there but I said nothing. For the next two years she would order me to get on her bed. She would cover us with her blanket and she would proceed to use some tissue and play with my private parts. I HATED her doing it and I HATED HER!!!!

My mother finally caught her in the act and the abuse stopped. But, I still had to share a room with her until she married and moved out of the house. She was a very ANGRY child and would beat my brother and myself all the time. My younger brother, who she insists she did not molest, was a very good and sweet boy. He is 16 months younger than I am. We would play together very nicely. We never had “control” or “power” issues. If my sister came into the room and saw us playing she would bully us and take over. We would cry and then mom would come and spank all three of us. We received WAY too many spankings for my sister’s bullying ways.

To this day to not like people touching me anywhere on my body. I am not very sexually active or very physically touchy with people.

I saw an episode of Oprah were she was interviewing 3 sexual predators. One of the men had sexually raped and then repeatedly engaged in sexual episodes with his younger cousin. When Oprah asked him how he thinks what he did changed his cousin he said something very profound. He said “I killed the person she she could have become.” When I heard that I thought that is exactly what my sister did: she killed the person that I could have become.

When it was “time” for my mother to tell me about the facts of life my sister was in the room. Unknown to me, which I found out many years later, she had asked our mother if she could be in the room when mom spoke to me about sexual things.

I HATED my sister. I, again was devastated. My mom and sister were sitting close together on mom’s bed and I was in the farthest corner of the room. The WHOLE time I was thinking; I HATE HER, I HATE HER, WHY IS SHE HERE? Needles to say, I heard nothing my mother shared about the facts of life.

Somehow, I was “absent” on the day that the school showed the facts of life film. Now, mom was not one to let us not go to school. I am wondering if my sister knew about the day the film was going to be shown and then suggested to my mom that I was “sick”. I would not have faked being sick on that day and I do not believe that my mom would have not allowed me to see it.

So I went into puberty not knowing much. I knew nothing about sexual reproduction or even HOW to get pregnant. But because of my early molestation experiences I was not “sexual” whatsoever. I was 18 when I finally began to read books on how sexuality and reproduction works.

Then, to make matters even worse. An older man that my sister dated for a while was “interested” in me. My sister told me “he is not that bad once you get to know him.” WELL HE WAS THAT BAD, he date raped me.

I am now 58. It took me until I was in my late 40′s to even mention to anyone what had happened over the years with my sister. I finally had to convince myself that “tissues” are not going to hurt be because tissues were my sisters weapon of abuse.

Just last year (2011) I finally connected ALL the pieces of my sister’s effect on my own sexuality or lack there of.

I am writing MY story to let others know that even at a very young age and with your OWN siblings, ABUSE IS ABUSE. NO ONE IS TO TOUCH YOU WHERE YOU DO NOT WANT TO BE TOUCHED. SPEAK UP, SPEAK OUT.

 

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Fort Walton Beach, FL

2/16/12

I started to be molested at the young age of 6 by an elderly man in the neighborhood. 3 months later a friend of the family started to rape me. Then by the time I was seven my cousin was doing the same to me. This went on for 2 years. I had no idea this was wrong and I was having horrible dreams every night about the events happening in my life. I was threatened by all 3 men that if I ever told anyone they would kill me and then my family.

One night, my dad walked in on my cousin molesting me under the covers and that was the last time he ever touched me. My dad to this day doesn’t know the real story.

My dad came home one day early from work and right as the friend of the family was taking me to the spot, I flat out came out and told my dad that he had been looking at my privates. The man ran away and we never heard from him again. When I was 14 I finally came out with the whole truth and we went to press charges but the courts found him not in the right mind and gave him maximum sentencing in a state mental hospital, not prison, a hospital.

As far as the old man goes, well we moved down out of the neighborhood, and the next time I ever saw him was when I was 16 and I was working. He gave me $500 and told me to keep my mouth shut. I never saw him again, as far as I know he has passed.

To this day I have to go to counseling. I have since moved on, but the nightmares and memories will remain. I have been blessed enough though to have met a man that is understanding and comforting. I have been married 2 1/2 years, but unfortunately I do not believe I will ever be able to trust him or love him to my fullest potential due to what has happened in my life and he understands that. Unfortunately, I also married a man whose father is a sexual pedophile as well. I did not know this before we were married. He only did 8 of his 20-year sentencing and will only remain on probation the rest of his life.

I am doing this walk to bring awareness to everyone who has been sexually abused at some point in his or her life. Not just children, adults too. I hope one day these people that abuse will be sent directly to death row. They steal innocence and lives. They kill their victims, not physically, but emotionally, mentally and most of all sexually. It’s not fair these people get to continue their lives. I also hope the state will see what a serious issue this is as well.

Thank you for taking the time to read my story.

 

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Sunrise, FL

2/12/12

My niece by marriage always had problems with relationships. We struggled to deal with her moods. When her step-mom moved out and left her with her father, the source of her behavior came out. Her father had been sexually abusing her since before the age 11. He would drug her with sleeping pills and video her in different sexual positions. She was rescued from this daily abuse when her grandmother sensed an unusual closeness between her son and granddaughter. Her father, abuser, tormentor was a police officer and has now been incarcerated for three years. Soon this child will testify against him.

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Ocala, FL

2/8/12

I was honored to walk with Lauren on Feb. 7 2012. I am a victim advocate and the Sexual Assault Coordinator for our center here in Ocala. Below is the story of one of our survivors:

Jane Doe’s life is one of many difficult memories. Her father died from an overdose when she was 4 years old. Her mother was an addict and had 3 children. Jane Doe was the oldest. At the age of 6 she was continually molested by her mother’s boyfriend for 3 years. She told her mother, who didn’t believe her or more likely didn’t care. When she was 9 years old that boyfriend left and after a year she had a step father. This man raped her repeatedly. She again told her mother who ignored it again. She did tell her grandmother…she had Jane Doe spend more time with her and her grandfather to keep her away from this monster. She knew how her daughter was, and knew she didn’t care about her children, only her drug habit. Jane Doe’s mother wanted her back home to take care of the younger children. Unfortunately the grandmother was unable to protect her from her future of continued sexual assault.

When Jane Doe was 12, her mother gave a man permission to marry her daughter. He was verbally and physically abusive to her. At the age of 18 she had her first child and had 3 more after that. When he almost killed her from punching and kicking her repeatedly , she left with all 4 children and got a job and raised the children. All the children are adults now and know nothing of their fathers abuse of their mother. She left when they were all young.

Jane Doe became addicted to drugs to cope with the horrible memories of her life….she moved to Ocala from up north hoping for a new start. After being here for a year, she was walking to the store. A man drove up to her in a van and dragged her into it. He brutally raped her and sexually assaulted her beyond anything we can imagine. He was going to kill her….Jane Doe fought back and was able to escape. She was the victim of a serial rapist. This monster stole all the victims purses with all their identification. They each were terrified that he would come to their homes, because he had their addresses. Victim’s Compensation would have helped each of these survivors feel safe if they could of only received it.

Jane Doe was terrified to go home and stayed in shelter where she felt safe. She was his last victim. Thanks to her description and identifying him, he is behind bars. She wants justice and wants him to never get out. She lost a relationship because of him. she has nightmares, panic attacks, anxiety, her family has ostrasized her, her world once again spiraling out of control because of sexual assault. We were able to get her a scholarship into one our best facilities for intense counseling. She will be there to get the help she so desperately needs from all the trauma that she has suffered over the years. She is young….only 42. We are hoping justice will be served and that her future will be one of hope and recovery.

I have only worked at our center for a year, and have served as the Sexual Assault Coordinator for 9 months. It never ceases to amaze me how much sexual abuse is going on and how little is done about it. State Attorney’s Office not wanting to take on cases unless conviction is a slam dunk. More needs to be done to change this. I look forward to the future with helping to make the changes that need to be done and with Lauren bringing the awareness that is needed and her father helping to change legislation I know change will be made for the better.

God Bless you in all you do to help make this possible.

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St. Petersburg, FL

2/6/12

I am 18 almost 19 and I am a survivor of sexual abuse. I was 13. I just turned 13. He was my best friend’s step-brother. I was over babysitting and he happened to come home around midnight. I was about to go to sleep then he approached me with the idea of me looking older. Like I was 18 or 19 because thats how old he was. He convinced me that it was okay to touch each other in places that I’d never touched before. I’d never kissed a boy before but one kiss turned into him telling me that I needed to give him oral sex. I did not want to do that, so that’s when he pushed me down and started having sex with me. I wasn’t sure what to do and because I’d never have sex before it didn’t work out in his favor. I started bleeding and I decided to go to bed upstairs. I locked my door but he found a way in. He carried me in his room and masturbated on me. I didn’t want to yell because i thought i was doing something wrong. He finished and I walked back into my room and fell asleep.

That night forever changed me. I was a straight-A student. That semester following I flunked 8th grade and got kicked out of school. I didn’t eat anything for two months and would take laxatives about every other day of eating. I began my freshman year with eating and mood disorders. I didn’t tell anyone not even my friends or family. I started sleeping around and I started drinking every night, I was sneaking out and going to keggers at 14. By they time I turned 15 I was addicted to “Triple C’s” and I overdosed 3 times in one summer. I choked on my own throw-up and blacked out on a regular basis. 10th grade I started smoking weed and drinking even more. I could chug two bottles with no problem. I was having sex with guys and I couldn’t remember their names. I had had sex with over 15 guys at 15. My junior year I decided weed and drinking didn’t mess me up enough so I turned to prescription drugs and beans. I was at one point addicted to Viciton, Adderol, Xanex, and Oxy’s at 17. The night of my 17th b-day I tried to hang myself. I choked myself until I passed out and then was awoken by my mom. I was then sent to rehab. I got out and was clean for a few months then started messing around with Molly and heavily drinking. I came close to death many times. I am now almost 19 and I can handle myself, but on some days I wake up and drugs sound like a really good idea. But I know i need to stay clean to be an example for other young girls who battle the struggle of addiction and depression.

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Tallahassee, FL

2/3/12

When I was 14 I was sexually abused while I was walking home. My parents didn’t know, but he took me in my home and repeatedly sexually abused me so I started to cry. Everything thing that he touched that I could get my hands on I took it. Then he finally ran out of the house and threw me on his motorcycle and he said if I screamed that he would throw me off. When he went to sleep I tiptoed down the stairs and out the house and ran for the nearest place, calling the police. Later when that man woke up he was arrested.

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Peoria, IL

1/28/12

My abuse began when I was 7 years old. My best friend’s dad and neighbor began raping me then. I know it went on for awhile, but I don’t know how long. He was also abusing my friend. I didn’t have the courage to tell anyone. I tried to forget all about it. In fact, I was so successful at “making it go away” that I was completely shocked when I was 29 years old and began having memories of the abuse. The first person I told was a therapist. I still haven’t told my family. But, I am finding strength in speaking my truth and it is setting me free from all that he did to me! I hope that this story allows someone else to feel not so alone in their own struggle and give voice to their experiences!

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Toronto, Ontario, Canada

1/26/12

My story is one of literal survival. As a young teenage boy I ended up on the streets of a large city following fleeing an abusive and chaotic home. Once on the streets I had nowhere to sleep, nothing to eat and no idea how to meet my basic needs. It wasn’t long before I fell into the clutches of an older man, who through the deception of acting like he cared about my welfare and “showing me the ropes” began sexually abusing me repeatedly, often while I was under the influence of alcohol. It disgusted me and I wish I could have fought back but he was larger and stronger, plus I was dependant on him for my survival in that situation so it continued. It felt like I would never escape him, although eventually I did, after which I was put in touch with a youth agency that helped me stabilize and get off the streets. However, after being sexually abused by that man it felt like I wasn’t the same kid as before. I am now in my early 40’s and just beginning to work through what happened to me way back then. I spent years drinking trying to avoid dealing with it until alcohol couldn’t help me with it anymore so I quit. That was a year and a half ago and in a lot of ways I’ve never felt better, but recovery from sexual abuse isn’t easy, and there are days that I feel completely emotionally exhausted and overwhelmed by it all. That said, I can still recognize the benefits of what is very hard work, with staying sober and being able to live with my emotions the first among them. Anyways thank you for the opportunity to share my story. The more I do so the better I feel. Thanks again.

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Miami, FL

1/20/12

Since the age of 7, I was sexually abused. I was molested by the maintenance man in our apartment building. That was the only time he molested me and it was in the living room while my grandmother was making him coffee and my little sister was right across the table from me coloring. I was so scared to yell or say anything, but my inside was screaming help. The only thing I could think of was to ask my grandmother to use the bathroom. She gave me a confused look and said of course. I then stayed in my room and called my sister over so that disgusting person wouldn’t be able to get to her. Later that day I told my dad and that was it. From then on, I became a magnet for sexual abuse. My father remarried when I was about 10 and my stepbrother sexually abused me for years. At times, I felt like I had to do it… If I fought back, I would get punched, hit, etc. It became a normal routine at one point. Childhood was something I never experienced and was a very dark time. I was physically, sexually and emotionally abused and I never had a parent or an adult to stand up for me. At 15, my step sister’s husband tried to molest me and I was finished with being scared. I was over it. I yelled and he told me to be quiet so she doesn’t hear me scream. No one believed me and I thought they never would. It felt like it’s easier not to deal with the situation. It’s important for parents to establish a healthy trusting communication, so kids are able to tell their parents and the appropriate help is saught at the time. Victims spend years with anger, hurt and sadness hidden inside and are not able to heal.

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Bronx, NY

1/15/12

It started when I was 9. Innocently enough too:( Just scratching my father’s back and then his stomach, and then…..you know the rest. It went on until I was 14 and I got strong enough emotionally to blackmail him. The anger, the hatred and the fear were a daily part of my life. He would lock us in the bathroom. I was one of 5 children and the oldest, so I had to protect my two other sisters. My brother was physically abused for awhile and is a drug addict to this day. I’m not sure why I stayed so strong, but I was in therapy from the time I was 27 until I was 50. I am 52 now. I was in somewhat abusive relationships up until a few years ago. I am in the fitness industry and work to keeps others strong and healthy. My work and my three sons are what have always kept me going. I wish there would have been a site like this when I was young. I couldn’t tell anyone until I got older. My mother still doesn’t really believe me or support me…….. I have become a better mother and person though regardless.

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Pensacola, FL

04/14/11

I was molested for 5 years in the 1960′s, a time where you were frowned on if you spoke of personal family matters. Even after it went public and my father was arrested, the family kept up appearances and began a decades long campaign of silence and suppression. When I finally spoke, I was shunned by family members, who told me to ‘get over it’. My mother’s allegiance was with my assailant, her husband. She missed him and confessed to secret meetings with him. To become a Survivor and let go of the Victim mentality, I had to let go of the toxic family relationships that were not allowing me to heal, and to seek the help that had been denied when I was a child. I have surrounded myself with loving positive people and continue to allow contentment and peace to grow.

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Lemoore, CA

07/22/11

When I was 8 my uncle molested me. I didn’t tell anyone until I was 16 years old because he had scared me into not saying anything. Even when I finally told someone about what had happened my uncle was not arrested for his actions.

I have become a strong woman because of it. I try my hardest to live life to the fullest, and I am happy about the woman that I have become.

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Miami, FL

07/28/11

As a child you’re unaware of the harm and cruel things that any human can do to a child.

When I was 5 years old I was sexually abused by my uncle and this happened until I was 7 years old.

Unfortunately, when my uncle came from Cuba my father opened our doors for him to have a place to stay until he was able to find a job and get on his feet. At that time I had my own bedroom and due to the fact that my uncle was moving in; my parents told me that I would have to share my room with my uncle sleeping in the same bed that I would sleep in. This was a 37 year old man sleeping next to a 5 year old boy. As the days became nights and his poise became stronger, the sexual abuse became more and more. Every single night my uncle would sexually abuse me without me understanding and being confused and scared of what was happening to me. I will never forget the tears that would drop down face in those years of my life. My uncle never verbally scared me nor told me that he would threaten my parents in any way. Due to the fact that I did not know what was going, not knowing how to even address this situation with my parents and how painful it was, I kept my mouth shut and that gave him the green light to make it an every night habit.

Until I was 7 years old my father told him that he needed to move out, for the safety of my sister because she was in her teens and my father didn’t want him to get any ideas. Little did my father know that my uncle was not interested in my sister. The sexual abuse was already happening in my room.

After my uncle moved out, I never told my parents about it. I didn’t tell a soul. I learned to deal with it and move on. I wasn’t going to allow for something like that to take over my life. I have to say that I am very proud of the man that I have become. It made me become stronger.

I respect children today and respect and care for those who have gone through this in life. Every parent should always have open communication with their child, and talk about these things. A child doesn’t know all the wrong things that happen in this world and it’s the parent’s job to teach them and guide them through all these situations.

Talk to your child, if you don’t they will stay quite; and that is the worst thing any child can do. I’m 26 years old and I am a survivor of sexual abuse. God bless every survivor out there that has gone through the same things like me; and God please guide every child’s soul so they don’t have to go through the horrible abuse and feeling that anyone can do to them. I rest my case.

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Green Cove Springs, FL

07/28/11

This is actually my now 12 year old daughter’s survival story but this is also a story we want as many people as possible to read…if it can help one person than it is worth getting it out there.

We had gone to spend the day with family at a beach condo one day last summer. My aunts, uncles, and cousins were all there. We swam in the pool, went and played on the beach and had a great day, or at least it was a great day until my daughter came to me with a look of complete helplessness, violation, and desperation on her face. This is a look that will haunt me forever. I knew immediately something was wrong.

She informed that one of my cousins had been touching her as he was throwing her into the deep end. My first thought was to get her out of that place as quick as I could. We packed up and left as soon as we could without giving any clue as to what had happened. You see, I didn’t want him to get scared and run or try to talk to her or me for that matter. I knew I was going to call the police but I had to get her out of there. She was terrified and sickly looking. She didn’t even look like my little girl. As soon as we left, I called my husband and told him to meet me because something terrible had happened. We met at my parent’s house. My parents, my brother, my husband..we convened there and decided the best thing to do was to take her to the hospital, just to make sure he hadn’t hurt her in anyway. I also knew that the ball would get rolling quickly that way because the hospital would have to call the police and the Dept of Children and Family Services. As my husband and I left for the hospital, my parents called my aunt and uncle over (his parents) stating there was something that had happened and they needed to talk about it. Of course, they were devastated. We all were. They believed my parents and left to go talk to my cousin and his wife. He admitted it. My aunt and uncle talked him in to turning himself in and he did just that the very next morning.

It has now been almost 14 months since that day. He is in prison, serving TWO life sentences. My daughter wasn’t the only one if the family he had molested. As it turned out he was also molesting his niece and had been for 2+ years…she hadn’t told until my daughter came forward.

It’s ok to tell…there is always someone out there willing to believe and help!

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