There are so many abuse survivors and advocates around the world who have turned their darkest moments into their brightest light, shining the way for others. Children and adults alike are changing the world through their dedication to spreading awareness and promoting healing for survivors. Our “Advocacy in Action” series features people who have been inspired by Lauren’s Kids and impacted by Lauren’s advocacy, and have carried the spark she lit forward into their own lives and communities. We hope you enjoy reading their stories, starting with Raquel’s story below…
Advocacy in Action: Choose to Shine a Light
One in three girls becomes a victim of sexual abuse before her 18th birthday. Raquel is one of the millions of children hurt this way by someone she knew and trusted. Her abuser used the disability that keeps her in a wheelchair as a way to gradually develop a behavior that became unsafe for Raquel. However, she refuses to let her abuse control her life – she chooses to be a survivor and help others heal.
Raquel is an 11th grader with a 3.0 GPA using her story and passion for community to help other survivors. Raquel has already guided a fellow survivor on the path of recovery and found a lifelong friendship.
After Lauren heard about this young girl choosing the title “survivor” over “victim,” she knew that Raquel’s story had to be told to the world. Raquel was honored in the 2013 Walk in My Shoes event, where she felt a flame light within her reminding her to never stop shining a light in dark places. During the last few miles of the walk, Raquel proudly began to walk alongside Lauren representing millions of people affected by the horrors of childhood sexual abuse.
“I need to be an advocate because it is something that people are not comfortable speaking about every day,” says Raquel. “It is something that we as survivors and victims try to hide for so long. No matter what we have been through in our lives, we deserve to be proud of ourselves.”
Raquel knows that, although this is an uncomfortable topic, it is an issue that needs to be talked about. She plans to write a book and share her story with the world. She feels that even if her story helps one survivor, her life will be fulfilled.