When Katie asked me to share my story on her blog I was elated. I had shared parts of my story a few months prior on my own blog (girlwithamission.org) so I was ready to jump right in and share even more of myself with you.
I had a pretty normal childhood. I grew up with parents who gave unconditional love, a younger brother and sister who copied everything I did (it was annoying at the time- but they’re my best friends now!), played sports and had a few friends. When I was about 10 years old until I was 12 I was sexually abused by my neighbor. He was about 4 years older than me, and he was cute. Of course I had a crush on him. He was the older boy next door. He also had 2 older brothers and my brother and I would play basketball with them all the time. They were older than us, but they let us play with them. We had fun. One day my brother, myself and Henry were playing video games at my house. We were goofing around and laughing. Next thing I knew Henry grabbed me and through me on the ground tickling me. He started getting rough. Next thing I knew his hands were down my pants. I tried to scream but he he put his hand over my mouth and started choking me. This went on for 2 years (we moved or the abuse probably would have continued). At the time, I was so young and didn’t know what sexual abuse even was. I knew what he was doing was wrong but I thought it was my fault and I would get in trouble. So I kept quiet. I had blocked out the memory and refused to let myself think about it. Everything was fine. If I kept telling myself nothing happened then it really didn’t happen, right? It wasn’t until a few years later that I realized what he did was actually crime. I was in health class and we were learning about sex ed. Consent and nonconsent. This was a turning point. I had to face that it happened to me and I had to deal with it somehow. Still, I kept quiet. I was so ashamed. It must have been my fault. How could I let that happen. I should have told him to stop (I did but he never listened). I was afraid of what people were going to say to me when I told them so for years I said nothing. Sometimes I wonder what he’s doing now, if he hurt other girls the way he hurt me.
Much of my teen years would pass much the same. Silent. Living in shadows. Depressed. Angry. Hateful. Got into fights with the people who loved me. Pushed those people away. Shut down. I had no one to talk to and I felt so alone. I didn’t know how to process the fact that I had been violated. I desperately wanted to tell someone, but who?
When I was 19 I started dating a guy named Joe. Red flags were up from the start, but I didn’t listen. I was in a dark place. He was in a dark place. It was a mess. One night he had a party at a hotel. His friend Dan was there. I only met him once prior to this party. He was nice. Joe and I got into a fight so I walked out crying and drunk. Dan came out after me and convinced me to go back inside. Joe’s an idiot. I went back to the room where Dan kept handing me drinks and was telling me to relax, not to worry about Joe. I had gotten so drunk that I must have blacked out. Because when I came to Dan was on top of me, kissing and touching me, and asked me if I wanted him to get a condom. I said no and turned over and tried to fall back asleep. I was tired and drunk. I heard him get out of the bed, and must have gotten a condom. Next thing I knew he was on top of me again. I tried to push him off, but I had no energy left in me. I told him I just wanted to sleep but he said, “I’ll be quick I promise.” (He had no pants on at this point and was pushing himself against me).. When I blacked out earlier, somehow I ended up with no pants either. He was touching me through my underwear. I froze. I couldn’t move. I just closed my eyes and prayed he would stop. And the next thing I knew he was inside of me. It wasn’t long before Joe came back in the room and he stopped (thank God!). I left the room and called my best friend crying. She picked me up and I went home. I tried to tell Joe the next day what happened. But he didn’t believe me. He said I wanted it and that I asked for it. I felt so hurt and alone.
The next few months would pass. I started drinking and partying hard. Blacking out almost every night and waking up naked in someone else’s bed. With no memory of how I even got there. I went into a dark depression. I woke up everyday thinking, “How can I kill myself today?” I was so alone and no one would even care.
A year later and my mom was desperately trying to get me to talk to her. She still had no idea what was going on. She only saw the partying, the fights, this angry person I’ve become. She asked me time and time again if something had happened to me. But I said no each time. Finally she was so desperate she said, “If you keep going down this road you won’t get to see your sister grow up.” That struck a chord with me. Because my little sister was everything to me. She was the reason I woke up every morning. She was so innocent and gave me big hugs and told me everyday how much she loved me.
When I was 21 I really started to work on myself. I started journaling, reading self-help books and surrounding myself with the right people. I started sharing my story in the hopes that maybe it will help someone else. I started to love myself again. I believe that changed everything for me.
Age 26 and I’m not only surviving but THRIVING. I became an entrepreneur, started a business and started helping other young people to live into their power, find their voice and OWN their story no matter what. Now, I honor and appreciate every part of my story.
I am grateful that I didn’t give up. I am grateful that I am here today to share my story. Healing IS possible. I am living proof of that. You don’t have to go through life in silence. Speak up, you never know who’s life you’ll change.