sexual abuse

‘You get the first puff.’ 3 men stood there, staring at me. I smoked something I hadn’t paid for, and now payment was due.’: Woman overcomes ‘nightmare’ crack cocaine addiction, ‘We can overcome the most tragic lives’

“Within weeks, my antique jewelry was gone. The horror was so awful, the things that went on. I remember begging her not to make me go into the room with them. She said, ‘It’s about to get real,’ and then she was gone. I found a single, unused stamp. I used an old envelope from an overdue bill and a scrap of paper to write the only family who would still listen. They lived 3,000 miles away. I wrote 5 words: ‘GET ME OUT OF HERE.’ That was 13 years ago.”

‘We still have to invite uncle Tommy to Thanksgiving.’ I will not be part of a family who chooses my abuser over me.’: Rape survivor ‘thankful’ for second family who takes her in during the holidays

“For years, my anxiety was high during the holidays, my emotions an all-time low. Nobody knew the cause. After I came out about my sexual assault, my family didn’t know what to believe. My uncle was a ‘great guy.’ When, the shock wore off, my mom hugged me. ‘Everything will be alright.’ Yet, she continues to invite him to every holiday. No one should have to exist in the same room with the one who makes them want to vanish within it.”

‘Am I still a virgin?’ A 13-year-old girl sits on my examination table. ‘Yes.’ She cries tears of relief.’: Child abuse pediatrician pens PSA on virginity, ‘women need to know the truth about their bodies’

“Her uncle started raping her when she was 7 years old. I tell her she’s going to be okay. I tell her WHY she’s still a virgin. ‘Rape is not the same thing as sex. Having sex WITH someone can only happen with consent. Otherwise, it’s just violence, period.’ She dries her tears, and smiles for a new beginning.”

‘Mom, something awful is happening to me.’ They found embalming fluid in my system, causing me to black out.’: Young woman overcomes meth addiction, hidden sexual abuse on camera, ‘My awful memories no longer haunt me, I am healed’

“I was 18-years old when I met him. I moved in with this man who was 17 years older. He told me he loved me. I believed him. He convinced me to do things, including recording our sexual encounters. ‘These are just for us to watch,’ he promised. I checked his browser history, horrified at what I found. Our sexual encounters were being posted on a pornography site.”

‘You need help.’ I got her from preschool, pulled over ‘to rest,’ and woke with officers knocking on my window.’: Mom-of-4 finally gets sober after being institutionalized over 20 times, learns she is ‘not alone’

“This started long before ‘wine mom culture’. Earlier that morning, I was running errands alone. I pulled into a grocery store without thinking. That’s all it took. Horrified, my husband said, ‘You’ve got to stop. Emily, you need help.’ He breathalyzed me daily while taking away all access to money. I was greeted by judgmental preschool moms. These were the same women who cooked dinners every week for my husband and kids while I was gone.”

‘I am meant to be a heroin addict forever.’ I truly believed it. ‘What happened to me?’ That damn needle.’: Woman overcomes opioid addiction, fulfills childhood dream of becoming pro wrestler, ‘I’m living my wildest dreams’

“Senior year of high school. I felt sick. It spiraled completely out of control. I’m sniffing heroin and smoking crack cocaine like it’s going to get me into Harvard or something. I looked at my father and told him, ‘I need help.’ My dad wanted nothing to do with me, he was done. That really hurt.”

‘Which way did he go?’ This was our great escape. My dad was a monster. I was sworn to secrecy.’: Woman credits foster parents for ‘saving’ her through ‘dark times,’ battling suicidal thoughts, sexual abuse, Bipolar disorder

“My friend asked if I wanted to stay the night. I couldn’t, but asked if she wanted to stay at my house. Before I could even finish, she told me ‘no.’ I shrugged it off, no big deal. A week later, she saw my whole family. That’s when I recognized the fear in her eyes. She had not seen my stepdad since then.”

‘I loved my older cousin. At 8, I learned the only way to be friends with him was to have sex with him.’: Daughter and mother in addiction recovery together after years of childhood trauma, ‘If that isn’t wonderful, I don’t know what is’

“I remember the bright red carpet in his closet. This ongoing ‘event’ became our secret, I held onto this secret for close to 15 years. I never got over what happened to me, I stuffed it so far down. This has been the hardest thing I have ever done in my entire life. I finally surrendered. I had enough. I needed to give myself a chance to live.”

‘Don’t be a prude!’ He grabs my waist. I say ‘no’ 12 times. He wipes my tears. They’re ‘not sexy.’ I give in. ‘Fine.’: Woman finally calls sexual abuse ‘what it is,’ says consent must be ‘enthusiastic, genuine’

“My phone glows. ‘Hey, can we talk?’ My friend’s eyes are red, puffy. Suddenly, I feel like crying, too. I think she’s going to tell me she’s pregnant. It’s much worse. ‘I’ve been raped.’ Inside, I’m screaming, ‘Tell her you’re a victim, too!’ But I don’t. I mean, am I REALLY one ? Sure, I said ‘no’ and lay there, emotionless. I didn’t want to. He knew that. But technically, I said ‘fine.’ So, am I victim? The answer is yes.”

‘I stumbled on my dad’s porn. The girl was young, like me. In shock, I watched the man on TV do the things that happened to me.’: Child sexual abuse survivor says there’s always ‘light waiting to wrap you up’

“My dad went downstairs to get ready for work. When he didn’t come up, we figured he was asleep. At 9 a.m. my mom’s screams pierced every cell in my body. I turned the corner and saw his body. He was exposed, sitting in his chair in front of naked women running across TV, his lifeless eyes staring at the ground. ‘How could you die like this, dad?’ I tied his robe closed, called 911, and ran outside. My hero was not who I thought he was.”

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