sexual abuse

‘I knocked on the door. ‘I remember everything you did to me.’ We drove from California to Texas, just so I could look him in the eye and say it.’: Sexual assault survivor fosters 26 children, ‘I want to bring them hope’

“I remember my grandfather always calling my name, looking for me. While most kids were dreaming of graduating high school, I was piecing together horrific memories. I remembered the smell of the burnt orange carpet when I’d hide under the bed. I remembered the knick-knacks on the dresser I focused on to escape what was happening. Many people ask me, ‘Why in the world do you continue to do foster care when your own biological kids have left the nest?’ The answer is simple: I’m meant to love people through their pain.”

‘Will I look like him?’ The plane landed. Instant panic struck. My parents never wanted me to find out about him.’: Woman ‘finally complete’ after emotional reunion with biological father, ‘He’s the piece I’ve always been missing’

“I lost my adoptive father and mother only 2 weeks before. Between all the madness, I finally found my biological father. I was told he was ‘the town drunk.’ I was never supposed to know he existed. I heard the plane fly over the dark sky. My stomach suddenly dropped. ‘Please remain seated,’ the pilot announced. I took a deep breath and turned my teary eyes. An average height man locked his blue eyes on mine. Both our smiles began to rise. This was the moment I’d dreamt of my entire life.”

‘At 13, I was 300 lbs. My dad told me, ‘If you want to kill yourself, I’ll help you pull the trigger.’: Woman undergoes weight loss surgery at husband’s demand, ‘My soul is healing with each bout of laughter’

“I almost died on the operating table while my husband was talking to other women. ‘He said you’re giving him a hard time about not coming to visit you. You need to be more independent and let him do his duties.’ I was physically and emotionally broken. I didn’t care if I survived.”

‘This is $150 of underwear. My team and I are no longer willing to let our survivors go home without a bra, or decent pair of underwear.’: Sexual assault nurse examiner shares act of kindness for rape survivors

“Ever seen a woman who’s just been raped, just had a 3-hour forensic exam, had every surface of her battered body swabbed, photographed, and inventoried for the police walk out of a hospital wearing oversized hospital scrubs and postpartum hospital underwear, her arms wrapped tightly around her chest, ashamed, because she doesn’t have a bra to wear? I have. And I absolutely refuse to ever see it again.”

‘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.”

‘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.”

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