Survivor Stories

Stevie's Story

Stevie Croisant is a writer, leader, proud dog-mom, and survivor of an abusive relationship. She lived through two years of intimate partner violence, also referred to as domestic violence, before being able to leave the relationship with the help of friends and family. “Even though I knew deep down that I should leave, anyone who told me that too directly would become the enemy."

Sandra's Story

Sandra Gonzalez is a proud mom, a member of the Latinx community, and a survivor of sexual violence. Sandra felt ashamed and embarrassed after the assault, and didn’t report because she didn’t want anyone to know what had happened to her. She was raised in a community that emphasized virginity before marriage, which caused Sandra to feel an additional layer of shame about what had happened to her. “I didn’t say anything back then—I was quiet and scared. I wish I could say that I’d reported it. That’s my main reason for telling my story now.” 

Leilani's Story

Leilani is an Indigenous CHamoru* and Kānaka Maoli woman from Guam, an activist, a life-long writer, and a survivor of sexual violence. “Regardless of what’s happened to me and what I’ve gone through, I’m still Leilani. Yes, this experience has changed me, but the core of who I am is there.”

Val’s Story

Val Hill has been sharing her story and supporting others as part of her healing journey. She was sexually assaulted by someone she considered a friend since childhood. “It wasn't a stranger in a back alley, it was someone I knew since I was 11 years old—someone I trusted. It’s made it hard to trust anyone again.”

Hannah’s Story

Hannah Rad was sexually assaulted by an acquaintance on her college campus during her first year. She didn’t want to tell anyone about what happened because she felt ashamed. “Being gay does not justify terrible things happening to you. Owning who you are and everything that makes you YOU is the first step in healing. You don’t need to be ashamed of what happened to you.”

Johnathon’s Story

Johnathon Cassidy was sexually assaulted by a stranger he met while at a local bar who put a date-rape drug in his drink. "Everyone always said ‘Go with Johnny, you’ll be safe with him.’ I’ve been told my entire life that it was impossible for this kind of thing to happen to me.”

Tasha's Story

Tasha Wilson was sexually assaulted by an acquaintance on her college campus. She did not feel comfortable reporting the assault to campus administration because she had heard about other students’ negative experiences in doing so. “It didn’t feel like a welcoming or safe environment to disclose. I didn’t know if there were even resources available.”

Tarhata's Story

Tarhata Brazsal experienced rape and intimate partner violence from her high school boyfriend. After the relationship ended, Tarhata told her sister and cousin about what had happened. “Everyone was trying to make me do what they thought would help me. People were trying to force me to act in a certain way, but my sister didn’t. Because of that, she truly gave me my voice back.”

Sarah's Story

Sarah Whitney was raped when she was 16. She told her then-boyfriend, who reacted in an extremely unsupportive and hurtful way—blaming her for the incident and breaking up with her on the spot. The reaction of the first person a survivor tells is pivotal and can have a huge effect on their healing. “I would like people to know that this is no one’s fault but the person who did it.”

Marissa’s Story

Marissa Hoechstetter was repeatedly sexually assaulted by the OB-GYN she saw during her pregnancy, the delivery of her twin daughters, and follow-up appointments. Marissa says it was hard for her to speak about the abuse at the beginning, but eventually she realized that sharing her story would allow her both to help others and to begin her own healing. “When I speak authentically and truthfully about my experience, I have power. I am not going away.” 

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