Dedeker’s Story

Dedeker Winston is an author, relationship coach, podcast host, and survivor of intimate partner violence. “What I want on a T-shirt or maybe my gravestone is the phrase ‘no jerk is worth it.’ You are worth so much more. Every single person is worth so much more than putting up with abusive behavior.”

 

Nicole's Story

Nicole is strongly connected to her Peruvian heritage and is dedicated to her faith community. She is also a survivor of child sexual abuse. “I don’t know if anyone can understand this, but my faith healed me. I just know that I’ll be okay. I’m no longer just trying to survive, life is about living everyday to your greatest potential.”

Lorward's Story

Lorward is faith-oriented, a dedicated friend, and a writer. He also experienced sexual violence during his first year of college. “Every level of campus—roommates, RAs, school counselors, therapists, and the administration—needs to be part of this. We need an increase in capacity and programs so that students can get the help they need and administrators and therapists aren’t too swamped. We need to make resources known on campus.”

Desarae’s Story

Desarae Garcia is a social worker, mother, podcast creator, storyteller, and survivor of child sexual abuse. “I’m a huge advocate for people to be trauma informed. If someone tells you they’ve been abused, believe them. If it’s too much for you to handle, find someone else who can help.”

Samantha's Story

Samantha Lynn is a musician, member of the LGBTQ community, and survivor of sexual violence. "Music is how I talk about what happened. Every time I share my story in a performance, people come up to me after to say they’re survivors, too. It’s so healing to know you’re not alone."

Elise's Story

Elise Roberts is a professional dancer, dedicated friend, and visual artist in her spare time. She is also a survivor of intimate partner violence. As a teenager, Elise experienced depression, bullying, and self-harm. “You are not a victim, you are a victory. Remember— you’ve made it through 100% of your bad days. You made it this far, you can keep going.”

Georgeta’s Story

Georgeta Rae is a musician, activist, and community leader. She experienced sexual assault during her first year of college. She started speaking at events on campus and working with the college president on the issue. Georgeta has become an outspoken advocate for improving sexual assault prevention and response efforts on her campus. “If I help others, I feel better. I heal. If I know that at least one other person won’t have to go through the same pain I went through, I feel that I am saving myself through saving them.”

Pierre's Story

Pierre Chambers is a leader in his church, musician, father, and survivor of child sexual abuse. He experienced child sexual abuse between the ages of 12 and 15. The perpetrator was the youth pastor at his church, a close family friend. As the choir director, the perpetrator was also a charismatic and important leader in the church. “We’ve all heard about child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, so through my story, I want to shed light on how this also happens in other faith comunities.”

Gail's Story

Gail Gardner is a pastoral counselor, advocate, listener, writer, and survivor of sexual violence. One of the phrases Gail says she often hears from survivors is: “there was no one there for me.” After experiencing both supportive and unsupportive reactions to what happened to her, Gail knows how much of a difference it can make when someone listens and believes you. “Telling your story will be the beginning of your healing. You will see light at the end of the tunnel.”

Sydney's Story

After a decade of not telling anyone about her experience with sexual violence, Sydney disclosed to her husband. “It was scary to tell him, because it made it feel more real. But it was also a huge weight lifted off my shoulders and the true start to my healing. If he hadn’t opened the conversation and made me feel that I could talk about it, my healing would have taken even longer to get started.”

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