Survivor Stories

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.”

Christy's Story

Christy Hinnant is an activist, veteran, and the current Mrs. Universal, the all-around winner of a national pageant competition. She is also a survivor of sexual assault. “I felt vulnerable that this thing had happened to me and I didn’t want it to show through to anyone. I didn’t want pity; I didn’t want them to think I was lesser. I tried never to ask for help and to show a strong exterior.”

Military Sexual Assault Survivor: James

James Landrith is a survivor of sexual violence, former U.S. Marine, and long-time part of the RAINN team. When he was 19 and on his first active duty assignment, James was sexually assaulted by an acquaintance who was not in the military. Because the perpetrator was a woman, he did not feel that he would be believed or taken seriously if he told anyone. "Even though I knew how it had hurt me, I had never given myself permission to label it as sexual violence. That’s why I never told anyone; as a man, I didn’t think I could be a survivor. I didn’t think I had the right to say it.”

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."

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