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.”

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."

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.”

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.”

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.”

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.”

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