Kaylee’s Story

Kaylee Conway was sexually abused by an extended family member. As with most children experiencing sexual abuse, she didn’t have the words to understand what was happening at the time. “To me, there was always this elephant in the room. I wanted to talk about it, but didn’t know how. I thought that because they didn’t ask, they didn’t want to talk about it. I blamed a lot of my extended family members for not bringing it up, but I wasn’t ready for that conversation either.”

Justine’s Story

Justine Baker is a Native American artist, advocate, and survivor of sex trafficking and abuse. “As my descendants come across my name, I don’t want them to come across the horrors I went through. I want them to see this article, and read that I’m a survivor.”

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.”

 

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.”

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.”

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.”

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.”

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