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I was first assaulted when I was 18 years old. The first person I called was my mother. She was supportive and listened to me. I was so lucky to have her. Not everyone has the support I did. Little did I know, she had her own experience.

My mother was assaulted when she was a child. It was her doctor. But my grandmother did not know how to handle it, she was a single mother, and you didn’t talk about things like that with anyone. When my mother opened up to me about this, my heart broke. She felt like she could tell me because I have spoken up about the issue of sexual assault. She knew I would understand. I am so thankful that she trusted me enough to tell me.

My mother has been a fighter her entire life. But you would never know. The way she carries herself, the way she laughs; she lives like she has never had a bad day. She is my biggest inspiration. She has brought me up to become a feminist and has taught me to be the best person I can be. Even with all the wrongs that have happened to her, she continues to give unconditional love to every person she meets.

My mother may be a survivor, but I wouldn’t say she is a “victim”. She takes what has happened to her as another part of her past. I do not know if there was a time that she had much grief, but her assault could have destroyed her. It could have stopped her in her tracks. She could have had a completely different outlook. But she fell in love, she got married and had three children. She has survived through so much and she is always fighting. Some days she’s tired. Some days she’s mad. But she relentlessly works hard to provide the best life that she can for me and my siblings. Times have been tough, there are many things that could have ruined her, but she doesn’t let that become an option. While she is a survivor of assault, she is also a warrior. She has taught me so much, and given me so much love. I can only hope I can be half the woman she is. Thank you mama.

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