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hey guys. I’ve been volunteering and responding to stories for close to two years now, but I’ve never really shared my story. I won’t really go in to too much detail, but I experienced sexual assault at the hands of a baseball coach at  6 years old. Later in college I was a part of an incredibly abusive long term relationship that ended with one my ex-partner’s best friends r*ping me.

my story is unique, but it is also so much like all the stories that the beautiful brave souls who come here tell. I am so grateful to be apart of this community that supports survivors, lifts one another up, and fosters growth.

I don’t like the narrative of “my trauma made me who I am, and I wouldn’t change the things that happened to me.” I think about my trauma every single day and I still struggle with it. If I could choose, I would absolutely go back and make it so that those things didn’t happen to me, regardless of if that means I wouldn’t be the person I am today.

But the truth is that is not an option, and as much I don’t let my trauma define me, I do feel shaped by my experiences. As I move into my second year of my masters in social work, I have accepted a position as a domestic violence prevention educator, and as a r*pe crisis counselor. I consider it such a privilege to do work that I am passionate about and to make an impact. I’m not sure if I would have taken this path if it wasn’t for AVFTI, but you all have certainly played a role. Thank you so much for your constant kindness and encouragement, and the reminder that there are people who care about ending sexual violence.

Stay strong and be gentle with yourselves

Join the Conversation


  1. dzreid Volunteer

    Wow first let me say thank you! It’s because of caring people like you who truly make a difference in the lives they touch! Thank you for sharing. I am glad you chose human service field as your career path. Congratulations on the position at the women’s center. I did an internship at a women’s shelter. Although I don’t have a master’s degree, I joined AVFTI to offer hope & encouragement to others while helping them feel value & worth.

  2. Knina7 Volunteer

    Thank you for sharing your story with us, the social work field needs brave souls like you that are passionate about the job. Thank you for everything you do in the AVFTI community and be willing to speak up and dedicate your life to helping others.

    Sending Love and Hope,

  3. Jordan Volunteer

    Hey mkyuellig,

    Wow, that is such an amazing career path for you to choose and I commend you for doing so. It sounds like you are going to be an amazing counselor and truly make a difference in the lives that you come across. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us and helping others do the same. You are strong, brave, and courageous in so many different ways, and I wish you nothing but the best for your future. We are more than our trauma, but we’d all be lying if we said it didn’t influence how we think or feel about things, or perhaps why we are drawn to specific career paths. Keep doing you, doing the things that make you happy, and of course we are always here for you no matter what <3 🙂
    – Jordan

  4. Breanna Grunthal Volunteer

    Hey mkyullig,

    Thanks for sharing that with us. I’m so sorry to hear that you’ve gone through that, but I’m really glad that you recognize that these trauma don’t define you. The world needs good social workers, and your strength and bravery to work with those who’ve had similar experiences as you warms my heart. Stay strong my friend.

    Sending you support and hugs,


  5. Mary Volunteer

    Hey mkyuellig,

    Thank you for sharing! I am very sorry to hear what you have gone through. I also feel shaped by my trauma, but it definitely isn’t who I am. It’s great that you are doing something so positive with your life and are able to offer real life experience to the people you help. AVFTI is lucky to have you, and any organization that you work with in the future will be as well. The world needs more good social workers. Thanks for all you do!


  6. Shannon Volunteer

    Hey mkyuellig,

    Thank you so much for sharing your story with us and we are grateful to have you be apart of this community. I am so sorry for what you have been through, it took a lot of strength to share with us and you should be incredibly proud of yourself. I hope you continue to update us


  7. Brianna W Volunteer Volunteer

    First off thank you so much for volunteering along side us. Thank you for sharing with us and being a voice for this community. I’m so glad you are able to work in place that is going to impact so many people and help the ones who need it the most. So proud of you. You’re an amazing person who deserve light in their world.


  8. grothkat8 Volunteer


    Thank you so much for volunteering with us and coming to us with your story. You are so incredibly brave, and it is truly amazing that you are choosing a path to help others who have gone through similar experiences as yourself. Trauma is such a complex thing and everyone’s situation is unique. There is no right way to go down the path of healing, but doing what you’re comfortable with and allowing yourself time to breathe will definitely help with the process.

    We are always here for you no matter what and will always be here to listen.


  9. brodie_james Volunteer

    Hello friend!

    Thank you so much for sharing your story with us; I’m so sorry that these things happened to you. Also thank you for the time and dedication you’ve given to supporting other survivors like yourself! I completely understand not wanting to feel defined by your trauma and wishing you could go back and change it if you could, being a survivor myself as well. Your ability to understand how your experiences have shaped you and use them to motivate you to help others, even while you still struggle sometimes, is a statement to your resilience and strength to continue pushing forward. That’s an incredibly inspiring thing to be able to say, especially if you’re going into further professional work with sexual assault/trauma survivors! I’m grateful that AVFTI is full of caring, compassionate, and empathetic human beings like you to continue providing support to folks. Don’t forget to take care of yourself as well! 🙂


  10. Graciegrace22


    Thank you for volunteering with us and for being brave to share your story with us. I am glad to hear you have gain some healing and have found a career path through volunteering with AVFTI. I am on a similar career path myself through my experience of sexual abuse/assaults. They’re are so many passionate souls here with AVFTI that want to help end sexual violence and we are here to support you.

  11. Lizzi

    Hi mkyuellig,
    First, thank you so much for being a volunteer for this long! That’s such dedication and I’m sure your words have helped so many people during the worst times in their lives. It’s even more impressive that you’ve been doing it while fighting your own battles as well. I believe that most life experiences, good or bad, shape who we become as a person but it’s more than understandable to still wish those things hadn’t happened. I’m sorry that you went through these assaults and that you still have to face them in your mind every day. I wish none of it had ever happened to you and you didn’t deserve any of it. Even without these experiences, I believe you would’ve gone on to help others and make an impact in the world like you’re doing now. Keep up the amazing work and I know you’re going to continue to help so many people in your new job!


  12. Ashley Day Captain


    Thank you for making the decision to share your story.
    Since sexual violence can be traumatic, it’s not abnormal that you would prefer not to experience the sexual assault and rape if you were given the opportunity to start over. The fact that you made the decision to turn those traumatic experiences into something meaningful says a lot about your character. Congratulations on beginning your second year of graduate school! That’s a huge deal. Both of the positions that you mentioned will definitely allow you to continue making a difference.


  13. Leximcclelland Volunteer

    Thank you so much for sharing & I’m sorry this happened to you.
    Trauma is so conflicting at times, but it doesn’t define us has humans. I’m happy to hear that it has brought you to a good place in your life and where you are helping others. It’s great you are doing something you are passionate about too!
    Stay strong and good luck with the rest of your schooling ????

  14. Thomas Volunteer

    Hi mkyuellig,

    Thank you for sharing your story with us. It’s very powerful and inspiring that not only have you volunteered at AVFTI, but you’re also on your way to complete a MSW and become a r*pe crisis counselor. That’s incredible! Trauma doesn’t define you, you define you. And based on what you’re doing, I think you’re doing an amazing job, Stay strong and keep going! You can do this. As you know, we are all in this together as a community. Thank you for all that you do.


  15. colton95 Volunteer

    Thank you so much for sharing. I think that it is so awesome that you were able to find AVFTI and are now working as a r*pe crisis counselor. I hope that you will continue to stay strong and heal at your own comfort and that you are still enjoying your work.

  16. Northlane1991 Volunteer

    Thank you for your kind words and inspiration. I love how your outlook and validity you have. What happened to you was uncalled for but you turned it to having a impact on other people. I Am also in social work as well and its truly amazing to see how impactful it is to all. Congrats on postion and you do great. We are here for you If you need anything.

  17. Marissa Day Captain

    Hi mkyuellig,

    Thanks for your kind words, and for sharing a little of what your experience was. I think your outlook is very realistic and valid, and it sounds like that has played a great role in your career. It’s unfortunate that it had to come about that way, and I totally understand you wanting to take it all away. Turning what happened to you into a positive thing (helping others, I mean) is probably the most healthy way to deal with it, especially because the work you are putting in is helping shape the community today.

    Congrats on your new position. As always, we’re here for you if you need anything.


  18. Jess Volunteer

    Thank you for sharing your story with us! I’m so glad to hear that you’ve found support within AVFTI through volunteer work. Congrats on your position and keep working hard toward your goals! I loved what you said here “I don’t let my trauma define me, I do feel shaped by my experiences.” That’s an incredibly powerful statement and I think that mindset will definitely help you in your career. I hope you continue to find support within our community. As always, if you need anything, we’re always here. Stay strong and keep fighting. <3

  19. eagle206 Volunteer

    Hi mkyuesllig,

    Thank you for all the work you do with AVFTI! I’m glad you came back to share your own story with us. I agree with you, there is no reason for the trauma to shape you into who you are enough to define you. I’m so glad that AVFTI has been an amazing community for you. We are always here for you.

    Stay strong,


  20. Alyssa Day Captain

    Hi mkyuellig,
    Thank you for sharing your story with us and thank you for being a volunteer with us. Sharing your story is a brave thing to do. I know exactly how you feel when you say you want to go back in time and change it. I wish the same thing could happen to me, but what I do to help me not think like that is to remind myself of all the wonderful people who have helped me get through my trauma. Like if it wasn’t for Kristen who works with us I think I would still be extremely sad and not as mentally healthy as I am. I know it is hard to be in this situation, but there are so many people who know what you have been through, can help you when you feel sad, and you are never alone. Thank you again for sharing this with us. Continue to stay strong and we are always here for you!

  21. music2799 Day Captain

    Hi mkyuellig,
    I’m truly sorry about what you’ve been through. You’re not at fault for any of it, and you didn’t deserve for these things to happen to you. I’m glad that you’re doing such important work, and I’m confident that you’ll help many people along the way!
    Thank you for trusting us with your story and for volunteering with us. We’re always here to help and support you. You’re a resilient and brave soul, and you can do this!

  22. Julia Mandel Day Captain

    Thank you for sharing your story with us; we love having you as a volunteer! I am so glad that you are pursuing such a great career in helping others who have gone through similar traumas. We are always here for you and care about you very much; stay strong! <3

  23. Bluebell13 Volunteer

    Dear mkyuellig,
    Thank you for the work that you do, both with AVFTI and the work you are doing in your career. Having someone who is able to provide validation and empathy because they completely understand where you are coming from is comforting to the person at the beginning of their healing journey. I am sorry that you had these experience that changed your life and still affect you, but it is wonderful that you are able to turn it into something that helps others. Keep going!!!
    Sending love and strength,

  24. Erin O'Callaghan Day Captain

    Thank you so much for sharing your story with us for the first time, and for volunteering for so long! I first want to say I’m sorry for what happened to you. You didn’t deserve it, and it wasn’t your fault. That’s great to hear about the position you’ve accepted, and that you are getting your Master’s. Your work is incredibly important and needed. Thank you for being here, with us. Share with us anytime.


  25. Solongago Volunteer

    You are always so helpful, I think you have picked an awesome vocation that you will do well with.

    I have had someone say to me when I said something to the effect that I wouldn’t have had my childhood, “but that made you who you are today.” Maybe so. Maybe it did. Mostly the parts the outside world cannot see. The shrinking. The accepting everything everyone does, because I believe they know better, and I don’t deserve anything. The depression. The obsessive thoughts about IT. The hatred I have for my body and my longings. The apology for being who I am. Yeah. Maybe if IT did not happen, who knows if I would be as smart as my sister, as driven, confident, pulling down six or even seven figures, a wife and a mother. Maybe I would know what happiness and contentment feels like and I wouldn’t have to try to think back to find those positive feelings.

    The thing is, only 1 in 3 or 1 in 4 women, 1 in 9 men, have been sexually abused as children. Yes, I said only. It means that folks that make statements like these, well, many of them just don’t have a clue. And, really, that is a good thing. It is good that there are kids out there that grow up free of this stuff, who are naturally innocent and happy and exuberant. It is not their fault they don’t know. We don’t have to tell them either.

    But I agree with you totally that I don’t agree with that ideology. We don’t cut off kids arms at birth, so they can get really good at using their legs for everything and then expect them to be happy that they had to grow up without arms, because their legs are strong and useful.

    And the moment folks think that what we DID gain from having dealt with sexual abuse, they will start removing the penalties and the henous-ness of having sex with children. Already there are folks trying to say it does not negatively impact children. If they say that it makes people more alert to their surroundings, strong and able to take the sorrows of life easier, more empathetic, or whatever they can drum up, they will make excuses to remove the protections in place for children. And while they are not good enough, removing them will do terrible things.

    You will be a credit to the profession. Good luck.

  26. Natalie M Day Captain

    Hi there mkyuellig,

    Thank you so much for sharing your story and thoughts with us. And thank you for all of your work as a volunteer here at AVFTI! You are truly inspiring. Yes, you can’t go back and change what happened to you now, but even after struggling with it you have used that to continue to help others. That is amazing! It is something that is not easy to do. I am sorry for what happened to you in college and when you were so young. Neither were your fault. I am so happy you are a part of the AVFTI community. We will forever be on your side and will be cheering you on!

    Sending love and support your way!