Time to tell the truth.

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Lately, I’ve been feeling the urge to tell my story. The real story, not the one I fabricated to keep people off my back or to prevent myself from having to accept the reality of the situation.

I like helping other people. I like being there and providing support, but the more that I encourage others to speak their truth, I can feel mine bottling at the back of my throat, wanting to spill out. I haven’t known where to share it that is safe, and the obvious answer has been right under my nose, so here I am.

I guess I want to put a disclaimer that this might be a bit lengthy, and it might be a bit detailed which could be triggering for other survivors. If you can’t make it through my post because of that, I understand. I really just need an opportunity to let it all out in a way that I don’t have to censor or filter myself because that’s what I’ve been doing for the past 15 years.

I was 14 years old. A freshman in high school, coupled with low self-esteem, and freshly grieving a mother figure in my life. I had recently discovered alcohol and started hanging out with people who were older and cooler than me. I just wanted to be like them.

He was my first ‘real’ boyfriend – an upperclassman, a ‘skater’, he smoked weed and was rebellious and it was every bit of escape I wanted from my sheltered, confusing life. Looking back on it, we were never really compatible. I think I was looking for some sense of being wanted because I was complacent in just about everything in the relationship, never setting or sticking to boundaries. Seeking to fill the void of love and attention that I don’t feel as though I was receiving from my family. Did I even know what boundaries were? I was a child. 6 months before I moved to high school, I was still playing with Polly Pockets. How capable of making grown-up decisions could I have really been?

It was St. Patricks Day 2006. My sister, at the time an addict, made the less than responsible decision to supply me with tons of alcohol. Looking back on it, I don’t blame her. She was fighting for my approval in our relationship, fighting against the strain her addiction had caused. And there was I, fighting for the approval of the 16-18 year olds I was hanging out with. I arrived to the party alongside my older, cooler cousin, bottles in hand and feeling like the life of the party. 

Despite being passive in the relationship, I had one boundary with the boyfriend, though. I didn’t want to have sex. I wanted to wait until marriage. 

Maybe that was a belief that would have changed as I got older, as my brain developed more, but I certainly didn’t want it at 14.

What is the point of a boundary if no one accepts it anyway?

I was blackout drunk. I remember barely being able to move and being taken to a bed. I don’t remember how I got there, but I remember the party host, an older friend, checking in on me. He’d always been such a good friend. I had feelings for him, but I ignored them for my boyfriend because it was the more convenient option as I knew he returned them. I stayed in the relationship because it was safe and I felt wanted.  At some point, my friend, who was likely the only REAL safety in that situation, stepped away, and my boyfriend entered the room and locked the door behind him.

I don’t remember much from that evening. I remember two things: Saying no, over and over again, and my friend pounding on the locked door of his house, trying to get my boyfriend to stop.

From here, I remember nothing else of the evening. At some point, my cousin had taken me back to my grandmothers where we both stayed, right down the street. I woke up with blood in my underwear, confused. 14 year old me asked my 16 year old cousin if that was normal. I had never had sex before. She told me it was, and that it would stop. But I felt a weight on my chest. I didn’t want this.

With my morals out the window, I spiralled. Coming from a quite religious household, I felt ruined. I viewed it with a black and white mentality: he was my boyfriend, so it couldn’t be rape. And since I was no longer a virgin, I would need to keep doing it if I wanted him to stay with me.

The occasional drinking turned to binging. With that came the period of hyper-sexuality, something new and unlocked in me that felt that was the only way I could keep anyone around. I stayed with him for many, many years in a toxic, mentally abusive environment – and at some point, as I grew a bit older, we had a difficult conversation about that life-altering night. I snapped and confronted him.

I looked him in the face and told him he raped me. Much to my surprise, he didn’t deny it. Instead, he cried and said, “I know.”

Well now what am I supposed to do? I’m 17 years old. I’ve spent the past three years of my life with this person, and he’s all I know. As a human being, I don’t really enjoy him or like him. We don’t get along very well. He makes fun of my interests, he cheats on me, he lets his friends bully me, he forces me to be sexual despite me not really wanting to. He doesn’t defend me, he doesn’t protect me, but he’s all I’ve ever known.

All it takes are a few of his fragile tears to shut me down again. 

And I’m no longer a child, I’m convinced I’m a woman, unworthy of anything but this. So, I stay.

He decides to join the military. In doing so, he decides he wants to be single, so he breaks it off for me. I am in shambles. Instead of seeing this as an opportunity to get away from my abuser, my brain, addicted to the comfort and safety of him around, begs for him not to leave me. I’ve spent so many years wishing someone, anyone in my life, would have intervened and told me to let him go. Did the adults in my life not see the red flags? I truly don’t think they did. I can’t be angry at them for that.

Inside, I was dying. I grew angrier each day, and my only escape was alcohol. Like a battered dog, I clung to him, convincing him to keep me at his side. I’d change myself for him, if he needed me to be more compatible for the relationship. Talk less, dress more normal, visit his parents while he was gone.

Begging for scraps, he obliged, deciding to continue the relationship with me. I spent my senior year of high school isolated, unable to connect with my peers, and pushing friends and good people away at the expense of being loyal to my abuser, who was off to defend our country instead of receiving the help that he himself likely needed. 

At some point, freshly after I turned 18, he proposed. Thinking I was heading for the life of my dreams, I agreed. He was sent to Afghanistan, and we were set to get married after his year-long tour. With every milestone in our relationship, something told me it was wrong. I didn’t want it. I didn’t want him. But he was all I ever knew.

I went to college, and started to find myself.  There, I started to question the engagement and if it was really what I wanted.

But all of the adults in my life told me it was just cold feet. And despite feeling like a woman, I was barely an adult, and so, I pushed my intuition to the side and went through with the plans.

Complacent in the relationship, complacent in the wedding. I agreed to a ceremony with religious ties I didn’t belong to, and an open bar despite the fact that I was 19 and couldn’t even legally drink. Whatever my husband wanted after coming home from the war, he would get, and I would just have to make due.

“I don’t think it’s cold feet,” I told my best friend before I walked down the aisle. She assured me it was, but how could she know? How could anyone? I never spoke the truth, or even admitted how much had went wrong in the years leading up to this. No one knew how damaged I was, what I had been sitting with – and then, there was him – a complete stranger to me, returning from a year long tour and neither of us having any idea what we were getting ourselves into. 

I pushed through and said I Do. To this day, I’ll never forget the ominous, empty feeling that lingered, not an ounce of happiness running through my veins. He on the other hand, was enthralled, and I was convinced there was something wrong with me.

At the reception, I felt like a child. Cowered in the corner, nervous and afraid, in a dress that gave me imposter syndrome while my new, 21 year old husband, who had grown from a ‘boy’ to a ‘man’ that I barely knew, grew heavily intoxicated and celebrated with his friends that had bullied me since 9th grade. I clenched my fists, wanting to run away and hide. But I couldn’t, it was too late, and I had no one who knew the truth.

I spent my honeymoon on the floor, crying and telling him that I wanted to go home. I didn’t want to have sex with him. Feelings were surfacing, and I was starting to realize what he had done to me.

It was too late to back out. Our plans were in motion – I would join him soon, out of state to live with him on base. I had no future ahead of me, this was my only shot.

His alcoholism was worse than ever before. After what I had experienced as a teenager, I detested drinking, so I no longer participated. Instead, I was forced to regularly be the DD for himself and his friends. He already had a life made before I ever arrived and moved in with him, so, despite being his newlywed, I wasn’t integrated or included in that. I was separated, ostracized, and used as a maid.

Less than 6 months in, I remember telling him, “If this doesn’t change, I’m leaving you.”

The abuse continued, both sexual and mental. Being regularly put down, and coerced into sleeping with him, did numbers on my mental health. I slipped further into the shadows, releasing control. I didn’t care what happened to me anymore. I was trapped, and now miles away from any family or friends, stuck on a military base. Isolated and with no support system, I wanted to die, and had plans to kill myself on my 21st birthday.

Right before I could get there, he received orders to move to a new state. He promised that things would be ‘different’ here.  They would get better.  The state in question was one of my dreams – I always wanted to live in the mountains. So I agreed – to stay & move, on the contingency that we didn’t live on a military base where I felt so confined and out of place.

He agreed, and we set off across the country, but he found other ways of isolating me.

Farther away from home, and growing detached and distant from my friends and family, I told no one what was happening to me. We rented a house, and I posted status updates and pictures of the beautiful views, our travels, our new dog – anything to make it appear externally as if we were a happy, normal, couple.

Moving into my new home, I felt hopeful. Maybe things will change – maybe I’ll make friends in this new state. But that wasn’t in the cards for my husband, who limited my access to finances, never introduced me to anyone in his social circle, or included me in any events. Day in and day out, I sat in a house, alone and rotting, waiting for the courage to kill myself.

His drinking continued, and my mental health plummetted. After several attempts, I dropped out of college online, and gave up any aspirations or hope for the future. I couldn’t concentrate or focus. Our house grew filthy, I stopped showering or taking care of myself. I got tired of saying no to the coercion and grew so desperate for escape that I compromised by telling him he could have sex with me while I was asleep.

Then, to escape that, I simply stopped sleeping. 24-48 hours awake, hiding in the closet wrapped in a blanket with my laptop, my only sense of normalcy. I avoided him as much as possible. Sure, we had civil moments, but the majority of our time together was spent with him making fun of me, putting me down, until I shriveled up and became a shell with no personality. I couldn’t tell anyone what was happening to me, so I took to making friends online, and slowly, overtime, started to confide in them about what was really going on in the situation.

My 21st birthday was approaching, and I had a decision to make.

My husband took me out for dinner. It was the first time I had left the house in months, because I had no access to a vehicle or money. I didn’t want to drink, but in spirit of celebration, I ordered a cocktail. I didn’t like it. He berated me for wasting $14 on a drink and I cried, making up my mind. I would kill myself that evening after he went to bed.

We got home, and I logged into my computer.  There were birthday messages from my online friends, and they wanted to celebrate with me virtually. I felt happy. I pushed the date back on the calendar, hanging on for a little while longer.

The months rolled by. Alcohol bottles covered the house, our kitchen and bathroom covered in filth. I gave up, only getting out of bed to take care of the dog we’d gotten together, and to talk to my friends online, my only reasons for living. I stopped picking up the phone when friends or family members called – they didn’t understand. And that wasn’t their fault, but I couldn’t tell them.

Eventually, I made it out. How I got to that point in many ways doesn’t matter,  but there was a life defining moment where I realized I could have freedom if I really wanted it. So I told him I wanted a divorce. He wanted counseling. I knew it wouldn’t work for me, but I obliged, thinking it would make our families happy. 

“We’ve just grown apart,” I told my mom and dad, never having echoed a single bit about any of the problems leading up to this.

The counselor on the military base told me it was my fault. I was combative and defensive, mentally ill, and she could tell I didn’t want the relationship to improve. All of that bias poured out onto me in one initial consultation. Maybe she was paid to take his side, I don’t know. While I respect the people that serve in the military, the military as an establishment has a major problem with rape culture, abuse, and alcoholism. I had seen all of this first hand, as well as their ability to cover things up and sweep them under the rug. So, it should have been no surprise to me that this was the case when I started indulging about the issues of our marriage – but I was shocked anyway. I felt myself spark – something still inside of me that I hadn’t felt in years.

I didn’t get to leave immediately. It wasn’t an easy process, but I made plans – this time, to live. To run far away and never look back. He never stopped trying to change my mind, and he never stopped trying to assault me. My last memory of seeing him, nearly 7 years ago, was physically pushing him and his advances off of me after he tried to pin me in a vehicle 5 minutes after we went to sign our divorce papers.

He would have never stopped.  It would have never stopped.  And If I had stayed, I’m certain I’d be dead.

Truthfully, I’ve never had a ‘real’ relationship following this, and I’m not sure I ever will be capable of doing so. I’ve been in love, but it was never with my ex-husband, or, the label I’d like to appropriately give him, my abuser. And because of my trauma, that love didn’t work out.

For a long time, I felt broken in ways that I couldn’t express. Devoid of any personality, I had repressed so many parts of myself. I stayed hidden in the corner, quiet and afraid. He had put my fire out entirely, but the day I decided to leave for good it started sparking again. 

If I’m being quite frank, now, I’m furious. I’m furious for the years that were robbed from me, and that because of my distrust of men, I’ll likely never open myself up again to the concept of love, or a willing relationship.  I’m not sure if that’s something that will change.

I’m turning 29 this year. I definitely did not foresee me making it this long. I’ve told close friends, and, a watered down version of what happened to some of my family, but I’ve never written my story out in full. I’ve done a lot of healing, but the work is never done, and likely never will be. 

I want to be alive and I want to love, more so than ever before. I want to be loud. I want to yell. I want to be seen and noticed and I will no longer shrink myself or hide who I am. But in order for me to do these things and exist in this state and make the most of my life, I need to tell my entire truth. And that starts here. 


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62 comments

  1. amilne9 Volunteer

    Dear sarahsays,

    Thank you so much for sharing your story with us, I know it must have taken a lot of courage to be able to open up about your experiences, and I am so so proud of you. I am so sorry that you had to go through this, I am sorry that so much was taken away from you, and I am sorry that no one protected you from your abuser. I’m sorry that no one noticed, or tried to help. You are so strong for being able to endure such a horrible situation for so long and still coming out with a positive outlook in the end. I think that it is incredible that you are okay with expressing your frustration, and instead of choosing to sink back, you are choosing to stand up. I am so happy for you, you are starting the healing process, which is going to take a long time, but I know that you can overcome what has happened to you and be the person who you have always wanted to be. I am so glad that you were able to fully express your feelings to us, no need to filter or hide anything here, we are all here for you and happy that you were able to get this off of your chest. Sending so much peace and happiness your way as you journey on in freedom.

    Much Love,
    Ari <3

  2. casitasbonitas Volunteer

    Hey Sarahsays,
    I want to start off by saying thank you for sharing your story with us. I am sorry that you had to experience this. Please do not feel like it was your fault because it was not! I hope you are at a better state of mind now and i hope you know that we are here for you always. Stay strong andsending you lots of love.

  3. CSUN Student1 Volunteer

    Hello,
    Thank you for taking the time and sharing your story with us and I am very sorry that you had to go through all this for a long time, but I can tell that you are one strong person and can overcome any obstacles that are in your way. It was very wrong of the counselor at the base to to put the blame on you when in reality, you had nothing to do with all those abuse that you were getting. Being positive and strong and looking bright into your future will always keep you going and make you successful in life and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something because THEY ARE WRONG, you can do anything in life if you believe in it. Thank you again for sharing with us your story and we are always here for support.

  4. pfuentes Volunteer

    Hey Sarahsays,

    I can only imagine the pain you experienced and I admire you for even sharing something so personal with us, it really takes a lot of courage to open up about something like this. I am so sorry this happened to you. Regardless of what the counselor said this was in no way your fault. I understand it can be difficult to let go of something because it is the only thing we may know and that can bring some type of comfort, so don’t blame yourself for staying in that situation. I am just glad you were able to free yourself of it and are more than willing to continue moving forward. You are definitely worthy of better and deserve to be happy. Please keep that positive mentality and continue working towards healing. You are strong! If you ever need anything don’t hesitate to talk to us about it or check out the many resources that may be helpful to you on the ‘find help’ tab. Send my best wishes to you!

    pfuentes

  5. ajklessig Volunteer

    Hi sarahsays,
    Thank you for taking the time and having the courage to share with us openly. I know this probably was not easy for you. We appreciate you sharing.
    I am sorry to hear about what happened to you. The counselor blaming you was so wrong. None of this was your fault, and none of it was deserved.
    You have every right to feel angry. But, 29 still means that there is life and vitality ahead. You deserve to be happy and heard! You have taken a huge step towards healing and we are all proud of you for that. Yes, the work is never done, but the hardest part is starting and you are already there. Please don’t hesitate to look at our Find Help tab too, which contains many other resources that could be beneficial for you!

  6. Jiggy Volunteer

    Hey sarahsays,
    Thank you for sharing your story, this website will always be a safe space for you. What happened to you was not your fault, like you said you were vulnerable and that guy took advantage of you. It is understandable that you felt like you were betraying your religion but that is not your fault, something was taken from you and you did not know how to process it, no one knows what to do after. Many people want to believe their first love is the final one so it is very difficult to leave, it can be scary to not have a partner after so many years of dating. While suicide sounds like it can solve your problems, it really isn’t because your life is worth more than that and you deserve to live your life to the fullest. You are very strong for wanting to continue living. That counselor sounds awful, there was apparent biases and the story was spun around to make you appear in the wrong. There have been many cases in which the military tends to keep records of sexual assault a secret. Much like you I have respect for the military, the environment is toxic and it does not have room for victims of any kind. Many victims are left behind in order to give off the aura of strength. There are plenty of resources on this website that you can use if you ever have thoughts of depression or suicide. All you have to do is click on the “Find Help” tab and search for the applicable resource.
    Hope for the best.

  7. iap66325 Volunteer

    Hello Sarahsays,

    I am happy for you that you grew the courage and strength to finally share your full story. Not only that but how you got the chance to be free of your abuser. I apologize for every single thing he put you through and even though he took that time away from you, you have a multitude of time to make up for it and do as you please because you absolutely without a doubt deserve that for yourself. Continue striving and do not let this experience impact your life forever or to ever define any of your future relationships. That is if you wish to someday go out and find a genuine connection instead just let it be a guide to steer away from anyone who falls along that spectrum like your abuser. Not to mention, keep fighting to not once become quite or even go back into your shell. Try to the best of your ability to go out, travel, try new things, do what you were not able to do before like meet new people such as the ones you met online that can grow stronger friendships because of how much they helped you in your time of need. I hope this advise helps and that you never stop but continue to take these steps to enjoy the little things especially since you have so much time ahead of you to make up for it all. I will be waiting to hear from you soon, I do send my strength and love your way!

  8. jenniferb Volunteer

    Hello sarahsays,
    I am glad that you shared your story with us. I am sorry to hear that you experienced that. I am also sad to hear that the counselor tried to blame you. None of that was your fault, you did not deserve to be treated that way. I am glad that you were able to leave that relationship and that you have been healing. I understand how difficult it can be to open up about your experiences and I think that you are such a strong and brave person. I hope that sharing your story with us has been helpful. We believe you and we are always here to support you.
    I am sending you lots of support, stay safe.

  9. CSUN Volunteer A.M Volunteer

    Hi Sarahsays,
    thank you for putting your trust in us and thank you for having a courage to share your story.I just wanted to say what you have been trough was heat breaking and sad but i’m proud of you for being such a strong person and finally be able to leave him so you can have a better future , you don’t deserve to live in shadows , be yourself and be strong you are only 29 and have a beautiful life ahead of you .Try to stay positive and if you need help you always can txt VOICE” to 741-741 or under Find Help tab you can talk to someone professional about what you went trough it may help you to heal or feel less stressed.
    best ,
    A.M

  10. eagle206 Volunteer

    Hi sarahsays,

    Thank you for coming here to share your story. It takes a lot of courage to share. We are all here for you. I’m sorry to hear that your boyfriend didn’t respect your boundaries. You deserve to be with someone who does. The line you wrote “What is the point of a boundary if no one accepts it anyways” really hits home. We deserve to have our boundaries accepted and followed always. There are people out there that will treat you with the respect you deserve. It’s never worth staying in a relationship where you are disrespected or hurt all the time. You deserve love. It’s really hard to pull away from something when it’s all you know, but it can really be worth it. You deserve to be heard, believed and loved. We are all here for you.

    Stay strong,
    T

  11. Zithlaly.cruz Volunteer

    Hi Sarahsays
    Thank you for your bravery to speak up on your personal reality, traumatic experiences, and what you have been through. I believe you. I am sorry that you had to endure emotional and physical harm in your relationship. You did not deserve to experience toxic treatment. Do not blame yourself for staying in the relationship for so long. I am proud of you for using your voice and taking the first step in the healing process. You are important and remember that we are here to listen and help you.

  12. Ana Espiritu Volunteer

    Hello Sarahsays,

    Thank you for sharing and trusting us with your story. It takes a lot from opening up and using your voice to give others strength and know that they can be in the same position as you have. It took a lot of courage for you to tell us your personal truth and what you had gone through and the traumatic experience you had to live up to. Having to feel attached to your boyfriend/husband took a lot of mental and physical damage throughout your life and having to blame yourself for staying in the relationship for so long isn’t your fault. The thought that you were being controlled and abusive is traumatic, and it can lead to feelings of confusion, doubt, and even self-blame. That’s normal for you to even be in the position because you were beaten down to know where was your worth and to gain the strength to say it is enough. You are an amazing person to have the courage to know it was enough and that you survive this experience. Not to allow anyone to controlled you the way you have. You are a survivor and I am proud that you took this healing path and to gain the truth of your life. Continue using your voice and grow from your healing experience, and hopefully, you gain the strength to someday opening up to your family. Sometimes we can use our voice for encouragement and this was your first step in giving us your truth. If you feel using your voice to open up to your parents can be a good or bad thing, it okay it takes time. I know you are determined to live a healthy life and heal from what you lost. I encourage you to come back and give us an update. Stay strong!

    Sending Support and Love,
    Ana

  13. Araceli1090 Volunteer

    Hello Sarahsays,

    I am sorry to hear for what you’ve been through. I’m sorry for the mental and sexual abuse that you had to experienced.

    However, I am glad to hear that you are no longer with him. I know that since then things have been difficult, but to me it seems that you are doing great. I know that the bad days still haunt you but you will get through this. you are a survivor. I admire your strength and determination towards the healing path. I hope you continue to spark! I hope you gain the fire that you lost. Even better I hope you attain a bigger fire.

    You are seen and noticed. we believe you. we are here for you. I love the positive attitude you have. You have my support. I am glad that you are determined to make the most out of your life. wish you the best!! Feel free to update us whenever you want!

  14. slozoya1120 Volunteer

    Hi Sarahsays,

    Thank you so much for having the courage to come here and share your story with us. I am sorry that you had to experience all of that, and that it caused you all that pain and suffering. You did not deserve any of that to happen to you. Here, we see you and we hear you; you absolutely matter to all of us. I am happy to see that you got yourself out of that situation and that you are a true fighter, I can see that you have a fighting spirit! Do not stop being loud and yelling in telling your truth. You matter, and your story matters. I hope that you can continue to heal. Keep practicing self-care and stay strong. We are always here for you.

    -Sam

  15. Tokyo_Kaneki Volunteer

    Hello Sarahsays, thank you for telling us your story. You’re right, right here is where you are able to tell us your truth and to start the process of making the most out of your life. I am so glad that you are here with us today, we are always here to listen and support you. I am also very happy that you were able to get away from your abuser, he did not deserve to have you in his life and you did not deserve to have to go through everything he put you through. You are so strong, please do not ever think otherwise and also remember that none of that was ever your fault. I am sure that in time you will feel alive and you will be able to love. The path is never easy but with time, hopefully things will start to improve. If you are ever feeling down, please do not hesitate to text ‘VOICE’ to 741 741 and we also have many resources that might be useful to you under the “get help” tab. Please know we are all here to listen to your story and to support you. Please continue to update us, sending you lots of love and support.
    – J

  16. Karenv12 Volunteer

    Hello Sarahsays,
    I would like to start off by saying that I admire you so much for feeling comfortable enough with us to share your story. You are so strong for everything that you endured for such a long time. I want you to know that we believe you and support you and that you are not alone in this. Nothing that you went through was your fault, and I am so proud of you for finally being able to leave that toxic environment and putting yourself and your needs for your mental and physical health first. please keep us updated.

    sending you lots of positivity and love,
    Karen

  17. Ramon Moran Volunteer

    Hello sarahsays,
    I am happy that you were able to tell your story and I want you to know I believe you 100%. I am sorry that You had to go through the constant sexual and mental abuse. It must of been really hard to leave him after being with him for so long. Nothing that has happened to you was your fault, and he had no right to have sex without your consent. And something must of been wrong with the councilor for putting all the blame on you because, nothing was your fault. You are strong and have a lot to live for. I know that the healing process is different for everyone so take your time. Your voice is heard and you are a very strong person for sharing your story. If you need more help feel free to check out the help tab above or text “VOICE” to 741-741. Stay strong and feel better. -Ramon

  18. Marissa Day Captain

    Hi sarahsays,

    Thanks for sharing your story with us. I’m so sorry for everything that you’ve been through. You didn’t deserve anything he did to you. It is so sick that, even though your friend was banging on the door, your boyfriend still did what he did. I’m so proud of you for finally writing out your story and sharing it with the world. Your writing was done so eloquently and really painted a vivid picture of what happened. I think you’re very talented!

    I am so glad you were able to find that group of online friends. It sounds like they really helped you to realize you didn’t have to live the way you were living with your abuser. Have you had any contact with your ex? I hope he is staying away from you. You deserve to feel safe. I can understand how you feel about not opening up again to a relationship. Healing takes time, but it sounds like you already know that.

    I can see that spark inside of you, and I know you’re going to do great things. Stay strong. You can do anything you put your mind to! Let us know if there’s anything we can do for you. We are here to help!
    Marissa

  19. candyappleb Day Captain

    Hi sarahsays,

    I am so sorry that you had to endure years of abuse from this person. I am also so proud of you for taking the time to share your entire story and retrieve the spark you lost. I can see your spark toward the end of your story. It is inspiring and powerful, just like you. Please feel free to share with us again anytime. We are here to support you in anyway that we can. You’ve got this!

    All the best,
    Becca

  20. JudithT Volunteer

    Hi sarahsays,
    Thank you so much for trusting us with your story. It takes a lot of courage to share something so personal in full, and I’m so sorry that you had to endure so much for so long. It sounds frustrating and infuriating to process so many painful memories and feelings of regret. In hindsight, red flags can appear obvious, but at the time, you made decisions based on what you knew and felt to be true. What happened to you was not your fault. You never deserved to be treated that way. The fact that you were able to decide to leave, to find the resolve to run and live, is incredible and shows how strong and brave you are. It is so inspiring that you were able to rekindle your spark and your desires to be alive and to love, to yell and be loud and seen and heard. Your anger and fury are completely valid. It sounds like you’ve done a significant amount of healing and you may have a lifelong journey of healing ahead of you. I truly hope and believe that one day you will feel able to love and be loved again. I wish you the best and I’m grateful that you were able to fully share your truth with us. We will always be here for you.
    Sending love and strength,
    Judith

  21. haesol Volunteer

    Hi sarahsays,

    Thank you so much for trusting us with your story. I’m so sorry for the things you went through; you didn’t deserve to be hurt and have your boundaries disrespected. It’s not your fault at all, and I’m sorry that counselor told you otherwise.

    You are so brave to come here and share your story after everything that happened, to end things off with that man, and to acknowledge the path you’ve walked thus far. It does sound like you’ve done lots of healing, and I’m sure you can do much more if that’s what you want. Healing is different for everyone, and it’s not linear. Sometimes the hurt comes in waves, but that doesn’t mean you’ve stopped healing. I want you to know that we’re here to support you along the way, and I hope to see you be loud, alive, and heard as you want—as you deserve.

    I hope writing this has helped you out in some way, feel free to come back here anytime you want, we are here for you.

    Stay safe.

  22. brookeallnutt Volunteer

    Hi sarahsays,

    Thank you so much for sharing your story with us! I’m so sorry that that man hurt you and disrespected you. I’m so happy that you’ve made it this far and that you want to be alive and love! You definitely deserve to have a happy, loving life and to share your whole truth. I hope you are surrounded by people who will support you and listen to you. We hear you and we support you! Please feel free to share anything else that comes up. I wish you the best!

  23. jcas120 Volunteer

    Hello Sarah,

    Thank you so, so much for your inspiring bravery. Sharing this story must have taken a tremendous amount of courage. I couldn’t even begin to imagine how difficult it was to go through all of this and I’m so thankful you’re here with us today and out of that relationship. I am so sorry to hear about everything that had happened to you. One thing you really said to me that stuck out was how the counselor blamed you for everything and this seems like something that happens too much, I hope that this changes. I felt the shock that you must have felt at that moment.

    I know you mentioned that writing this story out was the first time you did it in full. I hope you know we all appreciate you so much and are inspired by the courage that this took. We are here for you and will be if you ever want to share more! I hope that writing it out brought you some peace that you deserve.

  24. juliecounseling

    My beautiful friend Sar, my heart breaks for you and everything you’ve been through. I am so sorry for all of the abuse and trauma you endured. I am especially disappointed in the couples counselor you saw, as our client is the relationship, and we absolutely are not supposed to take a side. Along the years, it seems so many people have hurt you, and that was wrong. It wasn’t your fault. None of it was. You are one of my favorite people in this whole entire world and that will never change. I’m so proud of you for speaking openly and sharing your story. I’m proud of you for staying strong too, despite how much this must hurt to this day. I love you with all my heart Sar and I’m always a message away to validate and empathize with you. I hold no judgments in my heart toward you and don’t think I ever could. I will always adore you for the wonderful person you are and I hope you know my have my support and love unconditionally, always. 🖤

  25. Caitlin Volunteer

    I am so sorry. I am sorry you have been through all of that. I am sorry that people around you didn’t see it in you. I am sorry it went on all that time.

    Thank you for sharing and I hope that in doing so it is just the start to your true healing. It is never too late. You have survived all that you have been through for a deeper reason that may not be apparent right now. You deserve to be happy, you deserve to heal, to grow, to move onto to something amazing!

    You are stronger than you know! Do you have people in your life now that are supportive to you? Do you have people you can talk to? Having people that truly see you and support you can be so important.

    you are brave

    -Caitlin

  26. KatherineL Volunteer

    Hey Sarahsays,

    I am so happy that you finally found the space to share your story in full. I hope that getting this all out in the open was cathartic for you. You should be proud of yourself for making it through all of this harm and abuse, and sharing your story here. I know it wasn’t easy and that is clear evidence of your strength. I can totally understand why you’re angry for those years lost. It was not okay what you had to endure, but also this was not your fault. You completed your only responsibility, which was to survive the abuse. But that doesn’t negate what was taken away from you during that time. I know it might feel like you’ll never find love or a happy relationship, but 29 is still so young! While you may never completely heal from this harm, you can still move forward. You made a big step in that direction by sharing your truth here. So what’s next? Be alive, be loud, be seen. You got this!

    KatherineL

  27. chompyapple1 Volunteer

    Hi Sarahsays,

    Thank you so much for sharing with us. I am so sorry you had to go through so much. You did not deserve any of it. I’m glad that you found the strength and courage to both share your story on here and that you’re trying to heal. I hope that you will be able to find someone who will be able to support you. Our “Find Help” Tab has some great resources. Stay strong and take care!

  28. musicislove

    Hi Sarahsays,

    Thank you so much for sharing your story here, that takes a lot of courage and I’m grateful you trust us here at AVFTI to give support. I am so sorry for all of the trauma your abuser put you through but I’m so glad that you got out of that relationship when you did. Losing your mom at such a young age is so hard and I’m sorry you went through that, it’s understandable to want to feel wanted. I’m sorry you were stuck in an abusive relationship for so long and that you were isolated the way you were. You have every right to be furious, that is a completely valid feeling, you deserve to feel happy and safe, two feelings you didn’t get with your ex.

    I really love your last paragraph. You deserve all of what you want and so much more, I hope that sharing your whole story has helped you as you start on your healing journey and I’m so excited for you. Please come back anytime, we’re always here for you. Sending you hope!

    Delaney

  29. lilyk Volunteer

    Hi sarahsays,

    Thank you so much for trusting us with your story. I’m so sorry you had to deal with the abuse for so long. You did not deserve anything he did to you. Even though you’ve had to go through all of this, you are so incredibly strong to keep fighting, file for divorce, and share your story. I’m so happy that you are doing better now, and I’m sending you strength as you continue your healing journey. Thank you again for sharing, we’re always here for you.

  30. jyoung Volunteer

    Hi sarahsays,

    Thank you for trusting the AVFTI community with your story. I’m so sorry to hear about what happened to you. It saddens me that he was somebody you trusted so much. You did not deserve anything he did to you, nor was it your fault. Regardless of your decision to drink or partake in any other activities, he had no right to exceed the boundary you had put in place. You have every right to enjoy yourself as you please. He shouldn’t have taken advantage of you. Any emotions or thoughts you have experienced, or continue to experience, are valid.

    I’m so glad you feel that writing and sharing your story will provide you with some comfort, as well as aid in your healing. You deserve to be happy and exist in a state where you feel comfortable and don’t need to shrink/hide who you are. You are on your path to healing, and although the process takes time and can be very inconsistent, please know it won’t last forever. You will get through this, and we will be here supporting you the whole way!

    Take care,
    Jasmine

  31. VolunteerNem Volunteer

    Hi Sarahsays,
    Thank you for sharing your story for the first time. It is really brave of you to share it and we are here to support and help you. I’m sorry you had to go through this. You have been through so much and I am glad you are starting to heal again. Sharing your story is a huge step in the right direction, so hopefully you can share it with a close loved one. Please keep us updated and stay safe!

  32. colton95 Volunteer

    I am really sorry for all that you had to go through. You did not deserve any of it. I’m glad that you found the strength and courage to both share your story on here and that you’re trying to be alive and love again. That’s awesome! I hope that you will be able to find someone who will unconditionally love and care for you, and that you will continue to be strong.

  33. seanprender34 Volunteer

    Sarahsays,

    I first off want to commend you for being so strong. The story you told was incredibly powerful and emotional and the only kind of person that could make through everything you have is a survivor. None of the actions that you detailed in this post was your fault, none of it. Healing is a complicated process that works differently for each individual and I’m glad that AVFTI has given you a platform to help you heal and share your story. I wish for you to continue on your healing process and focus on creating the most fulfilling life you can. If you ever want to come back, know that this community will hear you and help you always.

    Sean

  34. karinakalke Volunteer

    Hi Sarahsays,

    Thank you for trusting us with your story. I know it can be difficult to share what happened. I want you to know that I admire your courage. I am so sorry you’ve experienced this trauma. None of it was your fault. I’m glad you found your way out of that relationship, and I hope your life continues to improve. We are here for you.

    Sending love and support,
    Karina

  35. oscarl2 Volunteer

    Hello Sarahsays,
    I want to thank you for taking this large step in life and telling us your full story. It is not easy to speak up what has happened to you but you did and that takes so much courage for you to do. Just know that none of this is your fault. It is difficult getting out of abusive relationships but I am glad to hear that you did and I hope that your life continues to get better on your path to healing. I am glad to hear that you will not shrink yourself or hide who you are. You are an incredibly strong person who overcame your situation and I hope you can see that in yourself. If you ever need to reach out to us, feel free to.
    Wishing you the best,
    oscarl2

  36. Pamela Z Volunteer

    ^ Sarahsay

  37. Pamela Z Volunteer

    Hello Sarahsays,
    Thank you for trusting us with your story, I am glad you have found your voice and I hope it feels like a weight off your shoulders. I am just so sorry that you had to go through this, you have dealt with so much. You were a prisoner in your own home, he did not let you have a life. You did your best to cope the way you did, it must have been so hard and I applaud you for that, for staying strong. None of this was your fault, you made the best decision to start your life, and find happiness. I am glad to read that your friends and family gave you this push, do not forget how loved and cared for you are.

  38. Neesha Volunteer

    Sarahsays,
    I am sorry to hear about the loss of a mother figure. Being with a guy, even an incompatible one, is a reasonable way to react as a way to escape. Not wanting to have sex is perfectly acceptable at any age. Being drunk and also saying no was more than enough and I am so sorry that he ignored you and raped you.
    It makes sense that between the religious guilt, being violated, and in a toxic relationship that you binged drank and went through a period of hyper sexuality. You were in an awful situation and you coped with it the best that you could, its okay if it wasn’t ideal.
    You have been through so much and I can’t express how much I admire you for picking yourself up, staying with us, and trying to find a way to take control and heal.
    Do check out the resources tab, there may be something of use to you. As always we are here whenever you choose to share.

  39. Alyssa Day Captain

    Hi sarahsays,
    I’m so sorry that this happened. You deserved so much better from your abuser. You are so brave and so strong. You have been through so much and I don’t have any words to say than I’m just so proud of you for continuing to push yourself. You knew there was going to be a time where you saw the light to get out and you held on to that. I know sometimes it feels like suicide can be the answer, but it is not. Time is. Time is a huge healer. Things will and always do get better. It just takes time. I really am just so proud of you for getting a spark to take control of your life. You deserve to have control and do what you want to do. Thank you for trusting and sharing your story with AVFTI. Continue to stay strong. We are always here for you.
    -Alyssa

  40. leoreslavick Volunteer

    Hi sarahsays,
    Thank you for sharing. I am so happy you found something like AVFTI, in which you can share your real story, one free of censors. I can only imagine how good it feels to tell your whole story and I hope you continue to update us as we are always here to listen and provide support. Your abuser found you at a time that he knew he could take advantage of you and it sucks that you didn’t have the support and guidance to help you out of the toxic situation you were in. The military counselor was completely wrong and I am sorry that they made it sound like the divorce was your fault as it was definitely not. I am so happy that you have learned to grow from the toxic relationship and I know that one day you will find the love that you deserve. You are so strong for sharing and I hope you continue to share your story on other outlets. We are always here for you.
    Take care and stay strong,
    -Leore

  41. music2799 Day Captain

    Hi sarahsays,
    My heart goes out to you, and I see you. It sounds like you were at a vulnerable stage in your life when your abuser first made contact. He put you through so much, none of which you deserved or were at fault for. What the military base counselor said was wrong. It’s terrible that he kept you isolated from the people you care about. It sounds like he stifled you and your growth in so many ways, which is not even close to what a healthy relationship looks like. It makes sense that you’re furious about what he put you through.
    I’m glad you could tell your online friends what was happening and get out of that abusive relationship. I’m glad you’re still here because you deserve the chance to live a fulfilling life in ways that speak to you. Now that you’re out of the abusive environment, you can focus on yourself and show up as you are. You can be loud and take up as much space as you need, and you can take all the time you need to reach that point. As you heal, I encourage you to be compassionate with yourself.
    Thank you for sharing your truth with us. It takes strength and courage to share what happened. I hope it was cathartic for you, and I’m glad you wrote to us. We’re always here for you, so please write back whenever you would like to share. We want the best for you, and we care about you.

  42. Angela Volunteer

    Hi sarahsays,
    Thank you for sharing and trusting us with your story. I know it must have been difficult to do so but it sounds like you really needed to do so and I am glad you did. That was a lot to go through but I am glad you are safe now, it may have taken a while to leave but you did it and I am so proud. You are now in your healing process and I hope it is a speedy one but then again it will take time, please keep pushing you are strong. I really hope nothing but good things come your way from now on, you deserve it. Please feel free to come back, we are here for you and take care!

  43. Bluebell13 Volunteer

    Dear sarahsays,
    Thank you for trusting us with your whole story. It is difficult to show our full and true selves when we have spent SO many years trying to remain unseen after so many years of feeling unseen. It took immense courage to finally get away and to work on healing yourself. Be gentle with yourself and be sure to give lots of love to those younger versions of yourself who didn’t get the help they needed at the time. We are here for you whenever you need a safe place to write/talk. Our Find Help tab has some wonderful resources and our community is the best at holding space for healing.
    Sending you love and strength,
    Roxie

  44. CarmenR Volunteer

    Hi there sarahsays,

    I want to start by saying thank you for your courage and for sharing this story with us. You deserve to be seen, noticed, and heard. You deserve to be yourself, be free, and live the life that you want. I am so sorry for all that you have been through. I’m sorry that you didn’t have many people to confide in while things were bad. Online friends can be so important, and I’m glad you had them to turn to. I hope you know that you are always welcome here, and that we hear you and believe you. Healing is a process, and some days are hard while some are easier. You are healing though, and I truly hope that writing your story out here has been helpful. We support you. Stay strong, and thank you again for trusting us with your truth.

    Carmen

  45. Starling Volunteer

    Hi sarahsays,
    Thank you for sharing your story with us. I’m sorry that this happened to you. It must have been incredibly hard to go through this for so long without any support. I’m glad that your online friends were there for you and gave you that will to continue until you could get out. Have you tried talking to a therapist about any of this? It might be helpful to talk through all of this with a professional to work through your emotions and further your healing. It’s completely up to you though. There’s no right or wrong way to heal, and you should do this at your own pace. If you ever need anything, let us know. We’re always here for you.

  46. rachelb098 Volunteer

    Hi there,

    Thank you for sharing your truth with us today; you deserve to be heard and supported. Firstly, I have to say how sorry I am for what you went through. I can’t imagine how devastating it must have been to go through this abuse alone with no support, and to have the counselor blame you. The fact that you were able to push through and begin the healing process shows an incredible amount of strength, bravery, and above all perseverance. You also express yourself so clearly and with so much insight, which is a really powerful skill. After reading your story and reading about your courage, I have no doubt in your ability to continue the healing your journey. You deserve to love and to be loved, to be listened to and supported, and we are here for you every step of the way.

    Wishing you all the best,
    -Rachel

  47. aegardiner Day Captain

    Hi sarahsays,

    Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. I am so sorry that for so many years you were unsafe and unhappy. It took a lot of courage to decide that that was not the life you wanted to live. It’s good to hear that it’s been 7 years since you’ve seen him last and I hope that he continues to stay in your past even though the memories of what happened will always live with you. Despite all of that you can be happy again and you deserve to be. He had to right to do all of the things that he did to you, to continue to stay in your head and cause you to be hurt and angry, to make you feel like you can’t trust others because of his actions, to make you feel like you’ll never be able to heal. However, you have every right to feel how you do right now. You had to deal with so much for so long and it’s bound to take its toll. You are strong and you are courageous and you should not feel like you need to hide or shrink. You have taken the first step and told you story and spoken your truth – that is amazing! I hope you realize how powerful that is and I hope you are already starting to feel the impact from it. We have resources on our Find Help tab if you haven’t yet taken steps to working with a counselor so that you can start to heal from all the ways you are feeling. We are always here to be a continual support for you as well, so please use us as often as you need. We believe you and we want the best for you!

    1. aegardiner Day Captain

      I mean to say “he had NO right to do all of the things that he did to you…”

  48. Lusine05 Volunteer

    Hello sarahsays,
    Thank you for opening up and telling your full story. I am sure it was not that easy, but I am also one hundred percent sure that you are very courageous. I am glad that you found a safe place to start your healing process, and we have counselors that can help you with that if you want. And, of course, you have us. you can also consider us as your new online friends 🙂 I am happy that you want to live and love that is huge progress. I’m sorry you were going through this abusive relationship; I cannot imagine how hard it was for you. As you have mentioned, your fire started sparking again after you left him after he put that fire out, and it takes time for a fire to grow big, and it starts with a spark. You are headed in the right direction, and we will be here for you!
    Shine bright and stay safe,
    L

  49. Erin O'Callaghan Day Captain

    Thank you for sharing with us your full story, and I am glad that you felt that you were able to share that. I am glad you are alive. Be loud, yell, be noticed, be you. You deserve all of that. I am so sorry for the years of abuse that you experienced, and how it impacted you. You didn’t deserve any of it, and none of it was your fault. I know the feeling of feeling like you will never be able to love or really open up to anyone else. I feel that way about what I have experienced a lot. But, spending the last 5 years not dating anyone, and taking the time to be with myself and to be the myself that I want to be, not the self that someone else wants me to be, has really helped with those feelings. I think being with yourself, being you, exploring yourself is amazing, and you deserve that after so long of being told that you shouldn’t be who you are. You are welcome to come back any time-I hope it helped to share here.

    Erin

  50. coachdiggs Volunteer

    Hello Sarahsays,
    First I wanted to say thank you for sharing your story. I am so for what happened to you when you was younger. You had to go through some much drama. I Just wanted to say that you should stay away from him to avoid from him. In the longrun I am happy that you made it through all of that. I am happy that you not letting him control you or affect you anymore. I wanted to say keep speaking your mind on everything do not let it bottle up inside. Lastly, I wanted to say thank you for sharing your story.
    Kevin

  51. lizzi

    HI sarahsays,
    Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. I’m so sorry for what you went through, and how much of your life you spent with your abuser. You had to endure so much trauma, isolation, and depression. You didn’t have a way out, and at points it seemed easier to just stay with him. I’m glad that you’ve gotten away from him, and that you have been able to start telling people your story. More than anything, I’m glad that you’re still alive. All the things you want to do and be, you can! I’m so proud of you for taking this step to share the true story, and I encourage you to keep doing whatever else you need to heal from what happened. You’re such a resilient person for surviving what you did, I believe you can do whatever you want in the future. We believe you and we support you. We’re here for you if you ever want to share more.

  52. Stark21 Volunteer

    Hello Sarahsays,
    I would like to thank you for trusting and sharing your story with us. I am glad that you reached out here on AVFTI where you felt safe to do so. Your perseverance and the courage you display in your story is admirable. By telling your truth and full story, it’s super encouraging for others to do the same. This situation was something I am truly sorry you had to ever be in for so many years. I’m sorry that those around you didn’t make you feel as though you could trust your gut and shrugged it off as “cold feet”. It is good to hear that through all of this you were able to leave and be able to find your voice. I am happy you are here with us today sharing your story. We are here for you if you ever need to talk or update us. Also please check out the self help tab for any helpful resources on your path to healing.
    -R

  53. heretohelp101 Volunteer

    Hi sarahsays, thank you for sharing your story.
    I am so proud of your bravery and this is a good first step to your own healing
    I hope that this journey of yours builds you into such a strong and powerful woman because you deserve nothing less
    I also hope you continue to involve us and AVFTI in this ride with you so that we can see your growth and accomplishments
    -jan

  54. dzreid Volunteer

    Hi there Sarahsays,
    Your story is simply your story so, please don’t feel bad for how long it was! I am glad you found avfti & decided to “tell the truth”. sharing is so freeing especially when you lay it out without sugar coating. Let me tell you that I am so thankful that you chose life over death! You didn’t take your life despite all your struggles! You are not alone! I have had friends who have shared similar experiences about being connected with the military & being assaulted. I am so sad that you endured so much for so long. It breaks my heart hearing how empty you felt. I can relate to that feeling! I can certainly see how you felt trapped. I’m sorry he took from you in so many ways. I am glad you reached out & attempted to tell the on base therapist. It makes me angry when I read what she told you that it was your fault. I hope you know that no matter what was going on at the time in your life, how he treated you was not your fault! You did nothing to deserve that! Today, is the day you chose to speak up. I am glad you are finding your voice again. Stand strong, take things day by day & begin to reclaim who you are meant to be. One day, you will be able to find peace & happiness. it takes time so be patient with yourself. You can find your way again. I know you will. We are here for you, along with our “find help” page if you need to find resources. There is also a crisis line you can tex “voice” to 741741. wishing you the best!
    Dawn

  55. betterdays1 Volunteer

    Hi Sarahsays,
    Reading your post showed me that even though life gets difficult, it always gets better in the end. I could feel you letting go and pouring your feelings out! This is a big step in your recovery process. I could tell you are in the right path and know that you have made the right decision for yourself. You might feel like you are not where you wanna be, but the rest of us see a huge process because what you went through was not easy but you did it and you are doing great! Thank you for being so transparent with us. Your story helps a lot of people including myself and I wanna thank you for it. And you are so right about wanting to be who you wanna be. Live life to the fullest because you are in charge of your own happiness.
    Sending so much love.
    -v

  56. lmc83823 Volunteer

    Hi sarahsays,
    Wow, what an impactful story. I am so happy to see that you chose to share your story here. I want to thank you for trusting this space to tell your truth. You are valid in every way and I am sorry that you had to experience so much trouble all those years. I am glad to know that you were able to escape and you are such a strong person for making that decision. I know you mentioned that you feel like those years were robbed from you, but I’m glad that now you have a chance to do what you want and be who you want. The healing part of the journey is never easy, but I am happy to know that you have started to heal by sharing your story. I hope sharing your story here has brought some sort of solace or relief. Please feel free to always return and update us on whatever it may be or emotions you may be feeling. We hear you and we are here to help in any way we can.
    Sending you love and strength,
    Luna

  57. zelda Day Captain

    Hi, Sarah! Thank you for telling your story. I can relate so much to your experience. I’m so sorry that you were abused by him, but I’m so glad you were able to escape. Many people do not until it’s too late.

    Your story is so powerful, especially the last paragraph. You are a force to be reckoned with, but it sounds like you already know that. 🙂 No matter what your ex did, one thing is crystal clear: He lost; you won.

    He couldn’t rob you of your voice, nor rob you of your strength. You went through a lot, and you had to go through so much in order to overcome. And you’re still pushing through. Personally, for me, you are very inspirational. I’m early into my healing journey (about a year), and it’s been filled with ups, downs, and everything in between. The confidence and self assurance you possess, I one day want to have and fully own.

    I’m thankful I got to read your story, and I’m thankful for the impact it has on me. I feel like you have helped me more than I could help you!

    P.S. If you are not already a volunteer here, you may want to think about applying. You have a way with words, and you write beautifully.

  58. Solongago Volunteer

    Hi sarahsays,

    Isn’t the healing journey strange? First we hide who we really are because if we don’t, no one will want to be around us, no one will care for us. Then one day we realize that if people do not know who we really are, than they do not really care for us, or know us and accept us. If we begin to tell folks and they do not run screaming away, pretty soon we want everyone we care about to know, though we still may choose not to tell some folks. I think at some point, when we are comfortable in our own skin and do not need the validation of others to feel ok about ourselves, I think we come to a point where we can tell someone or not, and will not derive our own self-worth by their reaction. I think because I do not know, yet.

    I think we all want folks to know the real US. To know our truth. It takes a lot of courage to reach beyond the syndrome (how our brains react to our trauma) and tell our story anyway, when every fragment of our brains is programmed to keep it all a deep dark secret. Thank you for sharing who you really are with us. I think to truly help other people we have to be whole or at least on the path of wholeness ourselves.

  59. KevionS. Volunteer

    Hi sarahsays,
    I would like to first thank you for sharing your story with us. You are also a very brave person and what has happened to you is not your fault in any way. Do not let what has happened define you because we notice you.Your story matters to us and we are here for you no matter what. I want to once again thank you for coming forward and sharing your experience with us. Please feel free to share more of your experiences with us because once again we are here for you and you are not alone in your journey.

    Best,
    Kevion.

  60. sarahj Volunteer

    From one Sarah to another, let me say: welcome & thank you for sharing your story with us. You have taken such a big step by being honest and writing your experiences.
    I hear you. I see you. I hope in some small way sharing has been helpful to your healing journey.
    I am so very sorry to hear the things you have had to endure and the years that were stolen from you. I am hopeful that you will continue to share your experiences with others, when you are comfortable and no longer hide your truth. You are so incredibly strong and wholly worthy of love and healing.
    Please feel free to continue sharing with us as you like. We are always here to support you. Sending you strength and empowerment, sarahj.

  61. tolleytn Volunteer

    Hi sarahsays,

    I commend you for your courage to share your story with us today. It can be extremely difficult to come forward and talk about what happened. It is absolutely not your fault and you did not do anything to deserve this. You are not alone in your healing journey and we are all here to listen or help in any way that we can. Remember to take care of yourself and stay safe and healthy <3

    – Tiff