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Voices from Survivors

Stopping Child Abuse in Real Time

Erin MerrynSeptember 14, 2017
Policies that Help Kids
A man in my home state of Illinois will spend the next 40 years behind bars as the consequence of sexually abusing his girlfriend’s daughter. The abuse started when she was just three. Sadly, this sort of tragic story is unremarkable in America. But what is remarkable is how the abuse stopped at age seven.The girl broke her silence immediately to teachers after a class presentation on personal body safety. This presentation was required under E...Continue

Extending Jenna's Law to Trafficking Victims

Jenna QuinnJuly 7, 2017
Policy + Advocacy
The first time I walked into a Children’s Advocacy Center, I was a teenager dealing with the aftermath of years of sexual abuse. The CAC helped my family and I understand what happened to me and gave us hope to get through the process of both my healing and the prosecution of my perpetrator and all that happens in between.Naturally, I thought that was where my journey with the CAC would end. But 3 years later, I found myself returning as an int...Continue

The Lifelong Sting of Abuse

Beth BrandesApril 13, 2017
Personal Narratives
NOTE: This story contains graphic descriptions of violence against children.I was 23 years old, in my first job as an assistant social worker in the Atlanta schools, when I was called to the principal’s office of a quiet suburban elementary school. The principal met me with hushed tones outside his office door and said, “I need you to look at Timmy; he is seven, in my office. His teacher thinks something has happened to him.” Forty years la...Continue

An Open Letter to Warriors

Katya EstesDecember 8, 2016
Personal Narratives
At 10 a.m., on July 12, 2016, I was given the chance to use my voice against something that has kept me silent for years. I testified against my grandfather, who took from me my innocence, dignity, and hope. On the stand that day, I wore several pieces of jewelry I received from victims, who endured traumatizing experiences but never had a chance at justice. The pieces symbolized strength, inspiration, and encouragement to show that abuse is a tr...Continue

The Coda of Abuse

Deondra BrownNovember 28, 2016
Personal Narratives
As a concert pianist, I have the opportunity to perform music I love for people all over the world. It is a dream. It is a joy beyond words. But don’t let my smile fool you. My journey has not been without great obstacles, some of which I will face the rest of my life.I would never have fathomed that my father could sexually abuse me. Nothing can prepare you for that breach of trust and the type of sorrow and loss that occurs. When I came forwa...Continue