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Once upon a time, many survivors of child sexual abuse felt afraid and alone. They kept their stories to themselves, suffering in silence and living with a constant fear. We are working to change that.

Through Little Warriors, we provide awareness and education to shine a bright light on this horrific crime and to prevent children from experiencing its devastating effects.

Through the Little Warriors Be Brave Ranch, we provide treatment to child sexual abuse survivors and their families. With multiple therapies and dedicated support, we provide a safe place where courage conquers fear, where child sexual abuse survivors can take back their childhoods and reveal their inner heroes.

You can help. Your story has the power to inspire others on their healing journey. Tell your tale.


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Here are some stories from those who have conquered their fear and revealed their inner heroes.

Laryne

Laryne's Story

My name is Laryne, I am a 25 year old proud Indigenous woman from the Indian Reserve of Gingolx and I am a survivor (I do not say that lightly but with so much power and pride). I had been silenced for 12 years up until now. It was our family secret that my stepfather who I have known since I was 4, who adopted me, raised me with four siblings. Raped, molested, abused me starting at the age of 8.

The last time I thought would be his last time to touch me was at 14. When I finally told someone who wasn’t my mother, my best friend, or other close relatives. From there, he was charged 3 years probation for ‘sexual assault’. Ultimately, he and I couldn’t be in the same house together, so my mother made a decision—him. I was sent away to live in a city 18 hours away from my family.

Throughout those teenage years, I self-destructed with drugs, alcohol, promiscuity, dropped out of school, and attempted suicide. And as hard as it was, I was still struggling to survive, I went to anger management and counselling.

It wasn’t until my 20’s when I finally found peace. I got married, travelled the world, and currently in my second year at the University of Saskatchewan while employed as an outreach worker for at-risk youth.

But, this past July, I made a visit “home” to my mothers’ for a funeral. I woke up to my stepfather touching me.

My life took a million steps backwards and I was left panicked, scared, and feeling just like I had years ago. But the difference is, I did not take responsibility for his actions. I took back my power and shaking, crying and rambling on, I told my story in my rawest form.

Coming from an Indigenous community, I had no idea what the reception would be, but I did it for me. I broke my silence, I told my truth and I am standing here in the best, broken state I’ve ever been in. I am trying to find peace again and I am putting myself together one step at a time. But, what I’ve learned through sharing my story, is that I am not alone. Unfortunately, there are many just like me. But as I’ve stood up, people started to gather around me, supporting me and sharing with me their own stories. From there I decided that I am a survivor, and I wanted others to find that within themselves too. So, here I am.

Shandi

Shandi's Story

In the backseat of our big old car, my grandfather pulled out his penis and undid my pants. My mother was driving. He wanted me to touch him, but I was scared. I was 5.

My grandfather found me playing behind the granaries on our acreage. Again he exposed himself. I ran away. I was 8.

My grandfather closed a bedroom door in his house and came toward me. I didn’t know where grandma was. My aunt came home and opened the door, scaring him off. No one said a word. I was 10.

No one said a word, about any of it, ever. Not to me; not to my knowledge.

But appearances and well behaved children were very important to my mother. She encouraged (forced) me to acknowledge my grandpa, hug him, speak to him.

I had no voice but my anger boiled. My sadness deepened. My self disappeared. I had no voice to advocate for myself; all I had was rebellion and attitude. I lashed out at my mom every chance I could. I hated her. I loved her. I wondered if she loved me. I drank (alcoholically I would later learn), I slept around, I didn’t care about myself or anyone else. I had anxiety, paranoia, violent tendencies. I was a messed up tornado, destroying relationships, my mental health, myself. And all the while I was the ‘good’ granddaughter.

One day, in my 20s, my dad made a positive comment about my grandfather. My head swirled. How could he favor that man after what he did to me? And then panic; what if he was like my grandfather and I have blocked it out? I couldn’t eat, sleep, function properly. I went to my dad’s for Christmas and was zoned out in anxiety. My step-mom asked me what was wrong and I confided in her in the bathroom. I said, “you know that thing with my grandpa that happened when I was young?” She gave me a blank look. “You KNOW, the THING, what he did to me. Dad must have told you.” And she said, “Shandi, he has no idea. I guarantee you, he has no idea this happened.”

She was right. Not only was my dad not a predator, he had no clue whatsoever that I had been abused, and he also had no idea my mom knew and never told him. He was furious. He cried with me. He wanted to kill the old man. He said he was sorry for not protecting me. An ever-present invisible wedge between us was removed that day.

I. Thought. Everybody. Knew.

Don’t stop telling people until someone listens. Slowly, the rest of the family found out. Everyone was worried that the rest of the grandkids had suffered the same. It was a thought that had never before occurred to me, I am ashamed to admit. We are all very confident that it did not happen to any other children in our family.

He died 3 weeks after the secret was spilled. Everyone attended the funeral except for me. How freeing. I was 26.

I attended C.C.A.S.A. in Calgary. It was definitely a great first step. I saw a psychologist and talked at length about the incidents with my grandfather and the aftermath with my mother. I fought with her, I talked to her, I yelled at her, I hated her, I tried to forgive her. I was angry.

ALWAYS ANGRY. I hoped the old man was rotting in hell. I was still drinking excessively, still sleeping around dangerously, and was a sick force in every relationship.

One day something inside my head said, Alcoholics Anonymous. At my sponsors house one night, I sobbed ‘Why? If there’s a god that is supposed to care about me, why would he let that happen?!’ And she said, ‘Shandi my girl, when that was happening, God was in the corner crying watching one of his children hurt another one of his children. God can’t usurp someone’s free will. But he can heal you now.’

In AA’s 4th step, there is a prayer that asks God to save you from being angry. I prayed with my grandfather in mind and I felt anger shed off me like sheets of weight falling off. In my view now, he was a spiritually, mentally and emotionally sick person and I have found forgiveness.

Forgiveness is not condoning what happened. Forgiveness is accepting that people are grossly flawed, and that one can heal and grow after tragedy, if they seek to do so. When I think of my grandfather now, the incidents don’t play out like a movie. I don’t feel raw hatred. It is just a thing, an experience, and it no longer defines me.

My mother. That relationship is not healed entirely. I still harbour resentment over the fact that she did not protect me, did not advocate for me, did not support me. But as with other people who have harmed me, I need to be willing to seek the help to heal. To be healthy. To Heal Thy. I will not stop trying.

From this angry, violent, fearful girl that was afraid of men, afraid to have kids, afraid of never being healthy, afraid of life – I sit here content, sober, full of beautiful life experiences, a good wife to a healthy man, and a GREAT mom to two girls! I am 40. And I’m a survivor / THRIVER.

Dee

Dee's Story

My name is Dee and I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. I know that so many of my fellow survivors are still not able to say those words out loud and that unfortunately some will take it to their graves like so many before them. I’ve decided to do the opposite and it has saved me.

I was abused by my mom’s ex when I was 10-12 years old. He was so kind, funny and for the first time in my life, I had a man who paid attention to me. My birth father decided he’d prefer alcohol over a child and hadn’t been in my life since I was a baby so this guy was heaven sent to my mother. Little did we know what his true intentions were. I won’t go into detail but I will say that luckily my mom decided that this man wasn’t someone she could see herself with for the rest of her life and ended their relationship. Over the next 6 years I kept the abuse a secret and pushed it in the back of my mind and tried to live my life as normal as possible. When I was 14 my mom started dating a new man and I was devastated. I felt so happy and safe with just the two of us and or I was afraid of him coming to live with us for obvious reasons. Well it turned out that he was someone who only had the right intentions to love me and treat me like a daughter the way any healthy father/daughter relationship should be. He’s been the best dad I could have ever asked for and I am so grateful he came into our lives when he did because I have no idea where I would be today if he hadn’t.

I came forward with my story when I was 18 to my now husband (another saving grace in my life) and at the time he convinced me to tell my mother. I was still so ashamed so I told her but didn’t want to speak about it again. Fast forward to a few years later when I was living in Fort McMurray and working as a preschool assistant at a non profit organization which helped families in need. Getting to know the amazing kids in class I realized I needed to speak out against my abuser as he could very well have grandchildren their age and could be abusing them too. I knew I needed to be brave and to do something so I went to the local RCMP and reported my abuse. I was immediately referred to individual and group therapy and it was there that I met other women who had been through the same as me. Although each of them were living lives much different than mine. One was a former prostitute, another was currently addicted to crack cocaine and on the verge of having her kids taken from her and another was in a very dark place with her depression. I felt like I didn’t belong there. I told our counselor that I felt bad coming to group classes because I didn’t have anything to offer since I was lucky that my life was great and I didn’t have any issues to discuss. It was then that she mentioned to me that each of the women had spoken to her individually and mentioned how nice it was to have me in our class because I was inspiring them that they could turn their lives around. I cried right there and then and decided to continue the classes. I think about those ladies often and really hope they are living their best lives now and are finally at peace with themselves.

My abuser finally plead guilty and went to prison in 2008. He was sentenced to 30 months but only served about 20 of them. He is a registered sex offender for the next 20 years so I feel good that I at least did something on my part. His name is out there if anyone ever decides to google him. I truly hope I was his last victim but sadly I highly doubt that is true. I live my life openly these days and feel no shame in talking about my past abuse. I speak out because I remember how it felt to not have a voice for so long and I’ll continue to do so for the others who haven’t yet found theirs.

Laura

Laura's Story

At the age of 6 years old I was sexually abused by a couple of my female cousins. The abuse continued for many years and it changed me forever. I was exposed to explicit sexual content around that time too and become very confused about sexuality. Later on in life I was sexually touched by an older gentleman at age 10, and although I came forward about it and my parents decided to report, I found the process of testifying very scary and, was also terrifying seeing him on the streets afterwards. I did not feel my family and I spoke about this enough and I never found closure. By the time I was 12 I was feeling very confused about sexuality and did not feel I had any guidance about healthy boundaries or proper ownership of my body and did not learn how to voice my feelings without showing anger (therefore, much got misinterpreted as impertinence and bad behavior). The lack of guidance and child sexual abuse combined made for a very tough adolescence. Also, being a young female exposed me to the many societal issues of sexism, genderism and racism. Carrying with me the burden of child sexual abuse, physical abuse by other family members and also abandonment from my mom at various points of my life caused even more distress on me.

As a result from this I suffered from anger management problems since childhood and was constantly showing signs of distress (throwing tantrums, suicide attempt, engaging in substance abuse at a young age, lack of safety awareness, angry person and being distant). Much of this carried over to adulthood, so I engaged in drug abuse and alcohol abuse since the age of 14 until last year. I also chose relationships with friends and partners that were toxic and started displaying abusive behaviors myself such as verbal and emotional abuse towards family, and physical abuse towards partner.

I decided that after all of this I needed to find some relief because it was all weighting down on me and potentially could kill me. I started an Anger Management group counselling in 2013, which helped me realize that what had happened was not my fault and that I was worthy of a better life. The year to follow was probably the most challenging year of my life were I started to become aware of my negative behaviors and choices and how they had affected my entire life. After finally ending a very toxic relationship, I decided that I needed to take some control of my life and found refuge in fitness and hiking. These two hobbies gave me power and control of my mind, body and soul and helped restore much of the happiness that I once thought I never obtain; as well has gave me tools to heal and have self-compassion for myself.

Than another beautiful thing happen: my fiancé. Words cannot describe how much he has helped me grow and finally let go the self-blame. He provided me with nurture, attention and care I needed to forgive myself and others for what had happened to me throughout the years. I forgive myself for engaging in substance abuse, for terminating my pregnancy three years ago and for the distress I caused my family, and for feeling like I did not belong in this world. I also, have forgave my offenders and the adults who I thought were there to protect me and did not.

At the end of all this I chose a career that focuses on child sexual abuse and education. The past few months I have been able to learn about myself through the work I do now, and finally learn the language I needed to speak out about my abuse. I am so proud of myself to have made it through it all and find it rewarding to work so close in relation to something that haunted me for years.

Today, I am a successful young woman with a vision and a passion. I am in a very healthy relationship and I am growing every day, learning about myself and the world. I am very happy and confident of my purpose in life and feel that I am at where the Universe intended me to be. I am also drug free and smoke free. I finally regained power and control of my life and feel blessed to have all that I have and the opportunities of growth. I am still engaged in my hobbies and always looking for new physical challenges.

Peggy

Peggy's Story

I will be 55 in a few days and I am so amazed. So proud, so grateful. I never ever thought I would live this long, live thru this life. Many times I did not want to. Many times I planned my death.

I was sexually molested and assaulted by 2 close male family members for years. I didnt know it was wrong or that things were different in other families. By the time I figured it out it was too late. By then I didn’t trust anyone enough to tell, didn’t trust that anyone could help or make it better.

After I had left home and moved to another city I walked into a charitable organization looking for information for my grandmother to help me explain to her what had happened to me and ended up finding info and people who helped me explain it to myself. I received individual counseling and group counseling. The group counseling opened my eyes as to why I had felt so different, so freakish. Never fitting in with peers back in school or even then. Truly how on earth do you communicate with someone who is excited about dating for the first time, or going to a school dance or the latest hair style when you yourself are fighting off sexual advances at home and trying to make yourself ugly or invisible in the hopes it will stop. I could not communicate with peers, nor could I understand them. I had no patience or sympathy for their small petty social dramas and fears so needless to say I did not make friends. To this day I can count my friends on one hand. I sought out counseling off and on over the years when difficulties like my own lack of parenting skills or PTSD or family trauma would make it necessary. I didnt even know it was PTSD back then. I just kept getting slammed by memories and things from my past that were debilitating.

I disclosed to my mother and later to my whole family when I found out my abusers were molesting again. I  could not stand for it to happen again. I felt that if I had told sooner it would not have happened again. I felt partly responsible. So I did my best to end the cycle of sexual abuse in my family. 20-30 years later it is still like a social experiment or something-still a work in progress. Some family has been wonderfully supportive, some not. Some just want me to shut up and be ‘over it’ already so they can go back to living like the abuse never happened. I am grateful I found so many wonderful people along the way…family and friends and my daughter.

My daughter and I have struggled. Due to my childhood trauma? Due to my lack of parenting skills? Due to my lack of faith in my self? Due to my poor life choices? Yes probably all of those but because of her I found my strength…for her. I also found joy and healing and learning in the little childhood moments and triumphs that I had missed out on in my own childhood. Simple moments when I would suddenly realize “oh!” this is what that should have felt like or “oh!” that is how that should have happened. She has grown up VERY strong so we clash but I am so very proud of her. I wished her to be strong and she is.

A couple of years ago after seeing stories about Glori and her Be Brave Ranch I felt I wanted to help. So I went out to Alberta and helped paint and cleaned up a garden. The whole experience made me wonder what my life would have turned out like, how ‘I” would have turned out like if I had gotten early childhood help, early counseling in a safe place with other kids like myself. With counselors who truly understood. I will never know but because of Glori and her Ranch there will be kids now that will NEVER have to ask themselves those questions.

Kelly

Kelly's Story

I was eleven years old when I was sexually abused by a member of the church we attended. This individual spent months gaining our family’s trust, separating me from my siblings, creating a sense of normalcy around how much one on one time the two of us shared, and inevitably grooming me for the cause. Hind sight is always so much clearer, and looking back most of my family can agree that there were red flags that we simply overlooked.

After the abuse, and before I told anyone (or anyone found out about it) I struggled constantly with the inner battle over what had happened to me. “Did it really happen? How would I know for sure? It wasn’t something I thought he would do. I’m not sure how bad this is. But he’s a christian, he couldn’t do something like that…” These are all things that went through my mind. At the age of eleven, I didn’t know how to process those thoughts, so instead of processing them, I buried them. As I buried them I became angrier and angrier without knowing it. I started getting in a lot of trouble at school and at home. Both of those things lead me to spending more time with the abuser, because he had created a “soft place” for me to fall when things were hard at home.

Eventually, months after the abuse, my sister and a friend of hers were snooping around in my room while I was with the abuser about an hour away. The found my diary and broke open the lock to have a read. In the diary they found the secrets I had been hiding about the abuse. They decided they needed to call my mom at work, and they did. They told her over the phone what they had read in my diary and my mom immediately left from work to come and get me. She didn’t call his house because she didn’t want him to get suspicious and run off with me or something like that. I remember that day. When she showed up unexpectedly at the door I was surprised to see her. I had even had a friend with me over at this man’s house, and so my mother drove her home too. As she drove, she didn’t want to talk about what she knew in front of my friend. The whole ride home I honestly couldn’t figure out what the emergency was. I had no idea she knew. I had worked hard to put it out of my own mind.

After my friend made it home, my mom explained to me that she knew what happened. Though she was on my side and believed what I had said to be true, it was hard for me to understand her body language. The way she behaved said she was angry – of course she was – but at eleven years old I couldn’t understand who or what she was mad at and it seemed to separate us even more. After pressing charges, and a guilty plea, the abuser got just nine months house arrest with exceptions to do things such as grocery shopping – so basically nearly no punishment at all.

I remember seeing him drive down the street  shortly after his sentence was over, and I remember thinking, “That wasn’t enough time…” I wasn’t ready to see him in public, but the courts had decided essentially that I must be, because that’s all the time he had to be kept “inside”…

Several years later, this man approached my sister at her job at a local hardware store. She said that she shouted for him to get away from her… I couldn’t believe it… What if he had walked up to me? What if he saw me in public? It’s something I think about when I think about how glad I am that I moved five hours away from my hometown.

Ultimately I did receive counselling and therapy on the abuse. I found that it helped tremendously. However, I wish it had involved my mother in the healing process, and I also wish that it had been on going throughout my adolescence.  As many victims of child sexual abuse do, as a teen I was a victim of other sexual crimes as well as an abusive relationship. I feel like had I been lucky enough to experience a program where my mother was involved in my recovery, and I continued seeing a therapist whether I felt it necessary or not throughout my youth years, I may have been spared more pain.

I hope that by sharing my story that more parents will see the red flags, more children will be spared, and the ones who can’t be spared will tell their story and seek the help they deserve – not just enough sessions to get you through the storm, but enough help to repair you and your family over time.

Keith

Keith's Story

I’m 39 currently.  My parents had me when they were 20 and divorced at 21.  Dad alcoholic and drug addict, mom addicted to prescription and street drugs. Both had nightmare upbringings.  Also had an alcoholic step dad from age 10-15 who was physically, verbally and mentally abusive.  Violent alcoholic grandfather.

Between the ages of 5-10 my Grandfather molested me.  I told nobody until around age 15 I couldn’t keep it in anymore and told my mom. The news was swept under the carpet by my family, and my dad accused me of lying about it.  Nothing was done, this absolutely devastated me.   

By 16-17 I was living in an apartment by myself, going to highschool and working 2 jobs.  I began drinking, smoking marijuana and doing cocaine, getting into trouble and fighting alot.  Anything to hurt myself.  Suicide was becoming a daily consideration at this point.

Met my girlfriend at 19 we would get married at 24.  She and her family were very good to me.  The complete opposite of my life. 

In 2003 after my mom overdosed, I was done with life and it was time to go.  My car was running outside and I was going to drive it into a pole on manning freeway.  I called my boss, who was at the time the only person I could think of calling, to tell him that I won’t be coming into work today.  He obviously knew something was wrong, and thankfully was able to talk me through it.

March 2004 on the advice of my boss I went to a program called the Hoffman Institute.  This program saved my life.  This was really the first time I had any level of hope that my life was worth saving.  The program showed me how to safely process my issues and start to create some boundaries in my life.  After completing this program I came back to Edmonton and continued to work on myself, with doctors, mentors, coaches etc.   

In 2006 my first son was born.  I made a commitment to him when I first held him that I would break the cycle of abuse in our family.  As I’m writing this I continue to work with my coach along with mentors to continue to learn and grow within myself.  

I have reached a place in my life where I want to share my story.  I want to give children what I wish I had growing up, and has taken me years and years to find.  I understand why these things happened to me and am very grateful for all of it.  I want kids to see that I made it through, that I’m a normal person who knows how it feels and kept fighting even when I had no hope and was at rock bottom.  If I can help kids get to this place much sooner than I did, hopefully they can not be in so much pain for as long as I was.

Wendy

Wendy's Story

My transformation from victim to hero really begins with my kids. I didn’t want to repeat any part of my history. I grew up with a severely depressed mom and a dad who started sexually assaulting me when I was 9. He was so good at the grooming process I didn’t even realize what was happening. He had always worked out of town, when he was home I was so excited to be the center of all his attention, till one day he came into my bed, then my life was never the same. He continued to assault me until I was 14. My mom was always sad and crying I couldn’t tell her what was happening for fear of what she might do, suicide was always near the surface with her, at least the threat of it.

My dad changed my entire life and I never had the chance to grow up and be who I was intended to be. I became the best at pretending my life and family were normal, always hiding everything that was happening in my house. Unfortunately as is the case with many of us living with abuse I continued the cycle with guys I dated. That is until I met my husband, he was everything I never knew I wanted or needed. He supported me and allowed me to express all my emotions. As we became parents I fell into depression, something I feel I lived with since my teens but didn’t know it. I found myself repeating some of my mothers behaviors,  crying and wanting to die.

We both realized this and it was the day I knew I needed therapy. That was the beginning of my life changing decision to distance myself from my abusers, both my mom and dad. As I grew stronger I knew it was time to confront my parents and tell them the damage that was done to me was not something I could just pretend was in the past, it was very much something to open up and talk about. That was not something they could do. My mom just wanted to be sure I wasn’t going to press charges, they were both afraid of jail for my dad. Never mind the fact that I was raped by my own father, they just wanted us to be one big happy family. I could not do that. Even my little sister, that I wanted to protect from all the ugliness wanted me to keep quiet. I could not do that.

As our family grew I became stronger and kept my children and myself safe. I didn’t press charges but I did report him to child services, I have 3 nieces that my sister allowed to be alone with my parents. I needed to know I did my best to keep them safe. My daughter will never know her grandparents but I feel good with my choice to keep the toxic danger of my family of origin away from her. I don’t know that I am a hero but I do know that I am a survivor.

It took several years of therapy and anti depressants to get me to this place in my life where I am truly happy. My family is only my husband and children but all that i lost is nothing compared to all that i gained. I have self respect, joy and the truth that the abuse is not my fault, all the blame is laid directly on my fathers shoulders. It was a long difficult journey but I can tell my story and be proud of who I am. I no longer hold the shame and fear that incest leaves you with. It is always worth the work to be able to look in the mirror and like who you see.

Terry

Terry's Story

My sexual abuse started when I was 9 years old, my cousin was abusing me and I thought that was normal, he ended up giving me an STD. I was taken to a foster home in a nearby town, stayed there over night, then was taken to Wascana hospital on a children’s ward…..stayed there for a month or two, I was getting to old for that place, so I was put in a white foster home and that is where the sexual abuse started again when I was 11.  This time I knew what he was doing to me was wrong, I did tell the foster mom, but all that she said was she would talk to him, he stopped for awhile, but started up again. By this point,I felt I could trust no one….this abuse lasted right up til I was 17…..

I was so happy to move out of that place, but then I started wanting to kill myself, I was taking aspirins, drinking lots and not caring at all. Around this time, my Mom had passed…I moved to a city, found a place to live and was still drinking heavily. Friends around me told me to get help because I was always bringing up the abuse when I would drink. So I looked up the Sexual Assault Centre and asked when their meetings were and I started going to them. One of the ladies that worked there helped me one on one and she was the one who said I could charge them both, so I was on the hunt for a lawyer and holy behold I found one at a party. So he took on my case and I ended up suing them both, didn’t get much money, but I didn’t care as long as I was able to stay away from them. I still get some flashbacks but I’m glad I did what I had to do. With the way my life was going, I ended up cutting myself and ended up at a mental health facility. I was there 2 months and I think that place also helped alot. I do have a job, got married a little over a year now, and am very happy with my life.  

I hope my story is an inspiration to someone. Time does heal, but don’t rush it. I always felt it was my fault and it wasn’t, they were the adults and I was only a child.

Nikki

Nikki's Story

My story began when I was three years old. Wilfred was essentially my grandfather and a very successful business man. My home life was chaotic so he offered to take me on some of his business trips around the province. This gave my mom a break and me some much needed one on one attention. He bought me gifts, and let me sit in the front seat of his car, all of which was very exciting to a three year old. On the surface it looked like he was an adoring grandparent. 

Underneath all that was layers of sexual abuse. He bribed me and groomed me with his attention and gifts. I tried telling my mom that I didn’t want to go but couldn’t explain why so I still had to go. The abuse ended when I was 7, but the damage was already done. I was an angry withdrawn child who was already in anger management training. No one suspected as there was other things going on at home. 

I buried the abuse until I was 18 and didn’t start counselling until I was 19. I went through a cycle of dropping into and out of counselling for a couple of years until I discovered a self help group for survivors. I realized then that I did survive. I survived all of it. Telling my story to more than just a couple of people gave me a voice and gave me hope. 

I finally found a counsellor that fit a couple of years ago and realized that counselling needs to be comfortable and the counsellor needs to fit in order for healing to finally happen. And once I found the right mix magic happened. I was able to discover who I am beyond the abuse. Being a survivor, a warrior, does not define who you are. It only defines a small segment. The past hurts like hell, but courage prevails. 

Christina

Christina's Story

Jean Paul

Jean Paul's Story

Sheree

Sheree's Story

I consider myself as having come a long way from my beginning. For me, that’s a very good thing; and, for you? You absolutely, positively can, too – just like me.

When I was born, my mother left me at the hospital and walked away. I imagined she thought I would have a better life with an adopted family; but I can never be sure.

For years, I was sexually molested by a close family member.

I was raised an only child, and being adopted at that, I was considered an outsider in my family. I never felt like I really belonged anywhere and he could sense that right away.

When I turned eight years old, my molester became my “best friend.” He gave me special attention, like taking me for ice cream or candy. It worked, too. Everyone thought he was the kindest and most thoughtful person that could have ever married into the family.

It was several years later he showed me what he was really after. By this time, I was the family babysitter, taking care of the three young children in his home. He knew when I was alone and soon took advantage of those situations. As time went on, these events became more intense, with me often baring the scars of his forceful nature.

By the time I was 16, I was completely broken inside. I had no allies, no one to tenderly hold me and comfort me, and not one person I could turn to for help.

I tried to refuse to babysit for him, but my adopted mother became angry and blamed me for thinking only of myself. She knew nothing about what was really going on when I went over there. So now, not only was I being molested by this “beloved” family member, I was being ridiculed for not wanting to put myself in that situation again by the one person who should have put a stop to it. One day, I couldn’t take it anymore. I told her everything.

In the end, nothing happened. It all came back on me, even though I was just an innocent child. Once he was confronted, and after the rest of the family heard what had been going on, they stood by him saying it must have been all my fault. I either lied about his actions because I was jealous of his standing in the community and his wealth, or I was trying to break up his family. In any case, I now carried the blame for all those years of sexual abuse.

I was crushed but not surprised. You’re never surprised when you live on the outside; at least not for long. For years afterwards, I tried to overcome my past, outrun this history. I had flashbacks of incidents that happened to me… some real and some my mind created from bits and pieces of the truth.

I had absolutely no self-confidence. My self-esteem was minus zero for years.

One day, a coworker brought in a paper with a simple outline of a child, arms crossed, that read, “I know I’m somebody cause God don’t make no junk.” Silly, right?

It saved my life. That little drawing was made for ME.

My self-confidence started to rise. I went to school and became a paramedic. Then, a field training officer, working for the US Navy, transporting their most critical patients to various facilities around the country. I trained corpsman for Desert Storm. I trained with SWAT. I became a high-level rescue technician and achieved haz mat operations level.

I worked with some of the best people I’ve ever known, caring for others. It healed me inside. I became a grief counselor for law enforcement and I loved just loving people… all kinds of people.

Let me assure you, it didn’t happen overnight….but it did happen. I began to feel worthy again.

I retired some years ago and I’m now a children’s book author with too many waiting projects on my desk to complete. I can let my imagination soar!

I’m also now a grandmother of four – yes, me! I’m very humbled to share my story with you.

I am a survivor and you can be, too. I still carry a few scars and pieces from my childhood – everyone does. But, I have come so far from my beginning. So much farther than I ever dreamed I’d be.

I know you can be a survivor, too.

Lindsey

Lindsey's Story

I was born into a world of sexual abuse. It started out when I was a baby and continued on until I was 9 years old. It took years for me to finally understand that what my father was doing to me was very, very wrong. I lived with a lot of fear, shame and guilt… Never knowing what was going to come next. It wasn’t until I was 12 years old that I got up the courage to disclose only a small amount of what had happened to me. Too scared to give more information, I kept most of what happened bottled up. My father went to court and plead guilty the day before I had to testify. I felt a lot of anger and sadness because I was unable to face the monster that put me through hell and back. I bottled up a lot of what I was feeling and continued on with schooling and my everyday needs. It wasn’t until I was in my 20’s that the abuse started to greatly affect me. I was dealing with nightmares, panic attacks and flashbacks. I was diagnosed with PTSD and GAD. I knew I needed to try and reclaim my life. I contacted my local sexual assault centre and quickly began therapy. With encouragement, I was finally able to talk about the details of what happened to me and received a lot of support and advice when my father came back into my life and was threatening me. A few years later, the man that held such a negative hold on my life passed away. I wasn’t prepared for the grieving process of someone who was supposed to love and nurture me but did the opposite. I realized that it was ok for me to grieve my childhood and the loss of someone who was supposed to be a father. I learnt that it was ok for me to let go of all of the guilt and shame. It was ok for me to be angry. It was ok for me to be confused and just feel all of the emotions from the abuse. Allowing myself to ride the roller coaster created a new person inside myself. I was finally able to regain the power and control that I had lost so early on. I was able to build up my confidence and self esteem. I’m still continuing my journey, learning and healing everyday. I still have my bad days but I know that it’s alright. That it will pass. That once again, I will be riding upwards and will have many things to look forward to. There is so much beauty in the healing process, I’m so glad that I realized that I am worthy of that healing.

Jacquie

Jacquie's Story

When I made the decision to truly dedicate myself to healing from childhood sexual abuse, I had what felt like a thick, black slime surrounding my heart. It had crystallized over the years as it got stronger, and it kept me from connecting to my truest and best self. It was projecting a terrible version of me, and I had never hated myself more. I was spinning out of control as questions overwhelmed my thoughts:

  • Who am I?
  • What is this pain?
  • Who is manipulating me?
  • What is me hurting others?
  • How do I change this?

Fifteen years of repressed feelings and secret keeping is what it took for me to realize that the sexual abuse I had received many times at the hands of a family member had really hurt me and impacted who I had become. It took an additional eight years for me to finally add “How do I change this?” to the ramblings in my head, which was the pivotal point. In those eight years, I struggled greatly with my sense of self and sense of loyalty. I tried to get support from family members and although a handful responded responsibly, most left a response that was just as painful as the abuse:

  • “Don’t tell anyone else”
  • “I wish you didn’t tell me”
  • “Get over it”
  • “Forgive him”
  • “It’s just a stupid mistake, you’re over reacting”
  • “It really isn’t a big deal”

Learning my family’s love was conditional, and that they were happiest sweeping everything under a rug, had me at my most depressed. I had to change. I had to do it this time. I was going to change…and then that black crystal venom around my heart did something incredible. It cracked.  I met my inner hero that day, and I was no longer afraid. After that I was able to imagine sending little workers to my crusty black heart to remove the pieces and show the light that shone within. Every piece of healing work I did fueled this inner cleaning process: It was like a mine shaft with dynamite and Disney Dwarfs.  I felt invigorated as pieces were removed. I began to remember what happiness felt like. I learned who I really was and I was able to move on.

  • My inner hero is persistent; I had to do many things, many times before they stuck.
  • My inner hero has a tool kit; I am constantly filling and reorganizing it with the tools I need to manage anxieties and build healthy relationships.
  • My inner hero takes baby steps; this way I am prepared to tackle challenges effectively.
  • My inner hero uses her voice, despite any backlash received; because I know that conversations are the path to healing.

It’s only been three years since my inner hero sent the first major crack through my heavy heart, and it’s like night and day. I threw myself at healing from the abuse; I drew hard lines and made big decisions on how I was going to live my life. Then, I stayed true to those boundaries and decisions. I still have little struggles along the journey; but with persistence I overcome each obstacle a stronger me. I learn what helps and I remove what doesn’t help. I dedicate time for self care daily and I am happy. I know that if I work every day on showing my courage and being kind, that I’m going to be okay. True happiness is achievable and I am on my way there.

Tricia

Tricia's Story

For the majority of us the healing journey is a long and difficult road. I would help anyone and prevent anyone from any abuse.

Although my sexual abuse happened when I was young (5 or 6 yrs to the age of 17, by my stepdad who committed suicide after I told) my real healing didn’t begin till I was 28.

Giving birth to my daughter and realizing that I had a child to take care of, really woke me up and woke me up fast!

How could I care for a child when I hadn’t taken care of my inner child. Everything came to the forefront very quickly and by the time my daughter was 6 months old I began counselling in earnest and even also did group therapy.

I ended up leaving my husband when my daughter was over a year old. I had married another abuser and he was not supportive at all, nor did he help with our daughter. It took me a few years to become present daily but I like to say I grew up with my daughter – because I did. I finally awoke and began to live and be present. I had to face and learn to love my inner child. To learn that I was not to blame for the abuse or my abusers suicide.

As a single parent and with great determination, I experienced all the things with my daughter that I could not remember. From learning how to ride a bike, to kindergarten, learning how to read, school concerts, carnivals, and to have fun and to really laugh. All those things that were blocked from my memory, I did with my girl and I have continued to do so.

Things have never been easy by any means, but once I started my healing, things became automatic in a way. The walls had been broken, the shell removed and I grew up – in an adults body. Once I made a decision I just moved forward, some were extremely hard but I just knew what I had to do. There was no going back to the way things were.

I am happy to say we are doing very well and my daughter is now graduating high school this year. My daughter wrote an article last year for school about a role model, inspiration, -and my daughter picked me. I could not be prouder of who she has become. And I am very happy that I can now freely talk about the abuse – not keep it hidden like I did for so long – because of organizations like Little Warriors. People like Glori and Theo who are breaking the cycle of silence and encouraging the world to talk about it and to help prevent it.

We also urge you to become a Little Warriors champion. Your vital support has the power to help a child sexual survivor reveal their own inner hero. Donate today.

To learn more about Little Warriors and the Be Brave Ranch visit littlewarriors.ca