Last week the WCA was contacted with a powerful survivor story. Jessica is a 17 year old survivor speaking up about her abuse and healing process. Jessica recounts that she cannot remember a time before the abuse. It began as psychological abuse and as she grew it became sexual and physical. This abuse was by a close family friend who was not only a trusted adult in her life, but in the community. This abuse occurred for over ten years and did not end until Jessica was 14.
Jessica spoke out about the abuse after she discovered another girl was being “groomed” by her abuser. She states that “I decided I wasn’t going to let her go through the same things I did”. Jessica took the brave steps to share her story with the adults in her life and the abuse ended. The next several years she continued to suffer the trauma of blaming and hating herself for what happened. Jessica states that “it wasn’t until I finally told someone that I felt some relief from the burden I was carrying. Sharing my secret gave me the chance to begin to heal.”
As part of her recovery process Jessica continues shares her story with others. She feels it is important to share her story because “the more people that are willing to speak out, the more the stigma against [abuse] will fade. When there is no stigma, people are more comfortable to come forward and we can hold the people who do these terrible things accountable.”
Jessica understands that we need to break the silence around abuse in order to create change. When survivors share their stories others begin to understand that abuse can impact anyone and that no one is alone. Jessica states that “I know during my journey, I felt so alone a lot of the time, and I think it’s really important to try and get people to a point where they know they are not alone in what has happened to them, and they don’t have to be alone through the healing either.”
When asked how she would encourage the community to bring awareness to the issue Jessica wanted to remind us that “stranger danger is not the issue, it’s the people that we trust most.” Abuse can happen to anyone, in anyone, by anyone. Thank you to Jessica for sharing her story with us. As a continual process of healing and helping others Jessica documented her story which you can find here.
Jessica is not a current or former client of the WCA. She is a survivor who contacted the WCA due to our awareness building efforts around the issues of domestic violence and sexual assault. Jessica asked to share her story to help continue to shine a light on how these can impact anyone and as part of her healing process.
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