Dear StacyK,

Fear consumed me. It was a huge part of who I was. When I was in the fifth grade my grandpa touched me all over in places that I don’t care to talk about. I grew up knowing this and tried to keep it a secret, but eventually I told my mother. I’m not sure how she handled the situation. The sexual play stopped, but I never forgot what he did to me.

I never trusted men again after that. It seemed as though my childhood was lost, and I grew up way too fast. I went into protective mode and spent most of my adolescent years looking out for my sister. I was afraid my grandpa was sexually abusing her too. So protecting her life consumed my life, and I lost my self-worth somewhere along the way.

When I grew up and moved out of the house, I began to date, but it was always with younger men. I knew they weren’t looking for a wife, so it was easier for me to make a short-term commitment than spend the rest of my life with someone who really had it all together. Or maybe it’s because I abandoned my own children, and younger men gave me a sense of worth, feeling as though they depended on me. Whichever the case, none of that really mattered because every relationship led to destruction, and they all hurt me.

I have the same story as most victims. I became pregnant out of wedlock. Drugs and alcohol took over my life, and I found myself in and out of physically abusive relationships. Honestly, I wanted to die. I wanted to stay numb and for all the fear in my life to go away. I would much rather have done that than admit to what my grandfather had done to me, forgive myself for hurting others, and learn to love again!

It’s been twenty years since my sister and I have spoken. I’m not sure where things went wrong, and I don’t know whether I pushed her away. But with both my parents deceased, the abandonment of my own children, and my sister in New York … I found myself alone. I was lost.

Since 2007 I have been on my road to recovery. It was seven years ago that I decided to become a survivor and take back my life. During this journey I became a leader to six women in a halfway house who struggle with drugs, alcohol, and codependency problems. I joined a church, and everyone inside loves me unconditionally and accepts me just the way I am. I reconnected with most of my family and children, and we are talking again. I feel more alive than I ever have, and each day I make progress.

My life is not perfect. Because of my choices, there are consequences, and I am still praying about some of those decisions. My health deteriorated, but now it is looking up again. I was homeless, but now I have a place to stay. I didn’t have a job, but now I'd like to open my own business. I was lost, but now I am saved! I will not give up. I am a survivor of sexual abuse, and I will not suppress the trauma or be afraid of the truth, which hurt me for so long.

I really don’t know why I was so scared. It’s obvious this is the right direction, and I worked very hard to get where I’m at. I am determined that the last few years encouraged me to take a leap of faith, and I will love myself and not be afraid to be who I am!

I want to say thank you. I really enjoy your videos and your daughter’s voice; it is a blessing in my treasure box. I truly have been inspired by you. Keep doing what you’re doing. Please share my story so it will help others release from their pain.

Pray it out, Write it out, Speak it out. I’m proud to be a part of JustUS!!! #teamjustus

LeeAnn- age 51

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