When I was younger my mother had a lot of guys in and out of our lives. Most of which were ether alcoholics or drug addicts. One of them didn’t fit into those categories. In my opinion, he was the worst. He came into our lives when I was about 6 years old. After about a year, when I was 7, he started acting a little differently towards me. I didn’t know the difference I was only 7. One night when my mom was at work, my brother and I wanted to stay up a little later than normal, so I went to ask this man. When I spoke to him, he pulled me on top of him and began to sexually assault me. This became a regular thing. I tried to say stop but again, I was only 7, what could I really do? I finally reached out to my mother about this, she didn’t believe me. She said that I, a 7 year old girl, was making it up for attention. How was I making something up that I really knew nothing about? Why would I make something like that up? After hearing my mother say that, I started to seclude myself. Part of me knew it was wrong but the other part of me had no idea what was really happening. This continues to happen, even after my attempts to stay away from him. I finally caught a break a year later, our house got broken into by this man’s friends and my mother left him. We moved. But something about me still wasn’t alright. I wasn’t the same little girl I was before. I was scared of people touching me, I didn’t talk to anyone, and I didn’t want to do anything. At 8 years old, I was diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety. The doctors couldn’t figure out why, they asked if anything had happened and I lied and said no because of what happened when I told my own mother. Flash forward a couple years. I was 14 years old. I was getting bullied, my mother didn’t seem to care, and I was alone with no one to talk to and no one to help me. I overdosed on pain medications. After being taken to the hospital the next morning and treated, the doctors asked me why, they wanted to put me in a psych ward. I said nothing. Now I’m 18 years old, I’m finally speaking out. After 11 years, I finally found my voice. I got into an organization that provides guidance for teens and young adults. I’ve started speaking about what happened to me. I’m starting to heal. I still get frightened by men a lot, especially at my place of employment. But I know to speak up now. I know that by staying silent, it only hurts more. I only wish that I would have known this sooner. The more you decide to speak up, the faster the healing process starts. I’m no longer ashamed or afraid because it wasn’t my fault. I’m not a victim, I’m a survivor.