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Voices from Survivors

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

A Child’s Best Defense Is Her Voice. Here’s How We Amplify It

Erin MerrynSeptember 23, 2016
Policies That Help Kids
“A guy called Officer Friendly comes to school and teaches us not to answer the door when your parents are not home and don’t talk to strangers. They don’t teach us about people like my cousin Brian. I thought people like Brian jumped out of bushes and attacked you at night.”Those are the words out of my diary when I was 12 years old. For six years of my life I was sexually abused and raped by two different men. I didn’t break my silenc...Continue