This blog post was written by Sherri, a woman who suffered years of abuse, but was finally able to heal and receive counseling through a Speak Your Silence grant. Now, she is dedicated to helping other survivors live healthy lives.
Growing up for me was more than difficult. For as far back as I can remember, abuse happened in my home. My house was not loving or caring; my bed was never a place to rest. I was that kid that smiled, did what she was told, and always suffered in silence. I stayed silent until I found out that my father was getting remarried and that his new wife had a young daughter. In my heart, there was no way that I was going to let another little girl grow up the way that I did. So I filed criminal charges against my father, a first-degree felony punishable up to 99 years in jail. That was one of the hardest things I have ever done, and I can say it almost broke me, but of course, I smiled and kept moving forward. Close to two years later, we took a plea and I was devastated. I didn’t believe that I had done enough and everyone thought that the hard part was over. Little did I know, it was just the beginning.
I lost that fighter spark in me for a few years, and it was a rough time because I didn’t care anymore. I didn’t realize the toll that going through the criminal justice system would take on me and I was falling apart. I so wanted to conquer the world, keep everyone safe and save everyone from knowing the hurt I had lived through in my life, but I didn’t know where I was going or what I wanted to do. I was letting the things that happened to my win and I was as close as a person can be to giving up. I didn’t care what happened to me anymore – nothing mattered and there was no point, or at least that’s what I told myself. In that deep dark place, I was assaulted and got pregnant with my now 15- year old twins. From that moment, I knew that I had to heal myself because I had to take care of these two babies and be the mom they needed.
Eventually, I received my Bachelor’s degree in Education. I found the most amazing job that I loved, but being a single mom to twins, working as a teacher and being a survivor was all taking its toll. I found Speak Your Silence and felt heard for the first time in a very long time. They were everything that I had needed and I knew I just needed to find the right counselor for me next. I was at a professional development event and there was an amazing therapist who did the presentation, and I took the chance and emailed him I told him a little of my story, all about Speak Your Silence, and how I had received a grant for counseling. Without hesitation, he said he would love to be that my counselor and to let me know what it is that he needed to do. I was shocked, grateful, and such a mix of other feelings. I was finally going to get help for my hurt heart. Finally, finally, FINALLY and oh so slowly I began to regain my spark. I began to notice all the little things that had gotten me through my life as a child. Since receiving that grant and counseling, I have come such a long way. My therapist and I will even be presenting at a family violence conference this coming October. My life has been unimaginable, but for once I know that there are good things meant for me and I look forward to using my voice to help others and to continue fighting so that other survivors know that they are worthy and deserve to be heard. I am more than grateful to the entire team at Speak Your Silence – they were the light at the end of the tunnel and I am never going back. I am more than grateful from the bottom of my heart for each person that has heard and listened and been a part of my journey.