I Stand Strong and Immovable

Ramona, a survivor of childhood sexual abuse who is now strong and immovable.

“I now stand strong and immovable.”– Ramona, Survivor-

I felt I was strong and could put this stuff behind me. I told myself it didn’t affect my life now. But it did. Then one day a friend posted pictures of her, and talked about her story. I loved this friend and I cried for her. I knew her story. I could have said much of it. She told me of this place she went to get help.

I am married to a loving man. I realized that my past was effecting my marriage. I could no longer deny it, I had to get help. So, I went to The Haven Retreat.

I know I am a woman of faith and one that has much love to give. Yet, something has always held me back. There has always been a fear or maybe a wall that stopped me from moving forward. I now understand what that wall is.

I am strong! My body has constantly been on defense for years it has never fully relaxed. I attended the Muay Thai class. I knew it was going to be hard for me. The staff was right there helping me. I wasn’t going to leave till I got past the fear. As my body connected with the movement, I moved out of the past and into the present and I relaxed. I have never felt that relaxation before this trip. The other women at the retreat saw it as well and supported me.

I am healing. The Younique Foundation helped me get started. They taught me tools to use to stay present and be grounded. I now stand strong and immovable.

-Ramona, Survivor


My Story Has Power to Help Others

Jessica, a survivor of childhood sexual abuse who attended the Haven Retreat by The Younique Foundation

“I will share my story until my last breath because I know someone out there is struggling inside to be set free.”- Jessica, Survivor-

It took me four days to buy my round-trip ticket. I had already started my healing journey and The Haven Retreat was right there at my fingertips. I had no problem finding all the flights there and back. But, buying the ticket I would start to sweat and panic. Finally, my husband purchased it. He knew it was causing me a lot of issues so he did it himself. I am so thankful he did that.

When I arrived, I looked like a deer in head lights. So much to take in, my mind was racing. I got to my room and took a deep breath, and it all fell into place.

I left the retreat understanding why my brain and body responded to things the way it does. I can control my mind and my body. I am so thankful for The Younique Foundation. It saved my life. I always thought no one would think I was a victim cause my accuser was a woman. I wasn’t alone and so many others can relate. The women I meet there are a godsend. We formed a bound that no one will understand. I am so thankful for them and the chance to be a part of something so amazing. I will share my story until my last breath because I know someone out there is struggling inside to be set free.

-Jessica, Survivor


My Smile Is No Longer My Shield

Margaret, survivor of childhood sexual abuse, who hid behind her smile until she attended The Haven Retreat and found true love for herself.

“My journey began at this retreat and I am reinvigorated for life’s lessons.” -Margaret, Survivor-

Smiling was my coping mechanism, as people don’t tend to ask a smiling person, “What’s wrong?” I hid behind my smile for the longest time, ashamed of what happened to me. I believed that if I ignored it, then it never happened; but my heart was broken and I needed to face that.

I had always deluded myself by expecting the worst in everything, because anything above that worst-case scenario you just built in your head is going to be a plus. Right? Wrong; I left myself open for more wrong than good using my trauma as a baseline. Getting yelled at for something I didn’t do is not as bad as my trauma, but not good as well. I needed to find the courage to stand up for myself.

My brother actually encouraged me to seek help at this retreat and made it near impossible for me to refuse, because I had so completely convinced myself that I was fine since I was a very successful person in society. He knew I needed to truly let go and I’m forever thankful he knew me better than I knew myself. My journey began at this retreat and I am reinvigorated for life’s lessons.

I was so shocked at how four days can seem such a short time, but have such a lasting impact. Going to a place with other strangers seemed daunting, but I went. I signed up for everything they offered and expected to see multiple surprise cry sessions added in the schedule upon arrival, but was so relieved when I got there and was instantly put at ease with the relaxing mountains, massive lodge surrounded by lakes, streams, and just peace (no cry sessions at all).

My favorite part was the art journaling. I learned to reconnect with an artistic side of myself I had lost in my childhood; I draw, paint, and build more now than I ever have before. I had met some of the most amazing survivors anyone could ask to meet and I am still friends with them all. I found courage, strength, forgiveness, and motivation in myself while there at the retreat. I am worthy and I am enough. Two years later and I’m still growing stronger and helping as many survivors as I can along the way.

I smile now, not to hide. But for the first time in a long time, I am truly happy with myself and with where I’m going in life. No longer a victim, but a strong survivor.

-Margaret, Survivor


My Mountainous Obstacles Are Now Ash

Melanie, a survivor of sexual abuse, who was able to crush the mountains holding her back while seeking help at The Haven Retreat.

“The Haven Retreat gave me the tools and direction to, not only climb the mountain that has defeated me for years, but to crush it to ashes.” -Melanie, Survivor-

Being a survivor of childhood sexual abuse has been a part of my life I have never been able to deal with. My closest family members didn’t want to hear about it. It was like they didn’t believe me. They didn’t want to see me. They wanted the problem to just be swept under the carpet and left alone. What they didn’t realize is that it was like reliving the years of abuse again. I had been harboring negative feelings of myself such as: worthlessness, self-hate, and anger to name a few. I have been in private counseling sessions with no success. I had come to the acceptance that this mountain in my life was just too tough to climb, that I would never be able to release the negative feelings I felt about myself, that no one understood what I had gone through or what I was feeling.

While driving from the Boise area down to the Haven Retreat in Utah, I had 5 hours of alone time to ponder and think about what I expected to happen at the retreat. Would I continue to blame and hate myself, would I learn how to deal with my abusive past, or would this just be a waste of my time? I kept telling myself, “Just turn around at the next exit and go home.” But something inside of me just kept driving. While driving, I decided that I would have no expectations for results at the retreat. I would listen to the lessons, take part in the classes and therapy sessions, enjoy the environment, but absolutely no expectations of feeling or getting better about my situation.

I can honestly say, attending the Haven Retreat was nothing short of a miracle for me. Without going into details about the classes and therapy at the retreat, I will say that the four days of attending the retreat has allowed me to see things from a view point I have never seen before.

As one of my “warrior sisters” at the retreat called it, my “Woo-Woo” moment arrived. I had arrived. I see myself as worthy, not worthless. Strong and courageous, not weak and feeble. My voice will be heard, not silent. My happiness would shine through, the anger & self-hate would disappear. I was not alone, and never would be again. Most of all, I realized that I am loved and I matter.

The Haven Retreat gave me the tools and direction to, not only climb the mountain that has defeated me for years, but to crush it to ashes. To be able to leave it crumbled, and to never let it hinder my ability to walk my path of happiness which I know I deserve.

-Melanie, Survivor