I Felt Alone and Scared and Unable to Get Help

At the very young age of four, a family member began sexually abusing me. I felt trapped, worthless, disgusting, and broken. For years my abuse went on with no stop to it. I felt alone and scared and unable to get help from anyone. My abuser had convinced me that if I came forward, no one would believe me, no one would listen, and even worse, he would harm me and my brother. I was stuck. For years I had held onto this emotional pain.

Finally, as a 16-year-old, I came forward about my abuse to my family. Lucky for me, my family was incredibly accepting and supportive. They all had my back. However, healing from sexual abuse is not a one-step process. It takes a lifetime of support and finding yourself again. It takes effort and time to accept.

A year ago, I made the best decision of my entire life. I attended The Haven Retreat in Utah. Although this was the scariest step I had ever taken in my journey, I knew deep down that this retreat is what I needed, and I was right. I met women from all over the country who knew exactly how I was feeling and how I was struggling. These women, and the incredible volunteers and staff, changed my life forever. Through the activities and bonding, the tears and the smiles, I gained HOPE! Something I never really had before this retreat. I realized my worth, I realized I was not alone, and I realized that I would survive! I would thrive! And I would be okay. I am so grateful for this experience and will never forget the amazing women who changed my life.

-Lauren, Survivor