I am not what happened to me. I am what I choose to become.

I never thought I would say those words. I never thought I would be okay. Today I choose happy. I choose strong.

I was abused beginning at a very young age, and this abuse continued into adulthood. My mother knew of my abuse, yet did not stop it. I felt alone, scared, and unprotected. I blamed myself for my abuse.

I applied and was accepted to the Saprea Retreat. I was scared. Scared I would be judged. The opposite happened. I found hope. I found 21 other women who are strong and who understood me. I was immediately accepted. For the first time, I truly believed that my abuse was not my fault. I now have a group of strong women behind me, my tribe. They are my best friends. They give me strength when I can’t find it in myself.

I’m still learning to forgive my abuser. But, I have learned to forgive myself. I can smile again. I am truly happy. This retreat has saved my life.

-Angela, Survivor

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