I’m a survivor of sexual, mental, and physical abuse.

I can’t remember what life was like before my trauma started. I was 5 years old when my father started sexually abusing me. At the age of 8 that’s when I realized that it was abuse. I thought I was never going to get out of it and be set free.

I would try my best to push back all of the bad flashbacks, nightmares, and pain while I was at school. However, I would misbehave, and I was always known as just “that naughty kid.” In reality I thought by misbehaving someone would notice my pain and notice I was being abused.

The abuse went on for a decade, during this time I didn’t feel strong enough to be able to tell anyone in my family or the police. I suffered from severe anorexia and planned suicide. At the time I didn’t feel like I had much purpose in life, I didn’t think anything was ever going to get better, I felt like I was drowning in the secrets, and felt like I couldn’t be set free of my abuse.

Until one day when I found this sudden burst of bravery and strength. I revealed to my mother that my father had sexually abused me for 10 years, I truly believe this is when my life changed for the better. My mother saved my life. She was unaware of the abuse, so when I told her I could see her whole world falling apart, but she remained strong for me. It was the first time I have ever felt proper relief, I felt free, I felt in control.

My father was sentenced to 12 years in prison after a long process.

Now I feel stronger and healthier than ever. I finished school, went to college, and now I’m at university studying criminology and psychology. Although this is always something that’s going to be with me, and it does affect me every single day, I know I’m winning this battle. I’m in the process of writing a book about my journey to help others. I’m not scared to share my story; I no longer feel ashamed.

If it wasn’t for my mother I don’t think I’d be here to tell my story, she saved and changed my life and it’s something I’ll forever be grateful for.

If you are suffering, you’re not alone and although it’s hard, you will get through this.

-Calais, Survivor

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