I Have a New Hope for Complete Healing

I was age 5 when my older brother started physically abusing me. For the next 3 years he regularly abused me physically, mentally, and verbally When I was 8 he added sexual abuse into the mix. It lasted until I was about 14 years old when he left for college. I lived in absolute fear every time my parents would leave us alone together…and my parents left us alone a lot. I was threatened that I could not tell my parents about what he did to me but one time I decided to try anyway…my mother didn’t know who to believe, so she just blew it off…I got it worse from my brother the next time we were alone.

The many years of fear that I experienced wreaked havoc on my body and my mind. I began having stomach issues and migraines that started in my teen years. I grind and clench my teeth which has caused cracked teeth, bruxism and TMJ problems. I have social and relationship issues that cause me to never seem to fit into a group and therefore I have very few friends. I struggle with justice issues because I never felt like I had anyone to protect me from my brother and he has never suffered any consequences for what he did to me. When I was 18 I told my mother about what happened to me, and she quickly and quietly swept it under the rug as to not cause anybody to get upset…more injustice.

As I have gone through my adulthood I have opened the lid to this several times and I really felt like I had dealt with it and forgiven my brother and my parents long ago. I was going about my life as healthy as I knew how to be. Early last year a friend talked about The Younique Foundation and their mission to help women who had been sexually abused as children. I don’t remember exactly what the trigger was but something she said hit me like a ton of bricks and I began sobbing. I instantly knew why I have never felt like I possessed any beauty…I was not worthy of feeling that way about myself because of what my brother had done to me. She directed me to The Younique Foundation and encouraged me to apply to attend The Haven Retreat, which I did.

I attended the retreat in February 2018. I arrived scared to death, which was basically the fear of the unknown. What I found was 23 other women who shared a similar story with me, a group of amazing staff whose only mission was to provide a safe space where they could show us love, caring and a path to healing. They catered to our every need and just when you would think they had done everything they could possibly do to make the time there amazing, they would do more. It was the most incredible 4 days of my life. I left there rested, relaxed and with a new hope for complete healing to become a better version of myself. For the first time ever in my life I can look at myself and accept that I do possess beauty and that I matter. The experience at The Haven Retreat was absolutely life-changing.

-Dana, Survivor