Silence Is Never Golden When It Comes to Child Sexual Abuse

As a survivor of child sexual abuse, and growing up in a Navy family, I often felt like I was navigating my own ship. Left alone at sea, abandoned for many years. It wasn’t until my early 40s I was ready and able to confront my demons. My trigger was when my daughter turned 5, the same age I was when things began.

There were some dark, lonely days that turned into years and lots of therapy, but I have always carried some seeds of HOPE deep within.

The moment I read about The Younique Foundation and The Haven Retreat, I knew this would be a place to help me continue and accelerate my healing path. I cried my first day at The Haven Retreat when I saw all the women in their 20s/30s/40s because it means they are getting about the task of healing sooner than I did, thereby saving themselves lost decades!

Don’t get me wrong! There are women in their 50s/60s/70s too at the retreat and I applaud them (and ME!) too for the courage to stand up and show up for yourself! But I LOVE and celebrate starting the healing as early as possible.

The family message of “forget about it” and “let’s not talk about it” only feeds the shame. Silence is never golden when it comes to child sexual abuse.

So many powerful moments or takeaways during the 4-day retreat, but the makeover/photoshoot caught me off guard with an awareness about never feeling beautiful. I looked a lot like my abuser – as a little girl I was told that repeatedly by family and others. He was an awful, terrible, evil person. As a 5-year-old I internalized that notion and that became my self-talk. At some point, I dropped the connection with my abuser and just thought I was ugly and awful. I had forgotten that I had only believed that because little 5-year-old Susie was doing her very best to handle things. I had carried some aspect of that narrative for 56 years! Making that connection allows me to see only me. I love me and I am beautiful!

I am forever grateful for The Haven Retreat experience, The Haven Retreat team who made me feel cared for and about, for my Forever Sister Tribe, and for adding HEALING tools to my toolbox for life.

It has been said that child sexual abuse is a wound that lasts a lifetime but I now think it’s a wound that can start to heal.

I am a Survivor/Warrior with scars. I love that I have the courage to heal. I love that I can help others with my journey. I love that this is MY story to tell. I love that you are never too old to figure stuff out – I am 61! I love that I am more than enough and I am beautiful and I am a grateful spirit!

-Susan, Survivor