The Survivors Speak Interview series is dedicated to amplifying the voices of survivors by providing a platform to share our stories and connect us through experiences and healing. Read stories of Childhood Trauma as survivors share their pain, their hope, and their healing. Share your story in writing.
Jessica’s Story (Texas, USA)
Please tell us what inspires you to share your story.
I held onto what happened to me as a child for most of my life. I have a daughter and I think speaking up and telling my story can make a difference in someone’s life.
Introduce yourself: tell us about your passions, interests, family life, favorite quotes, etc.
My name is Jessica. I am 31 years old and am currently a full time college student. My interests are going to my local Barnes & Noble and just getting lost in books. I love spending time with my husband and kids. I have found comfort in our church and Jesus Christ. (Not everybody is a believer but that’s ok)
Please share your story in as much or as little detail as you are comfortable
When I was 9 years old up until I was 11 I was sexually touched by a family member. My parents both worked full-time. and sometimes would pick up extra shifts overnight so my mom would pack me and my little sister a bag and we would stay at a relatives house until the next day or sometimes even a full weekend. This person would come into the room every time I would stay the night and lay down next to me while pulling the covers over us. It started off as always hugging me and buying me gifts (grooming), then it moved on to being a little more touchy and things got worse as time went on.
I was a child and a part of me knew it was wrong but when they threatened to do the same to my little sister I just let them do whatever they wanted to me. Not knowing that my sister was also experiencing the same exact pain and hurt elsewhere.
What are some of the challenging ways your trauma has manifested in your life?
I dropped out of high school because I got pregnant at 15 then again at 16. I had 2 kids by the time I was 17 which is not normal. I was a baby having babies. I got my GED and started to work but then I got involved with alcohol and drugs. On my 20th birthday, my so called friend gave me a few drinks only to find out he slipped something in there and I later woke up naked with him on top of me. I was in and out of consciousness that whole time. My sister told me it was rape but I begged her not to tell a soul. It took me 10 years to finally tell people about that night and 21 years to talk about my childhood sexual assault. I think that these things that I wen thru has manifested in many ways. I have trust issues when it comes to my own kids leaving the house and I get so insecure about everything. I was diagnosed with severe clinical depression/anxiety and PTSD.
When did healing begin? Was there a catalyst moment and how did you reach this point?
Healing began June 2020. I was quarantined because I had covid so being alone in one room day and night took a toll on me especially my mental health. Well, I was laying in bed and this person pops up on “people you may know” on Facebook and it was the same guy who took advantage of me on my 20th birthday. I had a panic attack because had not seen him in person or online since that night. Then, my depression got worse a few days after that because I started thinking about every wrong thing that happened in my life and I cried so much. I wrote a poem about my trauma to try and face it and it helped me so much. I was so strong for my little sister for years because she struggled with her own trauma and I had to be strong for her because that is what big sisters do. After all those years, I finally broke and it felt like all the pieces were shattered into tiny specks and nobody would be able to find them let alone put me back together.
What has your healing journey looked like day-to-day: techniques, modalities, practices, tools you use?
I started waking up early and practice meditation. I went back to church. I also took up a few hobbies like reading and writing. I used to write short stories and poems but lost the love for it all during my dark times. I wake up every day thanking the Lord for a new day. It took me a long time to crawl out of the pit I was in but I had to find the strength to let go of the darkness and enter the light.
What are two or three things you have learned as you heal that you believe are important for survivors to know as they heal?
- It’s important to keep moving forward. When I first started to heal, it made me feel worse but the days to got brighter.
- Having a good support system is what helps. Even if its just one person that can help you thru then that is all you need. Some people have a full support system while others do not. I only had my husband and sister. They always reminded me that what happened to me was never my fault and I think other survivors need to know that as well.
Other Resources at Surviving Childhood Trauma
- 1:1 Peer Support & Guidance Sessions
- Survivor’s Circle Online Peer Support Group
- The Journey: A Workshop Series