For survivors telling our story is an important part of the healing process. The pictures we have posted here not only represent the unfathomable number of those that were affected by childhood sexual abuse, but they also represent a community of people who are dedicated to supporting the healing and recovering journey. Please join us by submitting a picture and caption that you are comfortable sharing. Your submissions can be scanned or e-mailed to
or you can mail them to the address listed on the contact page.
(we will return original photos upon request)
"Healing takes courage, and we all have courage, even if we have to dig a little to find it."~Tori Amos
MEN AND WOMEN OF STRENGTH AND COURAGE TO RECOVER, HEAL, AND TO EDUCATE THE WORLD ABOUT THE EFFECTS OF CHILDHOOD SEXUAL ABUSE TO AN ADULT'S LIFE.
160 - Brandy
"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better. It's not." ~Dr. Seuss Together. Today...We're getting stronger!
159 - Cynthia
For years it was a shameful secret I could not remember. Back in the recesses of my memories it lingered. Waiting to be set free. My nightmare started when I was 5 years old, a priest came to live in my poor, dying of bone cancer maternal grandmother's house. She resided in Spanish Harlem this was the mid 60's. All I knew his name to be was Padre, meaning Father in English. He took an active interest in me. I appreciated the attention. My mother was gone from morning to night and sometimes days. My grandmother a good woman who prayed the rosary daily, was dying of bone cancer and in her own world of prayers, pain and caring for me and my infant brother. That was quite physically difficult for a dying woman to do. But she did it with much love and tenderness. Padre taught me to read and write. But during one of these sessions, he began to wander with his hands places he should not have gone. I saw a mask people wore, his was a mask of goodness, but he did good but just as much harm. I was immediately offered to go to 3rd grade in Hunter Elementary School. When the teacher wrote to my mother saying she had to speak with her. My mother immediately beat me that entire weekend. On Monday morning when my mother found it was to congratulate and promote me from 1st grade to 3rd. Also to switch me from PS108 in Manhattan to Hunter Elementary, she refused. Saying she was not going to waste no time waiting for a bus. At this time she was married to a man who had the same exact name as my father. He was a truck driver who drove me every morning in his truck to Manhattan so I could attend school. Padre was gone by that time but not the abuse he did. My mother sent me to summer in Jersey where (I found out as an adult my mother knew he was a pedophile) my Aunt and Uncle both now deceased watched me so my mother could work. My grandmother had it hard enough with her bone cancer pain to watch me full time during the summer months when school was out.
You could not believe my anger and shock when I found out from my mother that my Uncle Pete (Pedro) had chased after her and her cousin Stella as kids too! I could not comprehend why she would do that to me? She also refused to tell me Padre's real name, saying what difference did it make he was an old man now? Also she didn't care when my step-father's touching my butt made me uncomfortable. He molested me one time and threatened me to not tell. I told him I could be trusted not to tell, cause he seemed rather menacing , I was really afraid he was going to hurt me to silence me from telling my mother back when I was 8 yrs old. I said I never told on the priest, I won't tell. He became appalled that Padre had molested me and never bothered me again, as far as I can remember. I know his presence made me very uncomfortable and his smile seemed to me like he was leering. My mother got rid of me when I turned 14 yrs old and I had to live on the streets where I became further victimized. I still have not fully recovered. I was gang raped by my first boyfriend who was Persian, when I stopped dating him. I had forgotten about Padre at that time. Once I stood up for myself and said I didn't want to date him or speak to him, he kidnapped me, threw me in the back of his friend's brown two door car they called him Duck. That was in the 70's and my mother again refused to press charges when the desk sergeant called her. At that time minors were not allowed to press charges, she told the Sergeant of the 47th Precinct that my boyfriend must have beat the shit out of me for refusing to give him sex. She produced a PINS warrant and had me placed temporarily in Spofford Youth Division in the Bronx. I was intermingling with juveniles accused of heinous crimes, but I was glad to not be at home with her. My father had tried to murder my mother who was then pregnant with my younger sibling. My father was kicking and punching her in her very protruding stomach. Yelling he was going to give her an abortion. I have no support system, not then or now. I live a celibate existence fearful of what I may discover if I get too close to a significant other for what I have seen was far from that happy gathering depicted on Norman Rockwell's beloved American scenes. I could continue but I would be writing forever.
My name is Cynthia and the few remaining family members would be angry for me telling. But I must if it helps shield someone else and ends this cycle of sickness, secrecy and abuse.
158 - Ruth
This is a pic of my mom myself and my brother and sister. We were all abused physically and the girls sexually.
This pic was taken in a gloomy period of my life my whole childhood.
157 - Callen
I believe it is incredibly important to put human faces and human stories to the issue of childhood sex abuse. It cannot end until people talk about it. People will not talk about it in the abstract. There will only be an impact when those of us who have endured abuse share our personal stories so that others can understand the issue in human terms. Peace.
156 - David
My name is David and I am 51. I had suppressed all the thoughts and images of my childhood sexual abuse for 40 years until I was a juror on a child abuse case. I had been disassociating for all those years, making the abuse had happened to someone else, couldn't be me, David. I abused myself as I hid the darkest secrets of my life and almost lost everything dear to me; my wife and children. What I did remember all my life that I was the one at fault, I did something wrong to bring this trauma to myself and even my alters taunted me as I tried to write down the most difficult times in my life. I am in recovery now although an extremely exhausting and terrifying task. My mission on this site is to be heard, be understood, be validated and to let it go. I refuse to allow those perpetrators any more time to make me feel like all that happened was my fault. I want to share more of my story to maybe help another, and another, and another....thanks for this wonderful forum and site.
155 - Marcia
My name is Marcia Jean Terpstra and I am an incest survivor.
I have spent all my life not understanding what had happened to me. I lived all my life without a soul of my own. As a child and into my teens, I rocked most of my life away. All my choices seemed to be stripped from me. I lived paralyzed in my rocking chair.
I felt so screwed up and detached from all of mankind. I did not know the emotional and psychological damage done to me in that first moment of incest; nor how long it would last in my life.
I thought that what happened to me was "child's play". In the sickness of it all I joked and even bragged about how good I had gotten and how I had mastered my craft. Then one day it hit me and I began to weep.
Suddenly, everything about my life began to make sense. I began to make sense of all my disconnectedness; my life of living in the spirit and living in the flesh, but nothing in the middle. There was nothing about my soul.
I got angry and began to fight the best way I knew how; I would write of the horrors of my incest. This was my story but I began a fight for any child who had survived sexual abuse of any kind. I had to do my part to STOP IT! I had to help the children.
I wrote this book of deep and unbearable pain that lived within me all my life. I wrote "Splinters from my Rocking Chair". Yes, there was healing for me as I wrote but my greater purpose was to write, so that when I am gone; it will remain.
I wanted to tell the world what sexual abuse does to a child's soul; and that for so many, their souls are lost forever. I went on a mission to leave my mark. I had to tell the world they could no longer hide from the damage they were doing to our children. And that, no, it is not just a simple touch of the flesh!
I pray my story will touch the hearts of many; the victims, the perpetrators and all those who may be even thinking of committing such a crime against a child.
And to you survivors; God bless each and every one of you!
I was used by a pedophile pastor for several years and, when my parents discovered the abuse, they "forgave" the pastor and he continued to preach. We continued to attend his church. My father, with my mother's full knowledge used this opportunity to begin his own sexual abuse. I bore his child when I was 16 years old. The baby was given up for adoption. I never got to touch or hold the baby. I was in my 30's when I sought help, and have made the most progress in my healing after the age of 50. I'm willing to do whatever is needed to help others in distress because of this horrible epidemic in our world.
153 - Child that Never Was
I have carried this burden for over 30 years, to deaf ears...God bless victim number 1 of the Sandusky trial for being courageous enough to speak up and out....he has helped us all....and God bless his mother for supporting him.