Sunset I have been hiding part of my truth. I needed to take the time to honor the process and allow myself to heal, take back my life and embrace the power that lies inside me.

It was never about what people would think about my story. I know my truth. I know the smells, the touches, the sounds and the sights. I know the details because I was there.

You may be in a space of not believing that something like my story can happen. You may be in a space of relating to my story because something similar was your experience too. Or you may hear my truth and be heartbroken that innocent children are going through this trauma right now.

I share that I was sexually, physically and emotionally abused from the age of 3 to 18. I am well acquainted with the journey necessary to heal the pain of betrayal, abandonment, shame and trust, to name a few consequences of child abuse. What I have guarded is the depth of my abuse.

A few people who know my experience, embrace it and supported me as I worked on untangling the ball of twine, straightening it out so I could re-wrap it in a way that best serves me. Others have used it as a tool against me. I use that experience to set my boundaries and build self-trust. The journey to find peace and ownership has given me the opportunity to learn self-love.

My paternal grandmother had a system to ‘sell’ me to the men and women who came to her house for the ‘goods’. The memories started with money being left in a jar as they purchased their time with me. Then she would have them come in the room privately, placing their payment in her hands as they walked out of the room. Like a revolving door the next one came in, took pleasure from his purchase and again, handed her the money on his way out.

At 9 years old, there are memories of being taken to the streets. At 15, there are memories of that ending and in-home visits becoming a weekend practice. At 18, the last ‘client’ was seen. I was out of there.

I understand now that my self-worth is not attached to the sickness of my abusers. I once thought God had abandoned me, and that I had the right to ignore Him. I have learned that He was and continues to be with me, giving me the strength to fight and thrive. He walks this path with me. I see Him, feel Him and know the power of His love.