With this Harvey Weinstein story countless women are either telling their story or just acknowledging that it happened to them too. With that being said I’ll share my SURVIVOR STORY: Like many black little girls, I held a dark secret for many years. From ages 9-18, I was sexual abused and terrorized by the man my mother married. I did what I was supposed to do and I told my mother, the pastor, hell anybody that would listen. I TOLD!

As with most black families, it was swept under the rug. They pretended NOT to understand what they are being TOLD about the person they’d come to know and respect. I was told that I should forgive my abuser because that’s what good Christians do. Meanwhile the abuse continued… I was continually sexually abused and witnessed physical abuse. I was terrified night after night for a large part of my childhood.

The abuse initially started while my mother was in night school. Her husband told me he wanted to show me something really neat. Being a sheltered kid, I thought “OK! This should be awesome!” He had always been very nice to me and also managed to rescue me from getting into trouble with my mom. He asked me if I’d ever seen a penis before and if I’d seen magical stuff shoot out of it? I told him no. I had no clue what he was talking about. He then told me to come into their bedroom, pull my pants down and bend over. He masturbated and accomplished his goal. I still didn’t realize how inappropriate his behavior was until much later, but that was the start of the abuse. I was 9 years old. STILL to this very day, I remember my mother’s white hat box on top of her dresser. He pulled down that box and used the fuchsia paper inside of it to clean himself. He then flushed it down the toilet.

After that night, the real terror began. He would stay up late at night, and after all was quiet, enter into my room and put his hands under my covers. Once I realized what was going on, I was terrified to go to sleep. I often let my siblings sleep with me so I’d feel safer. He would peep in door key holes, under the door, through the cracks of the door, bust in the door when I was dressing, and he even went as far as sitting a chair outside the bathroom window so he could masturbate while I was getting in and out the shower. He was so comfortable that he would not face any consequences that he left the chair sitting outside!

I always believed that I could hear noises at night when I bathed, but I wasn’t sure until my 15 y/o friend asked me one day why a chair was outside the bathroom window. I thought that the bathroom was my only safe place, and to find out that he had invaded my only privacy and my only security mortified and destroyed me. I immediately told and SHOWED my mom. My cries continued to be ignored.

The abuse went on in various forms until I got married at 19 and left home. I remember being about 25 and my house was robbed. They took EVERYTHING and I do mean everything. I had to go back home. I cried for days because I was terrified to go back but I had no where else go with a 4 year old baby. I went back and he continued where he left off. I again told my mother… Again, she did nothing. I saved my money and was out of there in 2 months and I NEVER WENT Back to live.

The abuse is OVER but the scars are still present. To this very day, I will never have a bathroom with a window; I still jump up out of my sleep terrified, feeling like someone is grabbing me; and I use to have a fear of being alone in the dark. It took me years of counseling, rebuilding, and getting to know myself to learn when my mother’s husband abused me it was NOT my fault. I was a child! I was taught as a child to look the other way, and never to tell anyone our family business, so I kept GOING. I’ll never forget being smacked in my face and beat down for not respecting a pedophile and child predator. I was told I had to respect that man because he was the one providing for us even though I HATED HIM for what he become at night. As an adult I kept being around him/them even though it killed me inside. My son even calls this MONSTER Pa-Pa, my birth father died when I was 12. I kept up the charade, the image of FAMILY they wanted publicly portrayed. I was so desperate to be a part of a family and to have a mother’s love THAT I sacrificed ME. I soon realized that WAS NOT A FAMILY, and that I should not look to the example that was provided for me and fabricated to others as what family should be. Throughout this ENTIRE process I’ve learned, not to expect those who should protect the victim to do so. Oftentimes the predator is far more protected than the victim. Those that protect pedophiles are just as EVIL AND VILE as what lives within the perpetrator. I write this today as my final step in releasing the pain, fears, and shame of what happened to me. There are a million more little girls like me who had to live with the shame, and the betrayal of those closest to them. Sometimes you’ve got to just pull back the VEIL and BE FREE. TODAY, I AM FREE, I could care less what they think of me. I can stand with my pride, in love, and dignity. I am not defined by the scars that are within. I never want your sympathy; just stand ARM and ARM with me as I stand to protect others like JUST LIKE ME. Through this healing process I realized that there are soooooo many people out here like me. Many don’t know where to start to get help or are silenced by family and their shame, so I decided to start www.speaksurvivethrive.com for US.