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After publishing my memoir, The Monster That Ate My Mommy, where I gave a detailed and raw account of the domestic violence I experienced, other survivors reached out to me to share their stories. The more they shared, the more I understood how powerful it was to be able to share with another survivor. Some of the people who reached out told me I was the first person they told, and even that reading my story gave them the courage to leave the abusive situation they were in. After having my life threatened, multiple times, I knew I had to speak up. I knew I had to use my voice for the people who are not able to use theirs.

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“We met when I was 14, I was alone and shy, he was kind and soon I was in love. He spent the first few weeks testing, then he slowly started doing mean things to make me sad, once I was so sad I didn’t see what was happening he stared explaining because of my weight other people would not find me attractive, and how I could never live on my own because I wasn’t smart enough to handle money. By the time I was 21 I would wake up with him on me. I told him I did not like that. He kept doing it. I started staying up all night so I could wrap myself up in the blankets to protect myself. He still tells me it was not rape. If I missed up anything, he would yell at me and ask me how could I be so stupid. One day I made friends who started to ask what I thought, and I realized I had thoughts. I got away and I could feel the pain lift of from me. Almost 10 years later I am still doing well without him and I am loved.”

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“When I was three years old, my mom, brother, and I moved into a new home with my dad. I had not known my dad for long before this move, and I was not sure what to think of the change. The nice man he had shown me before the move changed overnight. My home became a place I didn’t want to be and was no longer safe.

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“When I was 6 months old, I joined my new family. There were kids, and toys, and fun things to do! I soon learned life in my new home was not as fun as it looked, and I learned what it felt like to be afraid.

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“I was warned about my abuser, but I didn’t believe it. I was swept off my feet, only I never got put back down, I got put into a box. The abuse was mental and emotional. He controlled everything: money, outings, get togethers. He made me feel incompetent of doing anything so I would have to depend on him. Making small remarks to people, “She doesn’t know how to cook, so I do it.” If I had a problem that was related to him, it was never his fault, but somehow mine instead, and that I was acting crazy. that’s when I stopped using my voice. He’d get mad at me for saying no to sex. He would try talking me into it, I’d still say no. he then would start making me feel guilty, and how it’s my fault for saying no. I eventually just stopped and would just let him have sex with me for the sake of not feeling emotionally hurt. I had daily anxiety and crippling panic attacks at least once a week. This ongoing nightmare was affecting our child as well.

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“When I was 17, I met him online and he asked me out over and over. I finally agreed to go, but I knew the first day he wasn’t for me. I found out he had schizophrenia & was no longer medicated. That night he insisted he would pick me up the next day. Half of me was worried I was judging and being mean, thinking “no thanks” and the other half was kinda worried what could happen if I said no. From that day he wanted to be with me every day. Within 2 wks he had already started yelling and blaming me for stupid things, but his roommate would stand up for me…but soon, I’d be on my own. We moved in to our own place 2 months after meeting. That’s when things really fell apart. He would get angry and throw scissors and knives at me, scream and swear, call me names, threaten me, and turn the whole apartment upside down. I was never allowed to go with my friends, he’d even get mad if I talked to my mom too much. One night I woke up to him standing over me in bed with a gun pointed at my face. He thought I was cheating and he was going to make it so nobody could have me. I was terrified & I was stuck there. My brother died tragically and my boyfriend was so mean to me because men he didn’t know would hug me, that my older brother had to tell him to leave the funeral home and not come back. Shortly after that, my family showed up and moved me out. I went back, he was mentally ill and threatening to kill himself…I just knew I could help him! After all, his family wouldn’t. His dad was a decent person, he was well off, but lived 4hrs away and had nothing much to do with us, and his mom was a drug addicted prostitute who only made life harder on everyone. Finally one day, I had enough and we broke up. He moved to his mothers. THEN… I found out I was pregnant. I decided to do the right thing and tell him…surely a baby would fix them all!!! Boy was I wrong!! At 19yrs old, living on half my heart, fighting to have my baby despite the doctors saying I would die and now having to put up with mother and son making every day hard. Him always screaming, even kicking the back of my chair and sending me flying. My son came in the world, we almost lost him as an infant..and I could see, I was on my own. I mostly let my boyfriend sleep in the daytime so my son and I would be ok. When he was awake he was always mad at us..or someone…or something. At one point my son was a baby, and my Ex was mad that my sister in laws family had more money then us and he lost it. He held me and my son at gun point. He wouldn’t let me out of the house and he wouldn’t even let me make a bottle for my son. He progressively got more out of control. The last straw was when he got mad at me, I don’t even know why and decided himself we were done. I thought I hit the jackpot…until he told me that I wasn’t moving on. In fact, I was going to die…and I could chose how. He could pour gas on me and set me on fire or he could hang me with a noose. I knew my son needed me, I knew I had to survive. I quickly started telling him how much I loved him and wanted him, it was my only option if I wanted to live through the night. It worked. The next day he left for work & I knew I had to take my chances if I wanted to live to see the next day, and I called my parents. They came and got us and we never looked back.

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“We has met in 2000 via a college friend. He said all the right things, and made me feel love like none other before. Soon we were making plans for my move almost 1000 miles away to be closer to each other. After a month his lies began to unravel. He became possessive to the point that I was unable to leave my apartment without him or his mom. I knew no one, and he used that to his advantage. He would say I was “ignorant”, “insane”, and “no one wanted me”. I was “too fat” and “too disrespectful”. He took all my important papers, debit card, ID and Social Security card. This was to ensure I was unable to get away from him. He would scream at me at the drop of a hat. I never knew what would trigger him. One evening I cooked dinner just as he requested. I prepared his plate, and asked him what he would like to drink. He looked at me, didn’t respond and looked back at the tv. I set his plate down, and waited in the kitchen for a response. After 10 mins I asked again. He picked up the plate of food backed me against the wall, and screamed at me about the need to learn respect. He turned to walk away then turned back to me to smack me in the face with the plate of still hot food. He then dragged me by my arm to the door, and pushed me into the breezeway. I knocked on the door begging him to open the door. He told me I was not welcome in “his apartment” (the apartment was in my name and he legally resided at his parents residence). I walked barefoot and bleeding to the complex office to call 911 for help. The police arrived and had me walk to my building with them. Another cruiser was already at my apartment where he and his mother (who he called as was his usual pattern). The police were manipulated to believe I was the abuser, and though I was bleeding, burned and covered in bruises while he had not a scratch on him. The police told me to have the EMTs help me stop the bleeding. Once in the ambulance they took me to the hospital where I assumed I would be helped with my wounds however before I knew it I was in the Psych Ward. They had told the police I was suicidal and the wounds were from him trying to keep me from hurting myself. I was released after less then 8hrs, and his mother picked me up. She told me that I “needed to learn to behave myself, and do whatever he wanted”. Thankfully I was able to connect with a lady at church (one of the only places I was allowed to go as long as his mother was monitoring me) whom helped me escape from him.

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“As a child I grew up in a home full of abuse. My dad was physically, emotionally and sexually abusive to my mom. I remember waking up to the sound of their fighting and sneaking out of my room to watch, to make sure he didn’t kill her. He also threatened to kill my mom, brother, and me. The most fear I had ever experienced was when my mom finally left him. I keep my eyes open, looking over my shoulder every time I was outside, wondering when he was going to shoot me. I was six years old.

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“I met this guy that I thought was the greatest thing in the world, we started dating (he was 35, I was 19) I didn’t know any better besides the fact that I was legal age to date him. Little did I know his background! We lived in Philly at the time. He introduced me to his family and the nightmare started!!!! When we were together we were fine but around people he was mentally abusive to me and as time went on he started to beat me physically. I blamed it on the drinking, he was a bad drunk. Every time he drank I was getting my butt beat! At one point I finally left him, He found me and began stalking me! He went to my job and begged me every day to come back and told me how sorry he was. He made me lose my job because he wouldn’t stay away from my job… I gave him a second chance. We had a child together thinking things would change for the better… It did for a short time, but not only was he drinking he was using heavy drugs. He would leave us for days, if not weeks at a time. He would spend all the money on drugs or alcohol. I stuck it out because he would tell me “you will never find anyone like me” and “no one would want me”. He would call me fat and ugly and that he was the best thing that ever happened to me… At one point he got me pregnant again, we moved to Florida with his sister thinking we could rebuild our family and hoping he would stop drinking and doing drugs..he didn’t.. I was pregnant with our second child and he puts me in jail….yes the father of our child puts me in jail 7 months pregnant with our child because he told the cops I hit him….(which I didn’t) he then holds my oldest child against me for a couple of months as I’m pregnant and homeless with our other child living in a shelter thats infested with bed bugs. (that went on for like 3 months) He finally lets me come back, he starts calling me names- I’m a piece of crap, I’m worthless no good mother and the mental abuse goes on.. Never has he stopped with hitting me.. Ok fast forward to a couple of months later I have my daughter and we move back to the worst part of Philly you can think of. This place was beyond ghetto…. again he leaves us alone at a house in a ghetto neighborhood again for days at a time (probably doing drugs) or god only knows what! One snowy day he went to “work” and I thought he took my phone I was done with his crap. So I went to his work with my kids to try to find my phone so I can leave him and he said to me “I don’t have your phone” I lost it on him and he calls the cops and got my two kids ripped out of my hands. DCYF took my kids….he thought he was going to get the kids back that following Monday. That was the last straw.. I left him, got my life together, got my kids back, and never looked back!!!! It was hard. But I did it!! Now my kids don’t even know who he is and have haven’t talked to him since!!! I am now married to the greatest guy in the world and thank God everyday I found him!!!!”

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“I was introduced to him by my sister. He was her husband’s cousin. We were both 24. Maybe I was tired of the dating game because I ignored the first sign that I should not date him. I learned that he had been in prison for two years for dealing heroin. I had never been involved with anyone who had a record.

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“My mom met him when I was 14. He came to her as her knight in shining armor. He was kind and sweet. We went on vacations and had fun. He played music and was a “good guy” fast forward 2 years. My mother got cancer. Fast moving life changing, kill you in 1.5 years cancer. While she was sick he began to drink. He would bring the woman home from his band and they would “talk” on the couch while my mother lay in her bed mere feet away. One night I guess the friend did not want to “talk” I don’t know. I do know I woke up with him sitting on the edge of my bed with his hand under the blanket. When I woke up it startled him. He said he was just checking on me to make sure I was sleeping ok. He got up and left. I remember laying there wondering what had just happened. Every night after that I moved my bed so the door couldn’t be opened. Let’s hit the fast forward button to 3 months. My mother is now dead. His drinking is out of control. I come home to the house where I grew up to find him and his girlfriend in my mother’s kitchen. I was 16 and in a horrible state. He beat the crap out of me that night. He hit me so hard in the face I saw stars. When I yelled if he was just pissed I blocked the door to my room so he couldn’t get in he hit me harder. He picked me up off the floor and slammed me into the counter. I ran for the back door. I left that night. Barefoot in the snow. I slept in my mom’s car. The next few days I packed all I could and moved into an apartment. He told me I would never be anything. Today I am strong. Today I own my own home. Today I help people live the best lives they can.”

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“I was with my bf for about 3-4 years total, off and on. The whole relationship was rocky to begin with. I never figured it out, then one day it clicked. He didn’t want to work, help support anything. Everything was to make him happy. My father was dying, and he had to be stuck to my side to “be there for me”. I didn’t want him there and neither did my father, but he had to follow me. Out of respect for dad I couldn’t go see him or I’d have a shadow, and disrespect him while I was there. Anyone I was close to left me. They didn’t like him, and I couldn’t see why. We have a child together. He used him as leverage to keep me when I finally had enough of feeling depressed and lonely and never good enough. Told him I didn’t love him. He told me I’d never have my son and he’d make sure of it. I stayed. I tried to leave him for 1.5 years before I was finally able to. The last few months when I finally made the decision, I had to leave regardless what he said. We fought. Told me I’d never be good enough for anyone else and no one would want me. I’m a useless, waste of air. Said he wished he was a female so he could beat he sh*t out of me and get away with it. Literally push came to shove sometimes. I’m 5’3 and he is 6’4. We were nose to nose a couple times. He’s told me I should kill myself and wreck my car and make everyone happier not to deal with me. A few days later the brakes went in my car. He called Child Protective Services on me a few times and brought me to court numerous times trying to make me look unfit. For my birthday I went out with my so-called close friend. I ended up being drugged, carried out back of the bar and left there. I’m not sure who or how I got ahold of him to get me, but he came. Child Protective Services woke me up the next day. Said I was accused of being an alcoholic. Come to find out my friend was fooling around with him and helped him drug me and make me look unfit. I slept with a knife under my pillow for a long time. The last couple court dates I had an escort out to my car. The court guards actually asked me because they see him hanging around outside. Before I got out of the house I had at least 2-3 CPS visits and at least one court date started. Since then, I moved back to my mother’s house. Got a better stable job. A man who picked up the pieces and helped me grow. He built a house for us. Things have done a complete 180 for me. I feel loved and wanted again. Something for the longest time I didn’t think I was allowed to feel.”

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“It started out with small things early in our relationship. Firstly, small decisions being made without really asking for my input, even though I always liked to include my partner’s opinion in everything we wanted to do in our plans or future needs. Decisions like buying items that weren’t budgeted for or making arrangements to do certain things without asking if I was available (from work mostly).

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“For 9.5 years all I heard was that I wasn’t good enough, or everything that went wrong was my fault, I was too fat. I was choked and grabbed forcibly by the arm and pushed. I was always made fun of, made to feel like I didn’t matter. Wasn’t able to see friends, because they influenced my decisions. Seeing my parents was just as bad. Always cheating on me, when confronted with proof, he would say it wasn’t him. I was never his wife (we were married for 7 years), I was always his friend, the mother of his Godchildren. I worked all the time, trying to earn money for our family, while he sat at home talking to other women and playing video games. He’d always spend out/my money on other women. Because we stopped being intimate with each other, I was cheating on him, I was hanging out with other guys. The non-stop fighting, yelling, and the physical fights just kept going. Getting worse by the day. It had gotten to the point of severe violence where I felt my life was over. He choked me so hard, that my neck had hurt for 3 days. That’s when I knew it was time to go. Sneaking out didn’t work, so I was arrested for domestic violence. Spent 6 months on probation. It was worth it.”

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“I was so used to the constant abuse- the fights, the drinking, the name calling, hair pulling, black eyes, money stealing monotony of it all… that I never thought anything would change, and that maybe… just maybe I really was as “crazy” as he claimed..Right up until the second the school called me- concerned (after some testing I had asked be done for my youngest son) that they believed he was suffering from PTSD.. due to being molested. I sent my children to my mother’s where they would be SAFE the very next day and had our abuser removed from our lives FOREVER. We have not seen him or heard from him in over 3 years… the active arrest warrant that I was notified about via the court system ensures that he while he may not have to face the full impact of his actions- My silence… will NOT be the last thing he hears from me.”

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“I was about 30 weeks pregnant when I met him and we started dating. He was there for me and helped me in any way he could. He made sure I was taken care of and promised my son would be as well. Not long after, I had my son prematurely. Again, he was caring and was there each day and night to help. That slowly started to change. He started not caring if I went to visit my son in the NICU or not. He started drinking every night. When he drank he was verbally abusive and manipulative. I tried to confront him a few times, but he always told me it was my fault or I was overreacting. His drinking got worse and each time he drank he would put me down and tell me I’m not good enough. He said without him I would have and be nothing. He would make me have sex with him, saying if I didn’t then he would hurt me and make my life hell. After my son had been home from the hospital for a couple months, I took him (my son) to New Hampshire to visit with family. While we were gone, he (my abuser) moved into my house. When he did this, he did it without a care about my things. A lot of my things ended up outside in the shed. When I returned to the house, I found it to be a complete mess. Of course he never offered to help clean. I was scared to tell him that I wanted to move with my son back to New Hampshire, to live near family. When I did bring it up, he said okay, but days later he made a huge argument about it and said it was all my fault and that I led him on. From that day on, he was awful. He would drink excessively. He would come home late at night being very loud, waking my son. He trashed the house; liquor bottles scattered in the room he slept in. He threatened that he would hurt me and my son if I didn’t do what he says. My mother was my only support. She kept reminding me that before all else, I have to keep my son and I safe. So, we made a plan that as soon as my college semester was over, I would leave for New Hampshire. However, I had all important items ready on standby if I needed to leave at a moments notice. One night after class, I came home to cops at my house. He was very drunk slurring his words. He claimed someone broke into my house while he was gone. The door was busted in and the house was a wreck with things thrown everywhere, but somehow the only thing missing, was a pair of his shoes. The cops questioned him and myself. I told the cops how this wasn’t the first time he claimed this happened, and the time before he was drunk and I wasn’t home as well. The cops and I both knew what was really going on. They told me they would drive by again later to check up on my place and if I needed anything, give them a call. A few nights later, after coming home loud and drunk again, I asked him to please try to keep it down as I didn’t want it to wake my son. His anger burst out again, telling me I am nothing and no one will ever put up with me and my crap. No one will ever love me especially because I had a child. I called my mother and sat on the phone with her while she listened to him scream at me, inches from my face. He told me I was a slut and even said derogatory things about my family. My mom drove to my house while on the phone with me. When she got there, he was shocked and kept saying he never said those things. I grabbed my son and what we needed, and stayed at my mom’s that night. Soon after, he started moving his things out of my house, but still trying to make me out to be the bad guy. Acting as if it were my fault he had to move and had no money. After he was finally out, I changed the locks, but still lived in constant fear that he would come back one night and do who knows what. After the semester was over, I packed up what I could fit in my Honda Accord, grabbed my son and 4 dogs, and left for New Hampshire.

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“A four-year-old girl tries to understand her parents’ abuse; especially her father’s manhandling. Throughout grammar school, her abuse grows more frightening. Meanwhile, the mother offers no secure support. As a sheltered teenager, anxiety grows while she tries to escape the hostile sexual advances by her father.

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“My story started at the age of 17 when I moved in with now ex-husband, then boyfriend. He was twenty-three at the time. At first his comments didn’t seem like abuse, but over time he made me feel like I wasn’t good enough to do anything. He always told me if I gained too much weight he’d leave me. He would say things like he could take my son away from me and I’d never see him again. I was scared to even let him take our son to the park. He gave me such a hard time to want to spend time with my family that I just stop trying to do so. He isolated me from my family. Going to church wasn’t acceptable to him, he would accuse me of sleeping with the pastor, and because I wouldn’t respond to him sexually, in his mind I was sleeping around. When I met his friends and they liked me for the person I am, he’d accuse me of sleeping with them, he’d even accuse me of sleeping with his family members. He was an alcoholic and extremely mean when he drank. He called me all kinds of names, and was just made to feel like I was worthless, I didn’t get even a “happy birthday” from him and he’d do the same on mother’s day, just act like I didn’t exist until he was ready to berate me with insults. I would try to get away from him and go to my mother’s house but he would come over and harass her until I left. I remember when I was hanging Christmas lights outside and fell off the chair, I yelled and couldn’t move, my neighbor heard me through her window and called the ambulance. He never came outside until someone went in the house to get him, when he did come outside he just stood there and looked at me like I was stupid. He never came to the hospital to make sure I was okay. I had hit rock bottom emotionally and told him I wanted to kill myself. He looked at me and told me I was too stupid to kill myself, I thought, “I’ll show him,” and swallowed a hand full of pills and downed them with a beer. I called my mom to say goodbye, she rushed over and took me to the hospital where I spent a week in the psychiatric ward. I can recall a day when we were arguing and something inside me told me to leave. I grabbed my son ,who was around three or four at the time, and ran out the door. I jumped in the car , I didn’t even take time to strap my son in. As I was backing the car up he jumped in the driver’s side window to try to stop me. I thought to myself ” fine then we all go,” I slammed my foot on the gas and drove over the curb into the courtyard where we lived. He looked up just in time to let go and as I just missed a tree. When I came back that evening he had taken an aluminum bat to the entire apartment, he broke the bat while beating everything we owned. I truly believe God told me to leave, his voice saved my life that night. I stayed with him for ten years because I believed I could not take care of myself and my son without him. The last two years of us being together is when we got married, he had convinced me he loved me and wanted to spend his life with me. Even though he had emotionally and verbally abused me, I thought he really did love me, so I married him. One year later I came home early to find him packing his clothes. He was trying to sneaking out to leave me. He moved right in with another woman. It took me two years to realize him leaving me was the best thing he had have ever done for me, I later thanked him for it. My next two marriages were to men who abused me in different ways, one was neglect and the other just simply lied to me , wouldn’t work and stole from me constantly. I honestly didn’t know my worth until recently when I finally left my now husband. It was then I realize I am worth a whole lot more than what I have been accepting. I started my catering business, I’m a vendor in two different stores and I am getting ready to launch an online shop. I’m expensive: emotionally, spiritually and financially, any man who wishes to be in my life from now on, has to match all of my efforts, and treat me like the queen I am.”

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“I was married to my HS sweetheart at age 21, we are the same age. We had our first child when we were 23, then another at 24. Our marriage was good for the first 10yrs or so.The first time he screamed at me and called me a whore was over the phone. He was away at a car race for the weekend and the night before I had some of our friends over and we swam in our pool. The fact that I did that infuriated him. I was shocked.

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“My story didn’t begin on March 16, 2013, it began far before that. March 16, 2013 was only the spiral that lead to me coming out from other traumatic events. Most don’t know my story, many will be shocked. First and foremost I am not ashamed, and I am okay. March 16, 2013 my father was shot multiple times along with his friend by his friends ex-boyfriend, who committed suicide shortly after, her two sons escaped through a window. That’s the thing with PTSD, it likes to hide, block , disassociate. It likes to tear you down blind you with depression and anxiety. My story began when I was 4, I was “touched” by a family friend. It was one time, but not the last encounter I would have. At 15 I became an alcoholic, now that doesn’t happen with reason you could say I was dealt those cards as my family history has a long record of both substance abuse and alcoholism. I began to run away, bottle my feelings, my Mother tried her best with mental health facilities and rehab, but I ran. At 16 I was jumping house to house until I met a boy, he loved me and well I loved him “teen love” when I found out he was sleeping with someone else and threatened to leave him, he beat me, this happened numerous times, until one day I left while he was at work. He did save me in one way, I no longer needed to drink from the time I was with him. This only led to one unhealthy relationship to another, I didn’t know what love was or what it felt like. At 18 I worked at a restaurant (my first time waitressing). Six months in I got had gotten fired for not properly ringing out add on salads, they had threatened me with law enforcement (I never was properly trained working the computer system) I thought I would need a lawyer, I never had gotten fired from a job, he took care of it (I trusted him, he asked me to go to his office to sign paperwork and talk about what was going on. I was sexually assaulted, there was no paperwork. He instead have given me a gift certificate upon leaving, that week was followed by indirect threatening calls. I didn’t say a word for 10 years. I finally told my therapist when I was seeking help for dealing with PTSD. I would come home that night crying and told my husband (no details) he would be the second person. Then there was quite again until the Me Too movement where I felt triggered, again I went back to therapy but a sexual assault therapist. That was this year, where I would tell my mother what happened as well. It was suggested to get a lawyer before coming out, but nobody would take my case. I am not ashamed, but I am scared and that’s okay, I don’t need to come out I just need to be okay with what happened to. I felt shame and disgusted for so long until this year. After my father was shot and killed in a double murder suicide, it brought on such intense feelings I even contemplated life itself. But these last 2 years I have found myself, I picked up a camera and well taught myself everything, it’s like I have come out of the darkness, I have found me again, I have found the light. A spiritual awakening. A few months ago, while I lay wide awake, I came up with this idea of empowering woman, it took a few weeks to get over the am I crazy part (Lol) but the idea wouldn’t leave my mind at night. I wanted to spread a message empowering one another, I wanted to make a statement like ” Hey, this is me I have something to say!!” so the ideas kept flowing and well one post led to another which led me to create a private group, and well everything else. Everyone has a path, something they are MEANT to be doing, it’s up to you to find it. This is why I am here, no shame, no embarrassment, because I’m not alone, I have a mission to do. A movement I have created and a vibration that has been felt in all 50 states.

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