Break the Silence: Victim to Victory is a non-profit organization that aims to support survivors of child abuse and advocate in order to prevent child abuse. One of the most powerful forms of support for people who have endured these experiences is to know that they are not alone. We work to help voice those who have decided to come forward and share their stories to let others know that they do not stand alone. We want to share with you a story from a courageous survivor who has decided to come forward and share with you. This survivor wants to help advocate for this cause in hopes to let another survivor know that there is hope.
I broke my silence when I was 9 years old. My parents divorced when I was 4 and of course the custody was split between them. I was with my mom on the weekdays and was with my dad on the weekends. Soon after the divorce I remember my dad started to do things that made me very uncomfortable and as I got older, I knew it wasn’t right. Every weekend, every moment he got, he would take advantage of me and since I was young and scared of his threats, I said nothing for 5 years. One day I decided I had enough of the abuse and I knew I’d rather face the “consequences” than go through one more day of it.
I finally built up the courage to tell my mom and was immediately taken to the hospital and told my story to several nurses and police officers throughout the night. After two years of feeling on edge with stress, the court date finally came. I had to testify in front of his family and mine, and three long days later he was sentenced to 40 years in prison. I felt relieved and no longer scared of him, but for years after I felt empty, alone, worthless, and ashamed. I was 11 years old when I first told a few people around me about the hard time I was going through, but since we were so young, they didn’t understand, I was bullied for months and months. Every time a boy even touched me, I would jerk away. If I was looked at by an older man I would break into a sweat, my view of boys/men was distorted for a very long time. I knew eventually I would find someone, but I also thought I knew that once I told them what happened to me, I wouldn’t be good enough and they wouldn’t see me the same.
I went through counseling, was put on medicine, but the depression I went through remained for years. One day I went to a youth night at my church and broke down during worship and knew that I couldn’t fill up that empty feeling alone. I was saved that night and baptized a few weeks later. Healing definitely didn’t happen overnight, but I felt happy for the first time in so long. I felt free of that burden and all of the fear and anger. I realized who my true friends are that encourage me daily and are there for me always. I found someone that looks past that part of me and loves me unconditionally. I still go through hard times, but God has helped me find the path I want to go down and has helped me see my worth. I am no longer a victim of sexual abuse, but now feel the victory of knowing that just by breaking my silence, I can now help others and become successful in the future. - Cameron Johnston, 17
We hope you have been encouraged by the strength exuded by this survivors’ story to continue to victory and to advocate for the prevention of child abuse in your community and throughout.