Sunday, September 3, 2017

A Call To Action

A Call To Action
I’m just going to throw this out there……...childhood sexual abuse and rape sucks.

For a lot of survivors of childhood trauma and sexual abuse we spend a lifetime trying to push away the memories, trying to  forget, trying  to be “normal” even though we may have spent a lifetime feeling like we are living in a world peering from the outside in. Living our lives the way we think we “have to” rather than living our lives authentically the way we choose.. Some of us  may move through life believing we are nobody’s , that we are  damaged goods, and may keep the suicide card ready to be played at a moment's notice. We may have grown up feeling worthless, never believing we were smart enough, pretty enough, good enough.

I am one of the lucky ones.

I am a survivor that stayed silent till the age of 42. I was never going to tell my secret. I believed in those early years that my worth was at a lower level than most, that I would probably die at a young age or that if people really knew my story of abuse they would blame me, find me disgusting and hate me as much as I hated myself.. I held my secret of childhood sexual abuse back in the recesses of my mind , not allowing myself to get close to the pain, checking out , always remembering the words of what was whispered in my ear , the whisper telling me to “ move my hand”, “lay still” . “ be quiet” and more …….

I say I’m one of the lucky ones because in my midlife I have found hope. Yes, I still struggle at times but I have a light in my soul that grows stronger every day. I have found my voice, and now take what was done to me so long ago by terrible people and have turned it around and have broken free from the chains they wrapped so tight around me so long ago.

I am one of the lucky ones because at a certain point in my recovery I realized that there is power in my words, in breaking my silence, in breaking down the lies of abuse.

I am one of the lucky ones because the cycle of sexual abuse stops with me. I’ve chosen to develop strength in my voice, use my experience to help others, and live out the mission I believe that was given to me to help protect others.bring light to the epidemic of childhood abuse, and use my experience to give hope to another.

No matter who you are ,if you were sexually abused as a child you have worth. The things that happened to you in those rooms, in the baths, in the spaces you lived, are not your fault. You did not cause these bad things to happen. Bad people caused these things to happen, they caused the negative voices in your head, the lies, the low self worth , nightmares, flashbacks, disgusting feelings and more.
There was nothing you could have done. You were a child, an innocent, and do not have to hold this blame anymore.

If you are a survivor of childhood sexual abuse I ask you today to join me in giving voice, help yourself to find healing, shed the shame and shed the blame.

Our voices are our super strength and the more we use it the more we rise up.
Like the ever rising phoenix we can rise in truth knowing that today is the day we can change our lives. This day forward learn truth , find healing and more.

Join me on my mission of breaking the silence of childhood sexual abuse, educating communities, supporting survivors and helping reduce this terrible crime from affecting our youth.

The world needs a healthy you, there is no one else like you. You are fearfully and wonderfully made.

Come Join Us In This Call Of Action
Elizabeth Sullivan
Founder and CEO of EmpowerSurvivors
Support, Educate, Prevent

Join us this November for our second annual Giving Voice conference being held in Stillwater,MN!

Help Support this important mission!

Friday, August 11, 2017

This Week's EmpowerSurvivors News!


We Are Moving!

New Location: 1940 South Greeley Street, Suite 210, Stillwater,MN 55082
by Elizabeth Sullivan on August 11, 2017
Big things are coming to EmpowerSurvivors! As of August 1, 2017 EmpowerSurvivors has a new look and office space to do more work on supporting survivors, educating the community, and aiding in the prevention of child abuse.
Meetings for survivors will begin in new location the first Thursday in September! Contact Elizabeth for more information.
                                                                  THIS WEEK’S TOP STORIES


EmpowerSurvivors Speaks To Members Of The Lake Elmo Rotary!

by EmpowerSurvivors on August 11, 2017
At a breakfast hosted by The Lake Elmo Inn EmpowerSurvivors founder , Elizabeth Sullivan, spoke to members of the Lake Elmo Rotary Club to tell her story of childhood sexual abuse, discuss issues of childhood sexual abuse, prevention and the work of EmpowerSurvivors in our local community and beyond.
A very big thank you to the Rotary for inviting EmpowerSurvivors to come speak, having a great discussion and questions! It was an honor to to not only share a great breakfast but to meet the members of this local club!
If you would like Elizabeth to come to your club, event or meeting plz contact EmpowerSurvivors at


Elizabeth joins program director Julie Good of the local “Unchained’ group to promote local peer support group!

by EmpowerSurvivors on August 11, 2017
Tuesday of this week Elizabeth Sullivan ,of EmpowerSurvivors, joined forces with Julie Good, of Maranatha Church, to promote their peer support group program “ Unchained”.
The “Unchained” group follows the “Into The Wildflowers “ program developed by fellow survivor Julie Woodley and is offered twice a year at the Maranatha Church located in Wyoming , MN
“We ( EmpowerSurvivors) believe in promoting other groups dedicated to survivors of childhood sexual abuse and were excited to be asked to be part of their new promotional video that will be airing soon.
Thank you to Julie Good and the Unchained program for asking us to be a part of this video and also for helping give voice to childhood sexual abuse and supporting our local survivors!

Check out our website

Can You Help ?EmpowerSurvivors Current Needs:

* Volunteer Grant Writers
* Board members dedicated to our mission, survivors and fundraising
* Computer/Printer
* Laptop
* Copying Paper
* Red Two Pocket Folders
* Kleenex
* Pens
* Couch/Chairs for Weekly Support Group Members.
* Large Dry Erase Board for Meeting Room
* File Folders
* Stamps
* Donations to help with rental costs, programs, books, etc.
* Sponsors for this November 11, 2017 Giving Voice-EmpowerSurvivors Conference

Other Ways To Help-
* Support The Work Of Elizabeth Sullivan And EmpowerSurvivors By Making A Monthly Pledge For As Little As A Cup Of Coffee!

Friday, August 4, 2017

EmpowerSurvivors Is Moving And Shaking!!!

Landlord giving me my key!
In 2013 I started a online group for survivors of child abuse and neglect with a buddy out of the UK named Innocence Lost and later in the year decided to start another online group for adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse that became known as EmpowerSurvivors.

In 2014 EmpowerSurvivors became an offline organization that was held weekly at the local library in Stillwater,MN. When I started EmpowerSurvivors I had no idea where it would take me. There were times I wondered what the hell I was doing and other times I knew exactly what I was doing! Times I have put in long hours asking myself if it is all worth it and other times knowing in the depth of my soul that it was absolutely worth it. At times there has been a real battle of the mind but in those times I have tried to silence myself, listen to what I thought God was leading me to do and try to have the faith needed to keep going with the mission all along knowing this was way bigger then me. In 2016 we officially became a nonprofit and today we are getting out there more.

There are alot of things I have failed at in my life. Things that I could have done different. Things that I should have done different but with EmpowerSurvivors it has always felt like this is what I was meant to do, what I was suppose to do.. I had no idea how I would pay for things. I have saved and crunched pennies to to be able to get EmpowerSurvivors where it is today.To date I have never gotten paid and make this my full time job. I have used most of my savings to be able to provide safe spaces for healing, education on childhood sexual abuse and prevention. There are times I've cried my eyes out and other times that I was filled with Joy.

Today I am happy to say that EmpowerSurvivors has leased it first office space! Here I will be able to hold more meetings, offer workshops and classes and provide more for those affected by childhood sexual abuse. I cannot thank the people enough who have believed in me when most have not, for the people who have donated to the cause including my own kids. I want to thank those that have answered my many questions when I felt lost and not knowing what the heck I was doing.
I used to think most people were bad but I am learning that their are good people in the world, strangers that have heard of what I am doing and handed me a $20.00 bill to help, a $5.00 bill or purchased me kleenex for the group.

I had looked at office space many times and thought to myself , you better wait. Several weeks ago I looked at a place in Stillwater off of Greeley Street by the KC Hall and fell in love with the space. Again I began the battle wondering if I was insane to take the leap and lease this space. I prayed, I looked at my bank notes, wondered what the heck to do and felt that it was time to take a leap of faith and sign a lease.

I was lucky enough to meet a nice man named Mr. Clark Nyberg. He has no idea who I am and was willing to go down in price to make leasing possible. If that wasn't enough he also made it possible for me to have some used office furniture, a microwave and more.
Main Office Area 

Back office
Today my youngest and I went to sign the lease and do some cleaning. We moved around furniture, talked about what we can do with the space to help those struggling with the after effects of childhood sexual abuse , classes, and more. I sat in a chair and looked at our new office space for EmpowerSurvivors and went over the last 4 years in my mind. My healing journey and the survivors I have been lucky enough to meet along the way.I sat there and just thought what a great day this is. When I was thinking this my youngest daughter looked at me and told me that she was proud of me. I couldn't believe the strength in those words at that moment. I felt an ache for a moment, so touched that she would say these words to me and I knew then that I was right where I needed to be.

Dare to dream a therapist once told me, dare to dream. I'm not sure where this is headed but with a bit of faith and some awesome luck you just never know 
More about EmpowerSurvivors:

Ways You can Donate:Would you be willing to pledge a monthly amount to keep my mission going?

Things we could use: 
copying paper, bookcase, Smart TV/ DVD player for group, office supplies, kleenex, water, money, lots of money,lol and a little prayer and help from above 

More work space

 Come Visit Us At Our New Location!
1940 South Greeley Street
Suite #210
Stillwater, MN 55082

Monday, July 10, 2017

Come Join Us For A Day You Don't Want To Miss- Giving Voice- EmpowerSurvivors 2017 Conference November 11, 2017

Keynote Speaker For This Year's 

Giving Voice- EmpowerSurvivors 2017 Conference

November 11, 2017 in Stillwater,MN

  Matthew Sandusky

This year we will once again be having Matthew Sandusky as our keynote speaker! We are very excited to have Matthew back in Stillwater for a day of "Giving Voice" to childhood sexual abuse, supporting survivors on their healing journeys, providing resources, educating the public, aiding in prevention and coming together as one survivor family and community. Come join us for a day to celebrate being survivors and
 being a "keep kids safe community"
Matthew Sandusky
Survivor, Advocate, Author, and Founder of The Healing Hearts Foundation

Matthew Sandusky, Founder and Executive Director of Peaceful Hearts Foundation, was a victim of childhood sexual abuse from the age of 8 to 17 at the hands of his adopted father, Jerry Sandusky. Matthew is working to turn his traumatic personal experience into a mechanism to prevent childhood sexual abuse and help other survivors heal.

Through his work with Peaceful Hearts, Matthew, raises awareness around child sexual abuse in local communities, supports the life-saving work of children’s advocacy and sexual assault treatment centers, and advocates for legislative changes. Matthew works with researchers, clinicians, the media, politicians, social workers, and child protection professionals to raise awareness and improve the quality and availability of services to survivors nationwide.

In addition to his advocacy work, Matthew is committed to empowering and educating children to use their voices and help protect them against abuse. He is working with other advocates to implement an in-school curriculum to empower children to use their voices as a first line of defense, along with parents and teachers.
Matthew is also an accomplished author, chronicling his years of abuse in his memoir, Undaunted: Breaking my silence to overcome the trauma of child sexual abuse, which sheds light on the truth about abuse and the healing journey that a victim goes through to become a survivor.

As an internationally recognized spokesperson, on the topic of child sexual abuse, Matthew is asked regularly to comment on breaking news. He has done a one-on-one interview with Oprah Winfrey, been featured in two documentaries, Happy Valley and Invisible Scars, and is regularly published in major newspapers across the country.
Matthew attended Penn State University, studying Business. He along with his wife and children currently reside in State College, PA. Through his work with Peaceful Hearts Foundation, Matthew Sandusky has moved from victim to survivor of child sexual abuse.

Interview with Oprah Winfrey- 2014 (TRIGGER WARNING)

Trailer from the 2014 Documentary " Happy Valley"
Amir Bar-Lev’s documentary HAPPY VALLEY takes an unflinching look at an iconic American institution in the wake of unthinkable scandal. Nestled in the idyllic area known as Happy Valley lies the town of State College and the home of Penn State University. For over 40 years, Joe Paterno was the celebrated head coach of the school's storied football team. Lauded not only for his program's success on the field, but also for students’ achievements in the classroom, Paterno was a revered figure in a town where team loyalty approached nationalistic fervor. Then in November 2011 everything changed when longtime assistant coach Jerry Sandusky was charged with 40 counts of child sex abuse, setting off a firestorm of accusations about who failed to protect the children of Happy Valley. Filmed over the course of the year after Sandusky’s arrest as key players agreed to share their stories, HAPPY VALLEY deconstructs the story we think we know to uncover a much more complicated and tragic tale. Director Bar-Lev creates an indelible portrait of a wounded community and an engrossing investigation into the role big time college football played in both the crimes and their aftermath.

Speaker and Advocate Jane Straub will also be on hand delivering a great introduction to the the adverse childhood experience study and the resiliency of survivors! Jane is an incredible warrior for survivors and our communities children! 

Montana's Sweetheart Tara Walker Lyons!
Survivor, Advocate, And Author of Tara's Law, And Speaker
Tara will be on hand to discuss her rise from victim, to survivor , to thriver!

Come join us this November For a conference dedicated to survivors everywhere , and those in the community that want to support survivors and the protection of our children

Schedule and Ticket Information can be found at :

More About EmpowerSurvivors

EmpowerSurvivors Public Facebook Page:

EmpowerSurvivors Closed Peer Support Group:

Support EmpowerSurvivors Founder Elizabeth Sullivan And The Work She Is Doing For Survivors!

Image result for wanted vendors and sponsors Image result for wanted vendors and sponsors

Contact Person:
Elizabeth Sullivan

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

I Am A Lost Boy............................................

                                                                             - Elizabeth Sullivan/EmpowerSurvivors

Image result for cloudsImage result for clouds

 For many survivors of childhood sexual abuse we spent our childhoods daydreaming, never feeling like we really fit in. We stood on the outside of life looking in and not feeling as though we were a part of what we were seeing.We wondered where our place was. We lived in the past or the future. We wondered why the world was the way it was and would lose ourselves in the clouds and daydream of places we would rather be.

We wondered what was wrong with us, instead of seeing what was right with us. We blamed ourselves for the crimes adults did to us. We kept people at a distance instead of drawing them close to us. We ran from things we didn't understand and because of this at times lost out on love. A love we desperately needed but felt too vulnerable receiving. 

Today is a new day.

No need to feel alone any longer. 

There is a rising that is happening, a breaking of silence, survivors are finding their voices, breaking the chains of shame and blame that have weighed them down for far too long. 
Image result for breaking the chains of abuse

Survivors are rising from the ashes of abuse and becoming the warriors they have always been.

Our time is now. We no longer need to hide. We no longer need to keep the secret and feel like that lost little boy or little girl. 

Start a new song, a new chapter.

Hold that child within you, you are free.

Join me and other survivors this November 11, 2017 in Stillwater,MN for our 
2nd annual "Giving Voice" EmpowerSurvivors Conference.

This is a conference for YOU ! Purchase your tickets today!

There was a time when I was alone
Nowhere to go and no place to call home
My only friend was the man in the moon
And even sometimes he would go away, too
Then one night, as I closed my eyes
I saw a shadow flying high
He came to me with the sweetest smile
Told me he wanted to talk for awhile
He said, "Peter Pan, that's what they call me
I promise that you'll never be lonely, " and ever since that day
I am a lost boy from Neverland
Usually hanging out with Peter Pan
And when we're bored we play in the woods
Always on the run from Captain Hook
"Run, run, lost boy, " they say to me
Away from all of reality
Neverland is home to lost boys like me
And lost boys like me are free
Neverland is home to lost boys like me
And lost boys like me are free
He sprinkled me in pixie dust and told me to believe
Believe in him and believe in me
Together we will fly away in a cloud of green
To your beautiful destiny
As we soared above the town that never loved me
I realized I finally had a family
Soon enough we reached Neverland
Peacefully my feet hit the sand
And ever since that day
I am a lost boy from Neverland
Usually hanging out with Peter Pan
And when we're bored we play in the woods
Always on the run from Captain Hook
"Run, run, lost boy, " they say to me
Away from all of reality
Neverland is home to lost boys like me
And lost boys like me are free
Neverland is home to lost boys like me
And lost boys like me are free
Peter Pan, Tinkerbell, Wendy Darling
Even Captain Hook, you are my perfect story book
Neverland, I love you so
You are now my home sweet home
Forever a lost boy at last
Peter Pan, Tinkerbell, Wendy Darling
Even Captain Hook, you are my perfect story book
Neverland, I love you so
You are now my home sweet home
Forever a lost boy at last
And for always I will say
I am a lost boy from Neverland
Usually hanging out with Peter Pan
And when we're bored we play in the woods
Always on the run from Captain Hook
"Run, run, lost boy, " they say to me
Away from all of reality
Neverland is home to lost boys like me
And lost boys like me are free
Neverland is home to lost boys like me
And lost boys like me are free

Friday, May 19, 2017

Faces Of Survivors , Voices of Warriors - Introducing Dee !

Faces Of Survivors, Voices of Warriors Project

Our First Warrior - Introducing Dee !

Through the Mud Grows a Lotus

The beginning for me started very early. See, my mom decided to date the man that would become my “stepfather” figure and abuser when I was 2 years old.  This is also the age that he moved in with us.  He claims that when he saw me toddle down the hallway one morning that he just fell in love and knew he would be staying awhile.  This was all the fatherly stuff he would tell me when he was drunk and had to go over the story again for the millionth time.  Eddie was an alcoholic as long as I knew him.  My mom actually met him when she was tending bar one night.  How romantic.

My real father and my mom were separated, not divorced yet, when I was conceived and born.  I have a brother and sister who are 8 and 10 yrs. older than me. I was what you’d call my mother’s love child.  She admits that she would have done anything to try and save her marriage.  Well, it didn’t work.  The divorce was final when I was 4.  I really didn’t know my dad.  What I did know and remember was him showing up to visit and my mom sending us out of the house so she could argue with him.  This was every time, which wasn’t much.  Soon, it was barely ever and then not at all.  To the point that he actually forgot my birthdate.  I was born February 1st and when he started to call or send a card it always referenced the 2nd.  I would have to correct him quite a bit.  So I grew up not knowing my dad and what I did know was whatever stories my mother told me of him.  It was all filled with bitterness and hate.  She even went as far to tell me how he and his family wanted my mother to have an abortion with me. That he didn’t want me and his family didn’t either.  That he would be bringing another child into a broken family and he didn’t want that.  
So, I can remember around the age of 4 sneaking out of the house early in the morning, before anyone was up, and swinging on the playground right in the back yard.  We lived in this townhouse and right behind our row was an incredible playground.  Lots of hiding places I would make forts out of.  Anyway, I would get in big trouble when they would wake up and not find me in the house anywhere.  When they finally did, I was just swinging away, still in my nightgown.  Every time they couldn’t find me, that’s where I was.  They finally had to put a lock on the top of the door and put a strict rule in place that I was not to come out of my room until someone woke up and came and got me.  This is the only memory I have from that time and I find it sort of weird that this is the memory that stuck. I just know that being on that swing was the best feeling in the world and felt so free.
We moved to another complex when I started Kindergarten.  I had to share a room with my sister and I remembered just recently, actually, that I didn’t even have my own bed.  I slept on an old couch.  If you can imagine 70’s wood furniture with these green rough cushions and triangle shaped back bolsters.  It was not comfortable at all.  No padding on the arms, just wood.  My mom would dress it like a bed, sheets, blanket, a pillow, but it was NOT a bed.  I was 8 when I got my first bed.  My brother went into the Navy then and I moved into his room. That’s the only way I got my own bed.  Now that I think about it, I inherited his dresser and nightstand too.  I really never had anything of my own until my brother moved out.  Until then I had to share everything of my sister’s.
Eddie was still an active role in our home.  He had taken on the father figure with all that goes along with it including discipline. Being an alcoholic didn’t help any.  He was a Jekyll and Hyde drunk. To everyone outside the house, he was the greatest guy. He was classy, thoughtful, a gentleman…  We knew the truth.  He was physically, emotionally and mentally abusive as long as I can remember. He would throw things across the room, anything, even his dinner plate food and all. He would jump so fast that it would scare the hell out of you and you couldn’t move fast enough to even try and get away.  You didn’t dare look at him wrong or at all because you had no idea what was coming.  I don’t know how many meals were thrown and dishes broken that we had to clean up.  
He was abusive to my mother, my sister and me.  He had also been abusive to my brother which is why he had ran away to my father’s once and then went into the Navy as soon as he was able. The kind of physical abuse that went on varied. He would slap, throw things at us, throw us to the ground or across the room into the walls.  His favorite was to drag us by our hair where ever he wanted us to be or throw us into the wall by our hair.  He also liked to back hand us.  I remember one time that I was accused of lying about going out to the bus stop early for school.  I had a specific time to go out and was not allowed out any earlier.  I was in the bathroom at the time when he was leaving for work. He called out to me to tell me he was leaving. I said goodbye, yelled actually.  He didn’t hear me.  He came home drunk as usual and made me stand in front of him until I confessed to going out early to the bus stop.  I wouldn’t confess because I didn’t go out early. He accused me of lying.  I said over and over again that I was not lying.  He asked me if I knew what would happen if I lied.  I said yes, I would be in trouble but again, I was not lying.  The next second he backhanded me across the face so hard that it moved my whole body. I almost fell over. I stood back in front of him and told him again that I was not lying. He could hit me again if he wanted. It was my mission to not let him see me cry. I rarely cried in front of him or anyone else for that matter. One other time that really has imprinted on me is when I was about 12. One night he had come home late from drinking. I was in bed sleeping and I was awoken by yelling and commotion downstairs.  I woke enough to hear what was going on and it was my mother calling for me.  Calling for me to come help her.  She was screaming and crying saying he was trying to kill her.  I could hear him yelling too.  I tried to hide under my covers and pretend I was still sleeping.  Maybe it would all stop and go away.  Well, it didn’t, and her voice got more and more frantic.  I instinctively jumped out of bed and flew down the stairs. I don’t even think I touched but 2 stairs on the way down.  I turned the corner to find him with his hands around her throat and her on her tip toes trying to get away.  I ran over and jumped on his back.  Started fighting and hitting until he let go.  He kept telling me to “get off me you little bitch”.  I threw him down to the floor as soon as his hands were off her neck and jumped on top of him to start punching him.  I got up, made my mother get her purse and I made us leave and go to the neighbor’s house.  We stayed there for a couple hours waiting for him to go to sleep.  Nothing was ever done, no police call, no DCS, nothing.  There never was.  I learned at that moment what my role was in that house.  I was not the child, I was the protector.  The protector of my sister AND my mother.  This isn’t the way to live as a child.  I was now the grown up taking care of the parent.
He was constantly telling us how useless we were and how stupid and lazy we were. If we weren’t careful we would end up fat cows like our mother. My mother was practically anorexic because of him, far from a fat cow. We will amount to nothing. All women are trash and whores. As I got older in my early teens he wondered if I had any boyfriends.  If I did I was a whore and if I didn’t I was a lesbian. I couldn’t win no matter what. There was so much emotional and mental abuse that it all just was part of my every day.
He also abused me sexually. I had been molested by him from around the age of 5 or 6 until I moved out of my mom’s house when I was about 21.  The last few years it wasn’t often because I was never there.  I tried to be gone from the house from the minute I woke until the minute I went to bed. Sometimes I wouldn’t come home at all, I’d stay at a friend’s house. I don’t have actual visual memories from when I was really small.  This is more like body memories, feelings, emotions or fears. It’s hard to explain. I used to take naps in my mom’s room when I was little. I thought it was cool because I could watch T.V. and fall asleep. It wasn’t cool for long.  I know the feeling of being cuddled and when he would be up behind me, it wasn’t the same as cuddling.  It just felt wrong. I knew it was wrong.  Again, I don’t have memories of what actually happened other than him being up against me. Maybe that’s all there was but it was wrong.
The turning point in the sexual abuse was when I moved into my own room. That’s when it started happening more often and I became more fearful.  That’s when I started to “know” it was happening. He would come into my room at night and stand over me, watch me sleep, I’d wake a little and he would leave.  These visits got longer and he would start sitting on the edge of the bed.  I would pretend I didn’t know he was there.  I was frozen stiff, afraid to move.  At first, remembering, I thought it was only when he had been drinking but it wasn’t. It happened all the time.  He would run his hand over me as I slept.  At first, very lightly so I would barely notice and then eventually he would just touch me. He got to the point of going under the covers then pulling the covers down. Run his hands over my body as he hovered over me. I could feel him breathing and whispering. I stopped wearing nightgowns, never again have I worn one. I tried so hard to move and roll away like I was sleeping, maybe he’d be afraid I was waking up and leave. It worked sometimes. There were times while watching TV in the living room I would be on one end of the couch and he would come sit down and purposely rub my thigh or look at my breasts. I started curling up with pillows and blankets any time I was down stairs.  I stopped wearing shorts and certain T-shirts. He would also come downstairs in his robe and make coffee or something.  On his way back to the dining room or living room he would “accidentally” let his robe open up and expose himself.  He would do this when he wore shorts too.  He would sit a certain way so that he could show himself.  It was so sick.  I tried to never even look at him because I never knew what or when he would do something like that.  It would turn my stomach, make me feel panicky and I would just want to get the hell out of there.
He still had this thing about me taking naps with him every once in a while.  I, of course, would do all I could not to.  One time I remember resisting and being very firm about it.  He came all the way down stairs, pissed off as all hell, saying “You are such a spoiled little bitch, who do you think you are? I told you to come up here and you will do what I said. Now get the fuck upstairs!” He proceeded to come through the living room in his robe, grab me by the head of the hair, drag me up the stairs and throw me into his bedroom.  I laid there while he spooned me, frozen, trying not to cry. He was not going to see me cry, he was not going to see that he got the best of me. I would lay there until he fell asleep and then try to slide out of bed without making a sound or waking him.  On those days I would leave the house and go climb my favorite trees.  I would just sit in them for hours pretending I was anywhere but there.
There were many different scenarios and ways he abused me. These are the ones I remember vividly. Others all seem to merge into one another.  Sometimes I would wonder where one would start and the other would end? My life was a daily question of what kind of abuse would it be today, how bad would it be, will anyone notice or do anything about it, will my mom stop him this time?  I never spoke a word of the abuse until I was 42 and in therapy because my life was falling apart.  I had no intention of telling my mother ever.  I got up the nerve and told her. She never knew about the sexual abuse, she claims.  I don’t know how she couldn’t but she swears she didn’t.  She wonders why I never told her.  I said that she never did anything about him beating the shit out of me so why would I think she would do anything about that either?
I remember being woken up at night, didn’t matter if it was a school night, so he could sing songs with me. He would come home falling down puking drunk and I would have to take care of him while he vomited, clean him up and then he would want to sing.  He turned a lullaby into a trigger for me.  I can’t hear the song “You Are My Sunshine” without flashing back. If I didn’t want to sing because I was so tired, he would get mad and either slap me or pull me out of bed and make me stand there and sing the song until he was happy.
I learned how to drive prior to 16 so that my mom could wake me up some nights to go pick him up from the bar because he was so drunk he couldn’t move off the bar stool he was sitting on. My mom could drive but she was afraid to drive at night so she took me with her until I could drive and then I drove and she would come along.
I feel like I’m rambling now. This is all just so messed up.  I remember when I was about 10 asking him to stop drinking, to stop drinking for me.  If he loved me he would stop.  He cried and said he would try.  There were times he was sober but not for long.  I was about the same age when I told him what he was doing to me was wrong.  It wasn’t right for him to be touching me that way.  He was supposed to be a father figure to me and fathers who loved their children didn’t do these things to them.  I told him that if he didn’t stop I would tell Mom.  He begged and pleaded for me not to tell.  He knew it was wrong and he was sorry. He said he couldn’t help it, he thought I was just so pretty and so perfect. He said that if I told that she would make him go away and leave us.  He promised he would stop.  He didn’t.  I never told.
This led me to drink at an early age, I started doing drugs in college and did whatever I could get my hands on.  I mostly drank and smoked pot.  I tried to kill myself a couple times, a few of those not on purpose.  I didn’t realize at the time that this behavior was a direct effect of the abuse I had endured. I was raped while at college. I was drunk, didn’t listen to my friends, I went off where I shouldn’t have gone, with people I shouldn’t have been with. I never told anyone what happened. I got back to my dorm and cleaned up, climbed into bed quietly and laid there and cried.  I was an angry, violent person and worse when I was drunk.  I would punch things, punch myself, I would pick fights with my friends and strangers. I just wanted to die and I didn’t know why.  

I now know why. It all makes sense now. I’ve been in therapy for 2-3 years and I’m learning a lot.  I have come a long way but I still fall and have setbacks.  I missed my opportunity to hold him accountable as he died a couple years ago, prior to me ever speaking about it.  I do regret not speaking out and making it known.  I’m sure there are others that he did the same thing to in his family and I’m sorry for what they may have gone through. I wish I had told and had charges brought so he couldn’t hurt anyone else but I didn’t.  I never felt I had any support or anyone to back me.  I was all alone. That’s all different now. I know I’m not alone in this. I know there are others just like me. I handle things differently now.  I reach out to my couple good friends when I need support.  I reach out to the EmpowerSurvivors family when I need to.  They are always there to help me through the rough spots. I have a family, husband and two boys, that keep me going and show me all the love and support I could ever ask for. They are my heart! I have finished Yoga Teacher Training, Trauma Informed Yoga training and have started back to college to finish my degree. I am determined to do something with all I have been through. I still have a very long way to go but you see, I’m a fighter.  I’m still here. I keep showing up and I’m doing the work. I am a survivor!
Thank you Dee for sharing your experience. It is an honor to be on this journey with you!