When I was fifteen years old, I dated a guy who was extremely controlling and violent. He would lash out at me by shaking, kicking or hitting me. He also forced me to engage in sexual acts I did not want to engage in. My mom was concerned about my relationship, so she brought me to Susan B. Anthony Project. My SBAP counselor helped me understand that staying in an abusive relationship did not make me a weak or stupid person. I was finally able to end my relationship. He went to jail, and I moved on with my life. I attended college then law school. I’m now a practicing attorney in Massachusetts.
My father was an ex-Marine. He was handsome and charismatic. He was also my abuser. He began sexually abusing me as a young child. The abuse continued until I left home at 19. At first I didn’t understand that what he was doing was wrong. But as I got older, I realized that other fathers didn’t do this to their little girls. When I was in my 50s, I knew I needed help. Fortunately, I found Susan B. Anthony Project and people who could help me begin to heal.
I was married to my abuser for 14 years. I was physically and emotionally abused regularly. One day after a particularly humiliating episode, I decided I’d had enough. Not only did I have to get help for myself but also for my two young sons. I did not want them to grow up to abuse women as their father did. I came to the Susan B. Anthony Project shelter with only the clothes on back. SBAP helped me save my life.
When I was eight years old, I was sexually molested by a family member. I held onto this awful secret for too many years. It almost destroyed me. As a boy and a man, I was afraid to talk about this violation for fear I would be rejected and judged. Instead, I found my comfort in drugs and alcohol. While I was in treatment for my addiction, I met a counselor from Susan B. Anthony Project. I was able to open up, get help at SBAP, and begin to heal.