Monday, November 17, 2014


Have you heard about this project?

#NMSN14 stands for No More Shame November 2014.
Survivors everywhere are sharing their stories and coming together to support each other.
A few amazing women (also, survivors)Rachel Thompson Bobbi Parish and Athena Moberg got together and started a twitter chat held on Tuesday nights for survivors with the hash tag #Sexabusechat. I have been an active participant in these chats more and more. It is a great place to share your story, get support or even just see what other survivors are up to.

I celebrated my 27th birthday on the 15th of this month and part of my celebration was sharing an essay for the #NoMoreShame project. 
Monday November 17th there will be a book release full of survivor stories, poems and essays.

I want to share this information for fellow survivors who are looking to connect or maybe you know a survivor who needs to hear that they are not alone.

Victims, survivors, thrive-rs and lifers are banning together and telling abusers NO MORE.  If you're not ready to share your story but, would like support, feel free to email me at:

Also feel free to check out these amazing, informative videos, made by fellow Survivors: HERE 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Rapist's Parental Rights In Iowa

I do not live in Iowa anymore but, at one time I did.
Iowa was the place where I got a fresh start. I reported my rapist, went to therapy, got married and gave birth to my son.  The tiny town of Humboldt gave me a safe place to begin my recovery as a rape and incest survivor. I am grateful for the love and community I had there and now I want to return the favor. So I will start by helping raise awareness about rapists parental rights to any children born as a result of their attack.

According to Iowa CASA : (Coalition Against Sexual Abuse)
  • Nearly 1 in 5 women have been raped in their lifetime. 1 in 31 men have been raped in their lifetime.
  • Approximately 80% of female victims experienced their first rape before the age of 25 and almost half experienced the first rape before age 18 (30% between 11-17 years old and 12% at or before the age of 10)
  • About 35% of women who were raped as minors were also raped as adults compared to 14% of women without an early rape history.
  • 28% of male victims of rape were first raped when they were 10 years old or younger.

    These Statics can also be found here .

I know these statics all too well and they still sicken me as they should anyone who reads them.
 Now imagine if you or someone you loved was a victim of rape and had a child as a result. Imagine having to let their nightmare, your nightmare interact with said child?
Why is this allowed?

In America there are states where convicted rapists are allowed to sue their victims for parental rights. Iowa is one of them. In some states women are forced against their will to not terminate a rape pregnancy, until a certain waiting period is up.  Regardless your views on abortion, a woman's body is her own and after a rapist has stolen her right, it is so unfair that the LAW  continues this injustice by not allowing her, HER right to her own body.
The Huffington post has more gut wrenching statistics here. 

I am posting today in hopes you will stand with me and fellow survivors, both those who faced parenting a child of rape, and those who have not. Please click HERE and sign the petition to help Iowa Rape victims protect themselves from further harm of their rapists and attackers. Help these survivors make a safer world than they have known for their children.
If you're against abortion then please sign the petition in hopes to discourage women from having them because they will feel safer about their child being protected from a rapist. If you are pro-abortion please sign the petition to protect a women's right to choose. Period.

Thank you in advance.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Swirl

The Swirl.
 I am dancing with depression and it has taken the lead.
Each step is to the beat of a broken heart.  I am so weary and I do not want to be here.
Anger cuts in for a spin and I catch a second wind and hope I will be able to bow out of this tango of torment.
 The music changes to the sound of a thousand tears and Shame grabs my hand for it's turn on the floor.  Round and round we go, Confusion cutting between us, on again and off again.
My soul is despondent but, there is no stopping this ball.
 I feel as though I cannot even catch a breath.
I am up and down, and sideways, and being flung from hither to yon and back again.
My emotions and my demons are colliding in a beautiful and yet hideous portrait.
The colors are vibrant but, the couplings disastrous.
I trip over my own feet but that does not phase the party around me. My only chance is to get up and dance or become overwhelmed and subdued.  I manage to take in a deep breath, but it is quickly stolen by Fear.
 Like a dark prince dressed in black and purple he tugs my arms to bring me to my feet and to also have this dance. He is so well put together and hard not to notice. His scent is intoxicating even when one knows that scent provokes their worst nightmares. He is so familiar to my life.  He pulls me close until our eyes meet. He brings back a recall so rich in remembrance I feel pain in my body. Broken bones that I had forgotten but, never had treated. I feel bruises on top of bruises from these flashbacks. Fear is not satisfied with the dance until I have become frozen in his clutch.
I hear shrieking in the music now, like an ill violin if one could make such a cry on it's own. It is the sound of my heart strings being strung through phantasms of both past and present.

I do not escape the dance with dry eyes or UN-frayed nerves, not even a whole soul is left within me.
I pick up the pieces of tattered heart and run to find a cool dark place. A soft place. An escape even if it's only a temporary one from this madness... the swirl.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

I, The Mistress, To God Be The Glory

I usually keep my blog posts strictly about being a survivor of rape and incest and related issues or topics.
This post is different from any others I have published before. 
I have mentioned before that my husband rescued me from my last rapist, my fathers cousin. He did not know at the time he was rescuing me from a living nightmare.  I have not spoken to how my husband and I began though. That changes today. 

 For so long I have not gotten to tell my side of my own love story. 
So many people have tainted it with rumors and accusations. Few have ever cared to ask me what really happened. It was a forbidden love but, an everlasting one.
  When I met my now husband over six years ago I had no idea he would be the love of my life. We worked alongside each other for a long time. He was married and I was in an on again off again relationship.

When his wife left, (Three years after we first met) I was there. I was his friend and I was removed from the "church" enough that I was trusted with the details. I won't try to pretend it was an innocent love by this point. I was very attached to Pastor James. I knew there was ongoing trouble in his marriage but, I was not any part of it.  I did not want to stay friends though, and neither did he. There was an ever growing bond between us. The chemistry was undeniable even though we did our best to ignore it for the longest time.  Yes, there was very much an emotional affair before she left but, she did not know anything about it until after the fact. Not that it makes it any better. It was wrong. 

I had always had a deep respect and care for Pastor James but, it was gradually deepening. I thought I was doing my best to contain my affections but, Pastor James took notice. He was unhappy, and he had tried time and again in his marriage to make it work. He was committed to his family and keeping them together, but he was done playing games. That is what it felt like to him when she left, a game. She wanted him to follow and he refused. The details beyond that are not mine to share but, I am not why she left. When the news finally broke to the public that he was getting a divorce, people scrambled to find something or someone to blame. It was not long before suspicion arose about there being something more between us.
So many people spoke out of turn and said I was the reason for the separation. I was why she left. I was the reason the children cried at night missing their father. I was a home wrecker, per the church people. Everyone flocked to the defense of the poor first wife, and I was just the whore in their eyes.

Truth is, she left and he didn't chase.
 I cannot speak on their marital history as I was not there and speaking out of turn is the very thing I am against.
What I do know and can share, is this... I am not the reason she left. I am the reason she did not get him back.
I do not say this with pride but, as fact. 

My now husband, Pastor James, took me in and rescued me from a rapist. He did not realize that was what he was doing at the time. He only knew I was afraid and needed a place to go, and for whatever reason my own family was not safe. Because of his ever growing love for me and the fact he was on his own at the time, he did not hesitate to keep me. He did not care what it looked like to the church. He did not give any explanation for his actions, he just acted.
Of course because of the wagging tongues of everyone who spewed lies (before we became an actual couple)... being together surely must have proven their lies to be true. (sarcasm)

I know the damage done by the choices my husband and I made back then. I know the struggles of the children and heartache of my husband. Yes, I am even painfully aware of the pain we caused the first wife. She did not deserve the hurt she endured on our account. Outside of that I did not, nor have I ever felt guilt for my relationship with my husband in the beginning of us. I remember waiting for the guilt to set in but, it never did. I was in love and falling even more hopelessly, deeper in it with him everyday. I am not in denial of all the wrongs we did. I am a woman who made a choice with a man she loved and together we chose us over everyone else.  Of course on the outside looking in, people did not understand nor care about our side of the story. They rather enjoyed talking about and fanning the flames surrounding this scandal.
I know every single accusation thrown at James and myself by church people.
"You make me sick!" "You're a false prophet" "You're just his little church whore, he will leave you once he gets bored of you." "I hope you rot in hell for the betrayal you've done here" "God can't protect liars and adulterers" "Hypocrite" "Naive stupid girl" "He's nothing but a N*****!"

These were words from church people, God's people, leaders of His flock. People who did not ask any questions, but only hurled accusations from rumors they'd heard or made up. I was not welcome in town or near my parents home where my Nanny was dying of cancer.  I barely made it to her funeral and it was made clear to me that I was only welcome to come if I was alone. My family turned on me, they had no ability to speak to me in person but, they did send plenty of emails, texts, tweets, Facebook messages and phone calls letting me know I was a failure. There was no love or forgiveness anywhere. My "church" people and blood relatives had cast us out. These people watched me grow up. Yet, none of them ever asked me about it. They just pointed fingers. One person even compared beating cancer as less painful than the horrendous betrayal they now faced. (This person did not even attend my husband's church.)

When we moved from that small town just over three years ago it was a non - "church" person who came out and helped us. So many of our true friends have stayed in touch with us since leaving. Others STILL talk about the "scandal" between that pastor and that little home schooled girl.

Those who took sides and decided the first wife was an innocent victim in everything, did nothing but talk about it. No one took care of her or her children. Things like  "My heart aches for her and her children" "I can't imagine what she is going through" "She deserves better than what that low life gave her" were said.
These words and more were shared all over social media. Good for them for saying the right things. Shame on them that it was the extent of the "Churches" actions to help her in her dark hour. She was on her own with what ever income she could make and the child support she received long before the divorce papers were even filed. I bet few if any of those people are still in touch with the first wife and her family but, truthfully it does not matter.

Where are they now?
Where are those people who had so much to say but little to do. Their lives moved on, their opinions (no matter how UN-factually based) shared and none of them are a better person for it.
Some took the time to make troll/fake twitter and Facebook accounts just to harass and spy on the accused. I was deeply hurt realizing how few people (none actually) believed in me enough to reach out once again in my life. They pretended to have pity for me but, I'll be damned if they really cared about me getting hurt. I don't really care where any of them are. None of them are or deserve to be in my life today and for that, I am grateful.

In those early days and months (and even still) it was/is James and I against the world.
We gave up everything for each other. Well, he gave up everything, truth be told I didn't have anything to lose.  He stood with me at his side and faced all the ugly accusations and attacks, never refuting or arguing with anyone about any of it. He stepped down as pastor of his church and took me away with him. We spent several weeks packing up almost 20 years of his life before me. We shared some of our most beautiful, painful and bittersweet moments during that time. I stepped into a roll as his partner and caretaker. He was hurting and had much to work through but, I was there to take care of him, give him space, be his sounding board and soft place to fall. I put aside the hell I had just escaped from. I ignored the calls, texts and attempts by my family to harass me. My whole focus was on my love and helping him in his dark hour after he rescued me from mine.
We did not step into our relationship in a Godly way, a church preferred way or, even an ideal way. We were two broken people in the middle of storms in our lives and chose each other over it all.
We were selfish and owned it. We made a choice and we are still together and have a family of our own.

For all the trials we have faced and endured together, I would not have it any other way.
I stood by his side while he went through the long process of separation and divorce. I waded through the complications of it all, finding my place in this new chapter of our life together and it was all worth it. In turn he white knuckle gripped through the lies, fear and ugliest parts of my recovery as a new survivor.  It was all so much harder than it ever had to be, but that is a whole other blog post.
I went from a single young woman to a relationship and marriage with four step children who may never love me, or even like me. I came into my marriage knowing that I will never have the option to be a mother to more than one child of my own. I chose that. 
My now husband went from one broken-to-failed marriage into a relationship-and-marriage with a broken survivor or rape and incest. The odds were and are still stacked against us.
The truth is, in today's world especially, the odds are stacked against us all. This difference is, we chose each other and in the end (though it is not advised to do so in this order) God.

Yes, at moments I wondered if we would ever get married. There were even some moments I thought we might not make it to the next. While pregnant with my son there were some harsh realities faced about life without anyone but each other. No mother to call for advice, no church to ask to pray for us. No, they were (and are) all still busy being hurt over choices that had nothing to with them.

In spite of it all, here I am today, happily married to my best friend and looking forward to a hard and beautiful future together.
I have my one brilliant son and I am thankful. I have my four amazing step-kids and I pray for them and their mother daily. 

To those who spoke against us then and still today, I forgive you.
I ask forgiveness from only those who matter and the rest I give to God. Ours is story of emerging from deep dark brokenness to a strong force that found their way and to God, be the glory. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Superbowl Human Trafficking Myth?

  The impending game day is nigh.  I for one do not watch much sports but, I always enjoy the Super Bowl. This year my enjoyment will be tainted with the knowing that this event is drawing many pimps and prostitutes and worst of all sex trafficking victims to "service" the public. 
 According to it's all a myth. Sadly, they are not totally wrong.  While Snopes totally ignores the sex trafficking  industry in their article to allegedly expose this "myth," their facts are correct. As you read the article, Snopes writes of several Superbowl events in which authorities did not find an abnormal amount of prostitutes to arrest at the event. It also acknowledges that the number of  prostitutes that were arrested were not new or out of town prostitutes.

Dear public, let's not kid ourselves and pretend that the majority of these victims are made victims by this event... many of them have been in the sex trafficking ring for a while. 
Let's also not pretend like Super Bowl day is the only day we have to make an impact on this rising issue. Even now deals are being made for prostitutes and sex traffic slaves to service 25-50 different clients on the day of the Super Bowl.
These "professional rapes", as I call them, will not be taking place at the MetLife stadium. That would be asking to get caught for a pimp or prostitute. No, instead hotel rooms have already been booked. If you're going to look for trafficking victims at the actual Super Bowl you may not find many. This is not a pimp's first rodeo and and they won't be that "out in the open" with their "property."
 Excuse the casualness of my speech about this matter but, I must remove my emotions to keep this post accurate and effective.
This is a hard subject to not get emotional about. If we want to effectively stop the sex trafficking that is already taking place around the Super Bowl event, we must think like businessmen and women. That is what pimps and ring leaders of the sex trafficking industry are doing. They are not sending their victims to street corners to be picked up. No, arrangements are made in advance... someone who knows someone has a number a potential client can call for "services." Professional rape sessions have already been booked and the victims body's are being prepped as we speak to please the clientele. That's right, these victims are being being plucked, waxed, dyed and sprayed for this very event.
In this way Snopes is correct. Sex trafficking at the actual Superbowl event and location is a myth.
However, what is NOT a myth, is the Super Bowl does help pimps by bringing in a high volume of potential customers. Therefore it stands to reason that the supply of sex slaves needs to meet the demands of these traveling johns.  Again, hotels rooms have already been booked and so have services for clients. It's not just in New York and New Jersey. It's been happening all across the nation as well.
You won't see children on the streets, they will be behind closed doors. You wont see alley ways filled with prostitutes giving head to their drunken client. This kind of thinking about the sex trafficking industry is weak at best. It's worse than this kind of scene.  Way worse.

According to the Huffington post the Attorney General believes the Superbowl is the single largest event for human trafficking. He's not wrong but here's an even bigger headline. EVERYDAY IS THE LARGEST HUMAN TRAFFICKING EVENT! Let's not lose site of that as we band together to battle this monstrosity. Wherever you plan to spend game day or any day, learn the signs of human trafficking.  According to  some signs of potential human traffic victims are as follows :

-Is not free to leave or come and go as he/she wishes

-Is fearful, anxious, depressed, submissive, tense, or nervous/paranoid

- Avoids eye contact

- Appears malnourished

- Shows signs of physical and/or sexual abuse, physical restraint, confinement, or torture

- Claims of just visiting and inability to clarify where he/she is staying/address

- Lack of knowledge of whereabouts and/or do not know what city he/she is in

 These are just a few. If you suspect sex trafficking is happening I urge you to use the following resources: The National Human Trafficking Resource Center anytime 24/7: 1-888-3737-888​​ or to text to "BeFree" or 233733​​. 
(Provided by this The Huffington Post article)


Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Not So Sexy Truth.

Rape is a prevalent issue in society today.  Attackers have gotten more brazen with their crimes and unfortunately the justice here in America and just about everywhere else has not.
 In many countries reporting rape is literally to face death. If you report rape and it can be proven that you were, it does not protect you from adultery charges. In countries like Afghanistan such charges are punishable by death.
In my own case, I never had to worry about death when I reported. At least not by law. I feared my rapist might try to come after if I ever reported. I feared being stalked and attacked. My husband was very reassuring he would always protect me. My son was still growing in my tummy at the time when I finally reported. I thought about him long and hard. What kind of life would he face? How would he feel about a mother who never reported a rapist? Maybe he would still love me, likely he would, but how much more proud would he be of me knowing I faced my fears and reported? When I reported my rapist the D.A. never took my case. I was never even contacted directly by the D.A.'s office. The detective on my case finally told me nothing was going to be done. My rapist got away with it and it was not for lack of trying on my part or my detectives part. It was very disheartening. Before I reported I thought I had so much to fear about this very result. After reporting and NOTHING coming of my case (likely due to lack of physical evidence since I did not report for over a year after escaping my rapist) I wasn't near as destroyed as I thought I would be. I was proud of myself. I was upset too but, now it is on record, my side of the story. If anyone else EVER comes forward my story will help them find justice.  My fears about reporting were valid and many survivors know what I am talking about. In America rapists get away with it too often, or their sentences are never enough. The threat we face socially by reporting are not near as life threatening as our minds try to tell us.
However in other countries like Bangladesh for example, they give women who report being raped a "two-finger test"   According to The 2010 HRW Report entitled “Dignity on Trial”,  the two-fingered test is  descried as the following..."The finger test is supposed to assess whether girls and women are 'virgins' or 'habituated to sexual intercourse'." Can you imagine the humiliation?

In Cambodia if you're going to rape just make sure you have your checkbook if you get caught. Cambodia Amnesty International  did a report Breaking the Silence – Sexual Violence in Cambodia   released in 2010, which examined the situation of sexual violence in Cambodia. The report found that, in the small minority of rapes which are reported, a very common response is for law-enforcement officials, including police and court staff, to arrange extralegal out-of-court 'agreements' between the victim and the perpetrator (or their families), in which the rapist pays a sum of money which is shared between the authorities and the victim (and her family), after which the victim has to withdraw any criminal complaint against the perpetrator, and public prosecutors close the case.

In China, men rape out of boredom and over 70% of them do not suffer any legal repercussions for it.
The United Nations Multi-country Study on Men and Violence

In Denmark just pray you didn't marry a rapist. According to a study by Denmark Amnesty International.  "the definition of rape is very narrow and abusive sexual intercourse that falls outside the boundaries of rape is dealt under several other statutes which explicitly state that the person commits a crime if he engages in "extra-marital sexual intercourse" with the victim, therefore excluding married victims."

Egypt is another place you better hope you do not marry a rapist. While rape is illegal, marital rape is not a crime.  Egypt Center for Women's Rights and others suggestion the number of rape cases is over 200,000 each year.

 In Ethiopia if you are married, it's likely you're married to a rapist. Ethiopia is the home of marriage by abduction. Men kidnap girls as young as 11 years old, hide them and rape them until they become pregnant. Meet Melu Mika her story is all too common in her country. At 13years old (in 2007) she had already been forced into marriage twice.

In India rape is the most common crime against women. It is estimated a new rape case is filed every 20-22 minutes there. How many more cases are going UN-reported? According to the Criminal Law Amendment Act 2013  Penile and non-penile penetration in bodily orifices of a woman by a man, without the consent of the woman, constitutes the offense of rape. Before 2013 rape cases had doubled between 1990 and 2008.

 In Mexico before the millennium, rape penalties were reduced if (in the eyes of law) the victim "provoked" their attacker. Laws have since changed but, it's been a slow process. Mexico is still heavily plagued with rape cases within the catholic church organization and gang rapes.

In Nigeria, marital rape is NOT illegal.

Pakistan is NO place for women especially if they are alone. In 2013 the Council of Islamic Ideology   dismissed DNA evidence submitted in rape cases and without witnesses it was not rape.

The United Nations Multi-country Study on Men and Violence in Papua New Guinea did a study and found 71% of the men participants reported raping because they felt a sense of sexual entitlement.

South Africa holds the highest incidences of child and infant rape in the world. Authorities believe the amount of unreported child and infant rapes is ten times higher than the 67,000  reported cases in 2000 alone. IRIN The humanitarian news organization says an estimated 500,000 rapes are committed annually in South Africa.

Sweden holds the highest number of reported incidence in all of Europe.

Tanzania rape statistics look much like those here in the U.S. 92% of perpetrators in reported cases knew the victim.

Turkey is full of victim shaming mentality. It is a commonly shared view that the way a woman dresses temps men to rape her.

In the United Kingdom rape is not seen as a gender neutral crime. It is a man committing an act of sexual violence against another human being. In other words women are incapable of rape.
According to a study done by a British Crime Survey in 2006-07 only 1 in every 100 reported rape cases led to a conviction.

Finally here at home in the United States where there is a rape allegation in the news almost daily no matter where in the country you live. Here are the stats form the U.S. Bureau of Justice :
  • From 1995 to 2010, the estimated annual rate of female rape or sexual assault victimizations declined 58%, from 5.0 victimizations per 1,000 females age 12 or older to 2.1 per 1,000.
  • In 2005-10, females who were age 34 or younger, who lived in lower income households, and who lived in rural areas experienced some of the highest rates of sexual violence.
  • In 2005-10, the offender was armed with a gun, knife, or other weapon in 11% of rape or sexual assault victimizations.
  • In 2005-10, 78% of sexual violence involved an offender who was a family member, intimate partner, friend, or acquaintance
 Also see stats from RAINN.ORG

I write all of these facts because it is important for us to see rape is worldwide and very much alive.
It is not hiding in dark corners of the world, it's happening in parks in broad daylight. It's happening in your backyard and even in some of your homes.  It's happening to those you love. For some it's happened to YOU. I understand why rape goes so under reported. I applaud those who do report and support those who can't bring themselves to do so.

I know this is the not the "sexy" or appealing thing to say but, this is my blog so I'm saying it.
It is my opinion, that until we become a society that would rather side with the alleged victim who "cried wolf", instead of being wrong about a rapist, we will not see rape rates lowered a great deal. Rape culture will prevail until this happens.

Rape is NOT gender neutral, it is not something that happens only to the poor or poorly dressed.
Rapist are NOT hiding in the dark, they are hiding out in the open. Rapists are in our justice systems protecting each other. Rape is not a 3rd world country problem it's a human race problem.

This is the truth.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

We matter.

I started this blog over a year ago as a place to work out my recovery from my lifetime for abuse and incest. I have gone from promising myself I would take my deep dark secrets to my grave, to sharing my truths with the world.
I was abused by my father on nearly every level throughout my life. I was instrumentally raped by a half brother at a very young age for several years. As an adult I was a rape victim by more than one attacker. I was also once again an incest rape victim, but this time by my father's first cousin for over a year.

My life has been complicated and messy for most of my existence.
When my mother was given the truth time and again her response each time was to blame me.
My mother believed I was an over sexed child and she was in denial about how or why. She never called me over sexed but, it is the term she meant when she called me flirtatious and sinful.

I believed everything that had happened to me growing up was my fault. I believed my mother, that I was a bad child, an over sexed child. I believed I was at fault for being molested, raped, verbally and physically abused throughout my life. I believed I brought shame on my family when I talked about it and it was also my fault. I did not believe I had any value or rights to my own life.
My body was at the mercy of whomever was strong enough to bully it. My mind was under the control of whomever frightened me enough to over power me. I have lived a pathetic existence.
My family has all but disowned me and made sure to let me know my separation from them was on me. I have been told that I need to move on and stop talking about the past.
I need to stop punishing my parents for what others did to me.(Because, yeah, they had no part in abusing me.... oh wait, that's right... they DID.) I am being selfish by telling the world about what happened instead of my family. (Who wouldn't listen to what I had to say anyway.)
My family could accuse me of  being selfish, manipulative, over sexed, shameful etc and get away with it, only IF I didn't matter. They could use me as the scapegoat who doesn't matter. They could throw all of their denial soaked lies about me to the world but, the problem with that is... I do in fact matter.
I would have no right to tell my story, if I did not matter.
I would have no right to hug, listen to and shed tears with other survivors if only... I did not matter.
I would be shaming my family if it were not for the one simple fact.... I DO MATTER.
My story matters, the truth about my life matters.

I have started the journey of recovery in large part because of my husband and son. My marriage matters. My son matters and I want to be a better me, for them.
One of the biggest steps that I have had to repeat time and again is learning that I have value and I matter too.
 I know my family will be back with more accusations against me for speaking out about my life and truth, because in their eyes I don't matter. It would be easier for them if I was gone. It has been easier for them to not have me around back home.

I matter and my dear fellow survivors, you matter too.
Tell your story, let go of your secrets, embrace recovery and a new, better you.