When I first heard of The Haven Retreat I couldn’t believe there was a place for “us,” a place where survivors of child sexual abuse could find a community and be heard. The Sunday before my flight I was beyond a wreck, all my triggers were triggered. How could I leave the safety net I had created and what if I wasn’t liked? Thankfully I had a friend of a friend who messaged me and assured me that we all feel that way and that it would be okay!

Retreat day was here, and I had heard how I would make lasting friendships and it would be wonderful. Monday didn’t feel wonderful, it felt overwhelming and oh so lonely. I watched as the younger ladies laughed and opened up immediately. I went to bed with tears wishing I was back home with my animals and the safety.

When I woke up Tuesday I told myself that I came to retreat for healing for ME and I needed to focus on that healing journey and let what happens happen. During the off-site group therapy I was honest about how lonely I was and shared my story of abuse. At lunch one of my sisters said, “I think I talked too much” and I put my head on her shoulder and assured her she didn’t. Opening up created a bond with these ladies that will forever be a part of my life.

I learned a lot about myself and why I put everyone else before myself. Baby steps to finding my worthiness. I am forever changed by the generosity of the ladies who loved on us for those 4 days and all the information that was given. Thank you so much!

-Yulonda, Survivor

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