I was his daughter, he was my abuser.

As an adult, while sitting on the couch in my therapist’s office holding a picture of myself as a child, I remembered the night that picture was taken. I was innocent, but the night was not, his actions were certainly not. I turned the picture over and saw the date stamped on the back “1985.” I was 4.

It was in that moment that I freed myself of the guilt, the pain, the agony of calling myself a victim. I was a mere child when the only man in my life, who should have forever protected me, stole from me. He stole my innocence, my childhood, and in turn, much of my adolescence. I had spent the last 20+ years in silence, afraid to speak my truth, afraid to admit to myself and especially to others, the real reason why my adult life had been riddled with pain, drugs, alcohol, bad decisions, bad choices in men, anger, rage, and guilt.

Children don’t fight back, because they can’t. We are taught to trust those we love, and those that love us. I realized the abuse was not my fault, and I no longer allowed it to be my burden to bear. I had given him too much of my life already. I began to give that little girl permission to LET GO and begin to HEAL. I began to take my life back. From that moment on, I no longer saw myself as a victim, but as a SURVIVOR. I have found my voice and no longer allow the unwanted actions of my father dictate who I am, who I become, and who hears me roar. This November I will celebrate 12 years drug free, I am the mother to a beautiful boy, and I live everyday with pride. I am proof that on the other side of hell, there is light.

-Sasha, Survivor

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