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A 5-day, 4-night clinically directed, holistic retreat. The Time To Heal Retreat offers survivors a safe, accepting environment and sensitive, well-informed professionals to work with. Survivors attend the retreat for free. A gift of healing made possible thanks to your generous donations and the funds we raise through the sale of our flowers and artisan gifts.
"I would never have guessed something like that happened to you."
Since disclosing my abuse and openly sharing it over the last two years, I've experienced varied responses from friends and family members. Perhaps the one that stuck with me the most is. "I would never have guessed something like that happened to you. Then, "No, I would have known it can't be true!" And, "Why didn't you tell me?"
I questioned, "What does a Survivor look like?" And, Why didn't someone notice the signs in me? Truthfully there are telling signs, perhaps more noticeable the younger the abuse starts or as we enter into our teenage years. So why are they so often missed? Why didn't my parents and those closest to me notice?
And then I realized, all my life, like so many other Survivors, I've just smiled through it all. Put on a brave face. Buried the trauma so deep, it was almost as if it never happened - almost. I had no idea what happened should never have happened. The abuse came with love and a twisted form of trust, this bread SILENCE.
I got very good at pretending. I got good at keeping secrets.
And as the years passed and I moved forward in life, the story I told, the person I shared with the world, well, she looked "normal"; she's married, runs her own successful business, has kids and volunteers her time. She's outgoing and confident. She doesn't appear to have any "serious" struggles with no identifiable addictions.
How can she be a survivor? She must be - healed and whole.
If only they knew.
Survivors come from all walks of life, living in plain sight, silently carrying their secret and smiling through it. And you very likely have no idea.
With numbers like 1 in 4, we are everywhere. In your classroom, your peer group, your office - smiling through it; until one day, someone notices us. Someone sees through the smile. Someone says, MeToo.
Then everything changes; only then do we finally begin to heal.