Still Feeling – Miryam’s Story

At a certain point in my life I realized that I was living in “the upside-down.” It was when I started to work out my past, that I developed this concept. Only recently I came up with the name, thanks to the Netflix series, Stranger Things. Early in my childhood, I was abused. I can rattle my brain for a while to try and remember a life before it started, but it’s no use, sexual trauma is my first memory. Similar to a Vietnam vet, …

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A Childhood Fractured – Allen and Derek’s Stories

Darkness to Light shares survivor stories in the hopes of highlighting the ways that survivors are healing from their abuse and helping others. Derek Hopkins and Allen Vandever are both Chicago area artists who interpret their worlds through their work. In the case of these friends and collaborators, that includes a shared history of child sexual abuse. The two have undertaken their project, “A Childhood Fractured,” with the hope of bringing attention to child sexual abuse. The project consists of a series of paintings by …

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Believing that Prevention is Possible – Souraya’s Story

As a survivor of child sexual abuse, I’m writing to you with a story of hope. Although I experienced the trauma of abuse as a child, I have seen the power to protect children when adults are trained in child sexual abuse prevention. My abuse first started when I was 5 years old by a cousin who often visited. I was afraid of her and so I would do what she told me to. Then, at 7 years old, my mother’s live-in boyfriend started sneaking …

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Finding Beauty in the Broken – Clarissa’s Story

Darkness to Light shares survivor stories in the hopes of highlighting the ways that survivors are healing from their abuse and helping others. Clarissa Carpenter helps survivors of child sexual abuse through her work with The Younique Foundation, an organization that provides retreats for women where they learn skills that can help them find individual healing. She’s also a survivor of child sexual abuse herself, which gives her the valuable ability to empathize with the women she helps. During retreats, Clarissa leads art therapy groups using …

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Summoning Courage: Kandra Albury’s Story

As a survivor of child sexual abuse, Kandra Albury found the courage within herself to speak out against the abuse and ultimately encourage children to do the same. Recently Darkness to Light had the opportunity to speak with Kandra and learn more about her “courageous” endeavors. D2L: Why did you get involved in child sexual abuse prevention? Kandra: I was sexually abused between the ages of five and seven by people close to my family. I was a mute as a child; I was afraid …

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Personal Healing as a Public Project: Ignacio Rivera’s Story

As child sexual abuse survivors begin to stand up and speak out about their own experiences, they are filling the world with their perspectives. One of those survivors, Ignacio Rivera, hopes to not only share a personal experience with abuse, but amplify the voices of others. Through The HEAL Project, Rivera is giving survivors a platform and encouraging healing. The HEAL Project aims to prevent and end CSA by making visible the hidden tools used to guilt, shame, coerce and inflict violence onto children. The …

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The Demographic Both Party Platforms Missed: Child Sex Abuse Victims

This piece first appeared here and is reprinted with permission.  The wild ride of this year’s presidential election has left many looking for landmarks that will guide their choice for the next president. One place to figure out who stands for what lies in the 2016 Republican and Democratic Platforms. So I decided to explore how each party deals with children. It would not have been irrational to assume that this would be the year when the epidemic of child sex abuse might find its way …

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Healing Through Art: Jenna Rose Simon’s Story

Jenna Rose Simon had been drawing for years before one of her pieces went viral on social media. Ever since, she has been sharing her gift with the world via her online platforms. Her art, which began as a way to find her voice as a survivor of abuse, subsequently gave a voice to other survivors. She recognizes that her art can be triggering, both for herself and viewers. Please be aware that some of her art accompanies this article and deals with the issue …

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Holding a “Breaking the Silence” Screening – Thoughts From a Facilitator

“It was the easiest thing to do. It’s a natural way to introduce not only the issue of child sexual abuse to the community, but Stewards of Children® and Darkness to Light too.” Tracy Leonard, SCAN of Northern Virginia Tracy Leonard of SCAN shared with Darkness to Light about the successful screenings of Breaking the Silence that she conducted last month in the cities of Ashburn and Alexandria, Virginia. She felt that the events worked well because they were an excellent way to promote prevention …

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Active Bystanding In Families

There comes a time in your growth when you start making choices from a very different place. And if a choice lines up so that it supports truth, health, happiness, wisdom and love, it’s the right choice. Angeles Arrien, Cultural Anthropologist Over the past couple of weeks we’ve been discussing Active Bystanding, and we’ve framed it as two types of bystander action – bystander prevention and bystander intervention. Bystander prevention is getting way out ahead of a boundary violation by talking with kids about their …

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