When I was first touched inappropriately I was just 8 or 9 years old. At first, my abuser was really nice to me, complimenting me and saying I was the favorite and how beautiful I was. The sexual abuse lasted about 3 years and happened when we would be at family gatherings. During this time, I couldn’t tell anyone about my life. I couldn’t talk to my mother about how I felt or what was happening. I did not have a good connection with my family members when it came to talking about my personal life. When something upset me, I just never said anything. I argued frequently with my mom and was having difficulty in school. After I disclosed the abuse to my school counselor I was referred to Dawson Place. I was pretty nervous and didn’t know how my mom was going to react. 

Dawson Place helped me. I was able to share what happened. It was a nice environment to be around and the staff were nice to me. Since this experience, I am more cautious about being near other people and have a better idea of when people cross my boundaries or try to manipulate me.

About a year and a half after I disclosed my abuse, my cousin told me she had been abused as well. My cousin came to me because she knew I had already been through the whole process of disclosing the abuse. I knew to tell my counselor immediately and get her help through Dawson Place. I’m glad she came to me and was able to tell me.

Now, I have a really good connection with my family. I know I can count on them with anything. I’m doing great in school and am helping to lead the younger grades with online schooling. It is never a kid’s fault and you should tell someone immediately. There are people who will believe you and help you through it. You are not the only one going through it. You are not alone.