I am so sorry for what you went through. But you did an amazing thing when you supported the legislation that will help other abuse survivors to hold their abusers accountable. Good for you! You are amazing! God Bless!
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It’s hard to know where to end my story…
Flash forward... I meet, then marry my high school sweetheart when I am 19. When I am 21, I give birth to our first daughter. Four years later, our second. When my oldest daughter turns five, I began having difficulties. Episodes of disassociation and panic attacks send me into counseling. I begin with group sessions and then move into individual counseling. I speak to my therapist in one particular session about seeing my father in a store and having to run to the bathroom to vomit. She asks me why I still associate with him. My response is that it's just something I have to do. It's then that the sweetest words ever are spoken. "You know that you're an adult now? You know you have a choice?" A few sessions later, I write my father a letter and ask him to stay away from me and my family. That was 17 years ago now.
Four years ago, I did some research on the internet regarding child abduction laws and I stumbled across a piece of legislation that was set to go before the California Senate that year. This piece of legislation was to change the incest exception law. Was to ensure that predators who “grow their own victims” receive the same punishments given to all molesters. It had gone before the Senate the year before and failed because the California legislators refused to believe that this sort of thing happened. I contacted the Senator who wrote the bill and offered my support. The next thing I knew, I was sitting at the Capitol speaking in front of a Senate Committee. Sharing my story. It waffled back and forth, but SB 33, The Circle of Trust Bill, passed. Three years ago, I was back in Sacramento again testifying. This time on behalf of legislation that would stop criminals convicted of a sexual crime from ever obtaining custody of their victim or any other child ever again. This piece of legislation passed as well.
I’m certainly not healed completely. My story doesn’t end here. I had limited contact with my mother for years but have since discontinued the contact because it became to harmful to me. I don’t know that I’ll ever forget her asking me, “When are you just going to get over it?” I’m twice divorced. Searching for my happiness still but I’ve raised two gorgeous, brilliant daughters who have never been abused. That is what I am most proud of. I am also proud that I was able to change the laws to hopefully help the children we all know are still out there – suffering. Perhaps eventually, I’ll be able to write more of my story. This time? With a happy ending.
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Thank you for visiting Violence UnSilenced, a speak-out platform for survivors of domestic abuse, sexual assault, and sexual abuse. If you are a survivor and it is safe to do so, we encourage you to share your story here. If you are not a survivor but you want to support those who are, please click around this site and find out more about what you can do.
Wow, I can't believe how brave you are to take steps to help others. I hope you find your happy ending soon.
Thank you so much for sharing your story, Eileen. You are brave, courageous and a wonderful source of inspiration.
Whenever I feel like I can't take it anymore, like I can't go on, I'm going to remember you, Eileen. I'm going to remember your story, and you will always be a source of strength and inspiration for me, every single day.
You are amazing!
I relate very well to this well-written and emotional piece. Thank you for letting the circle end with you. It may take you time to get healed, but at least you didn't carry it on. For some of us that have been abused, the cycle had taken years to manifest. It takes some of us with more courage to end it and begin to heal.
Thank you for being the change. For sharing. For helping to create two women who haven't been touched by abuse.
I just want to hug you. Reading your story, and all of the other stories here, I feel like I've found a family.
your sister in survivorship,
Thank you so much for sharing your story. But most of all, thank you for taking the pain and the hurt and changing not only your own story, but for those who have no one to stand up for them. Thank you.
That was the most difficult thing I've ever read. You're better than your abusers; you're better because you are stronger than them.
To go through all this and become a voice for those that don't have one is truly amazing. I wish you healing and peace on your journey.
How did you ever find the courage to be normal?
Thank you thank you thank you thank you. It was worse for you than it was for me. Thank you.
You're not responsible for what others did to you. You are responsible for the wonderful things you've done, and continue to do, to help other victims of sexual violence. You're strong, You're Courageous, You're Beautiful. Congratulations on being you.
Thank you for having the courage to not only survive, share your story and raise two happy, healthy children but to also help ensure that other people won't fall victim to the same abuses you suffered. Amazing.
It never ceases to amaze me when I hear of parents failing their children. Which is only more amazing since my own parents certainly failed me.
Thank you for having the courage to write this and to help change the law.
Your story is heartbreaking and I hope your healing contiues. Thank you for sharing and for being an advocate for those who cannot speak for themselves.
You are amazing.
I know how much it hurt to cut yourself off from your mom, even though you had to do it. We so need our moms to comfort the devastated child that we are. It is another form of violation when they don't. When I posted my survivor's story on my blog without naming names, members of my family found out and raked me over the coals for exposing my family to the world that way. They believed I shouldn't have spoken publicly of such a private matter, or they suffered misery not knowing who the perp was. The woman who was like a mother to me was the worst offender. Not one person from my family of origin said "I'm sorry you suffered that." My therapist said denial runs rampant through families of sexual abuse.
I'm proud of you. I'm so sorry you experienced such pain. I'm thankful you have spoken out at the level of lawmakers. Wishing you well in your recovery...
You are so incredibly goddamned brave. I am sorry for all you went through, and I realize that sounds lame and not quite enough. But I could not read your story and not say something. There isn't enough justice in the world for your molesters, and for your mother for allowing it to happen. My oldest sister was knocked across the room by my birthmother for telling about her stepfather's sexual abuse. I don't understand abusers, but I understand the parents who allow it even less.
Thank you for sharing your story.
Thank you for sharing your story. Your writing is very profound, and although I am a complete stranger, I want you to know that I am so proud of your work for victims, and for staying "afloat". You are an amazing person. I am still shocked how many sick people there are in this world. Good luck in your recovery.
I am so very very humbled by, and proud of your strength. Blessings to you for protecting and helping other children through sharing your story. I wish you happiness. ((HUGS)) Thank you, for sharing your life, for helping others...
Thank you for sharing your story. Your courage is inspiring. Thank you for fighting for those who can't fight for themselves.
You spoke out in legislation. I'm so proud of you -- for helping the children of the present and future.
I don't know what to say....because words seem so inadequate. But thank you for sharing your story and for testifying for laws to help others in ways you should have been helped. Wish you a smooth journey and many precious memories with your beautiful daughters.
Thank you for sharing your story. I'm sure this wasn't easy. It's amazing to see how you've survived and made a change. Most people become bitter after suffering for as many years as you did. You are living proof that goodness can prevail.
Thank you for sharing your story. You are so courageous for all that you have done to help others. Some parts of your story resonated very strongly with me. Thank you.
Your activism is so inspiring. Keep on the hard work both out in the world and in your own psyche. Thank you for sharing.
Words simply fail me. You are amazingly brave and I am so glad that you shared your story, not only here, but in front of the Senate to help change what it so incredibly wrong with our system. Your courage means that we can hope to hear less and less of these stories. No one should have to suffer in the way that you have suffered, and for that I am so sorry. Be proud of yourself for what you have accomplished and the hope you have helped grant to others. Many well wishes for your continued healing.
Eileen, I am so sorry for what you endured. Thank you for speaking out, and especially, working to change the laws.
It took a tremendous amount of courage to stand up and help get that law passed, and I really admire that you have been able to create for your daughters the safe and loving environment that you were denied. Thank you for sharing your story.
Eileen, out of all the stories I've read here, yours has affected me the most. I can't even fathom the amount of sheer evil that you've been subjected to. Yet you shine. You're the bravest. You're the hero. You amaze me.
Someone used the word "hero" above me here. I don't think that's overstating it in even a small way. Heroes overcome, they endure, they live to carry the fight into the dark places. So many people have lived through what you did and can't even bear to speak the words to someone they know and trust. You've done all that and more. Even though I'm sure it's cost you terribly.
And perhaps because you've made that sacrifice -- laid your deepest pain on the altar of the greater good -- the children of California will be safer. they will be free to grow up without the fear that plagued your childhood, and perhaps still plagues you today.
Courage, someone once said, is not the absence of fear. Courage is the measure to which one lays aside the fear to accomplish the greater goal.
We are fortunate to have you here. To have your voice added to the chorus.
I'm crying , not for you, but with you.
Your story is similar to mine, except I have never told anyone.
I've been writing a book about it to clear it from my memory.
But some parts I have left out because I just can't say them to myself.
I will probably never try to publish the book, but I want to.
I want someone else to learn from me that things can be different.
I'm just not ready yet.
I hope I will be someday.
Your courage and resolve to protect others from your fate is amazing. Thank you for sharing your story here and for reliving it in your efforts to change laws.
Thank you for speaking out and getting legislation passed that protects other survivors. You are an amazing woman and you should be very proud of yourself!
It shouln't have happened. This stuff should not happen and it's not OK. The fact that you do things to help and protect other young people is v. commendable. You sound like a bright intelligent woman. You had courage back then to make the phone call. Can you imagine all the young people who don't feel brave or don't know where to turn? I commend you for protecting them, and giving them opportunities to be brave. Our children are our most precious resource and God bless you for looking out for them. The soul is like a candle. It may wither a little, but it is always there. Even a little fire can bring it back to a mighty flame.
This story has a beautiful ending, Eileen. You saved others from being abused and you protected your daughters. You're the hero.
Thank you so much for sharing this with us.
It is because of women like you...so brave...so strong that we survivors can survive! You shared your story and made a difference. You spoke new legislation into existence. You sacrificed anonymity to make sure that nobody gets away with it.
Much love and bunches of hugs!
The horror of the story that you so bravely shared is matched by the courage of sharing it here. It is overwhelmed by the courage and selflessness of sharing it publicly in the state legislature for the benefit of others. That was an act of love that defies description. Thank you. My prayers are for your continued healing.
Oh dear, what you endured! You must have felt so alone. But what courageous steps you've taken over and over - calling CPS, creating a safe home for our daughters, protecting the children you'll never know. My hat is off to you.
Eileen, you're amazing. I think that you've already rewritten your story, triumphantly, and now all that's left is the happy ending. Here's hoping it comes soon, you deserve it.
Tears. They're in my eyes and my heart that this happens, that anyone has to go through what you have. And THANK YOU for being brave enough to go in front of those who make the decisions that affect so very many people. You are so incredibly brave.
Thank you, THANK YOU for standing up and speaking out for those who can't. You have done the impossible - taken something so heinous and unbelievably awful and transformed your experience into something positive. You're my new heroine.
You are...incredible. Admirable.
I hate how the word "hero" gets tossed around today. It should be reserved for people like you.
Wow, that sounds corny once it's typed, but I really mean it. You not only endured and stood up for yourself, but helped who knows how many other kids.
Best wishes to you and your daughters. I have two little girls, too, and like you I'm determined to keep them safe.
I cannot even imagine the courage it must have taken to not only escape your situation, but then to speak PUBLICLY about it in front of a courtroom years later. That is, without a doubt, one of the bravest things I have ever heard of. Thank you so much for sharing your story, and for standing up to change the laws that will hopefully protect other children. I also can't imagine how you can even begin to heal wounds that deep, but I wish you the best of luck, love, and happiness. Everyone deserves to be healthy and whole. :)