Survivor Stories

Survivor Stories are poems, letters and essays written by local survivors of domestic violence and sexual abuse. If you have had an experience with harassment, rape, domestic violence, sexual assault or childhood abuse and wish to share your story, click here.
The stories of survivors, expressions of anger and – especially – of hope will be posted below. As always, no names or e-mail addresses will be used. (We have seen that when we speak out, we send strength and hope to thousands of women. Please share YOUR story.)



I am living in fear and SO SCARED!!!

I have one question for anyone reading this?  Is anyone really listening, and does anyone really care about those of us, like myself, who have been abused??? Because it seems like no one cares…

Do I matter?  Our system makes me feel like I don’t matter…

Do you have any idea what it is like living in pain and in fear after I was sliced open by my former husband…and he was not arrested!!!

It always seems like these abusive men get off for the sole reason that they can, because no one cares that abuse of women is occurring.  I am in hiding, because I fear what he will do to me, and fear that I will be dead… Will someone care then, if I am dead?  It seems like nothing will be done to protect me…by a system that is supposed to protect me.  I cry every night, because I am so scared….so scared….so scared that he will kill me like he promised to….. I have been beaten, my neck and arms, back and legs with bruises, and knife marks from his numerous attacks, that caused severe pain, yet he was not arrested, because he is a cop.  I do the best to keep my head up…and pray for God to protect me, as He is the only one who will……


Survivors Are Sisters

I am a Survivor!  Many times it is easier for me to write things down to tell you what I have been through. Sitting here in the courthouse, watching so many women tell their stories of survival; so courageous and eloquently, I was not just overcome with so much emotion, but was humbled and honored to be “home” with my sisters. I don’t mean in the courthouse, but, “home” in knowing that I now know that I am not alone, for so many years, I have felt like I was alone in the abusive situation.

All of these women are my “sisters”, because they too have lived what I have lived in some way or another. I lived with fear, lived with feeling worthless and lived with overwhelming emotion. I feel so empowered through meeting all of these women.

If only there were more groups, where we could enlist each other’s help and get support of one another.


Survivors Always Fearful

Survivors always have this “fear” deep inside, and not totally feeling safe anywhere. The fact that I am able to wake up every day is a huge gift. Everything else seems minimal. It is important to focus on other things in your life, and all the positive things.

According to the National Domestic Violence Coalition, it is very important to feel safe and have a safety plan. The NCADV states that a survivor should prepare their safety plan, even if they are no longer in the same home as the abuser, because abusers never stop once they are separated from the victim/survivor.

As the NCADV states, “Although I can’t control my abuser’s violence, I do have a choice about how I respond and how I get to safety. I will decide for myself if and when I will tell others that I have been abused, or that I am still at risk. Friends, family and co-workers can help protect me, if they know what is happening, and what they can do to help.”  (NCADV)

Everyone should have a safety plan to help protect themselves and guard against further abuse. Some safety measures include: always letting friends know where you are, carrying your cell phone at all times, always meeting in a public place and having someone with you if you have to talk to your abuser. It is also important to have phone numbers on hand, such as that of the police, if the need arises.  Definitely, it is important, to always be aware of where you are and your surroundings. What I have also found important to help me feel safe, is talking about my fears and concerns with someone.  I have learned to be cautious, but not let the fear control me.  An abuser never stops, so you just need to do all that you can to keep yourself safe.


Tranquil Safe Haven

The sky is open with its face so magnificent, one could become lost in its eternal depth of beauty. The sun’s charming warmth upon ones face soothes deep into the soul, creating euphoria of passionate desires. The clouds are spaced with such perfection as they are the purest of white; their feathery features are as comforting as a blanket held tight. The winds are graceful, their breezes so soft, so delicate. The water extends as far as one’s imagination, with its waves as gentle as a tender touch. The sands are light with their grainy cushion as they hug each step taken as a reassuring embrace letting you know your presence is cherished. As you slowly close your eyes, this tranquil wonder land is taken deep into your being like a seductive dance. These peaceful moments are politely interrupted by the voice of the ocean caressing the shore and embracing the rocks as a fond hello. This wonderfully fragrant ocean air is taken in and almost tasted, bringing together an abundance of the senses making this experience complete. This is the safe haven you seek. Here you are surrounded by a secure sanctuary of all that is sacred and divine. Relax your pains away now, let your guard down, and become one with all that surrounds you, for now you are at home, your tranquil safe haven.


Today is the day I make my pledge to myself:

I pledge to finally begin to take care of myself and to look after myself for once and to not feel guilty or selfish about putting myself first, for if I don’t take care of myself I will never be able to be the best me that I can be for myself and for others. I also pledge to stand up and defend myself because for far too long now the one person who needed the most defending has gone the most bullied. Today, I pledge to no longer look down on myself for the things that are out of my control and to realize that those things were placed out of my control for a reason and to use them as life experiences and lessons and not as brandings or titles. Today, I am pledging to never worry again about what others may think of me or the way I live my life, that although people’s opinions are appreciated, they are merely only that, their opinions and not my own. I pledge that I will never allow ones opinions to ever define me as a person again. I also pledge to not take it personally if someone does not accept me or like me, that I will know in my heart that it is their loss of a truly amazing person! I pledge to finally look myself in the mirror and see a very beautiful person and not the monster I thought I used to see and to truly realize that although I may feel I have flaws, it’s those flaws that are what makes me … me! Today, I pledge to no longer make myself feel that I need to be in competition with anyone, that life is not a race and that life should be enjoyed and not rushed by missing all life’s great little things by being too overly concerned about keeping up with or exceeding others. I pledge to no longer make myself feel as though I have all these rules to follow, that life should be simple and not complicated. I pledge that as long as I have peace inside me I know I will be ok!

It is my pledge today to take back control of my own life and to never again allow someone else to control the reigns of my life because I am the one behind the steering wheel, not anyone else, this is my journey! I am pledging today to never apologize again for who I am and for the life I have led and for the things that I have been through and therefore I pledge to never allow anyone into my life again that can’t handle these things because I only need strong accepting people in my life! I pledge to no longer allow the influence of others to dictate my success. I will also pledge to love myself! To actually really love myself for the wonderful person that I truly am! My most important pledge is to no longer beat myself up, rip myself apart or to stomp on myself as a human being because I don’t deserve that and I never have! I know all these things will take a while to learn to do but it’s my pure conscious effort to take care of myself even if that means reading this ten times a day!

For so many years I have neglected the one person who matters the very most. I have knocked myself to the curb more times than I care to think about and yet I’m still there, still wanting to be my very best friend. So, I say to myself, I am so very sorry for neglecting you, for hurting you and for never being there for you. Thank you for all of your amazing amount of loyalty to me and for knowing that I never meant you any harm. I now see you, self and that I have been very wrong all these years. That true love does exist and it is not in another person but in ME! Will you work with me self? Will you help me to be the very best us that we can be, because I really feel that if we work together, we will have a massive amount to bring to people? I feel very close to being able to make an impact in life but I will never be able to reach my full potential without you and me together. I know that together we will reach millions…

Today is the day ……I pledge ……. to start living my life and living it well!



I have fought through the pain. I have endured through the tears. I have stood up to demons and I have won! I have come through the darkness. I know how to see the light and not the shadows. I have shattered extreme adversity. I have overcome those who said no. I have silenced those who said I have no worth. I have found the beauty in strength and the wisdom of intelligence. I have the grace of maturity and the tolerance of ignorance. I have the nobility of being humble with the character of benevolence. I now have the ability to carry on and the determination to push forward! I know now how to stand tall, how to stand proud! I will not be stopped! Not now, not ever! My life is far too precious to ever give it up again. For I just now comprehend all of my life’s glorious purpose. I have found myself, the little child inside, I’ve always been right here. I was always by my side. The child who was once held so captive is now so free and will do nothing but persevere! I now know my worth! I now know my purpose! I am here for inspiration through positive endeavors. I am here to show you that life begins again!


A Time To Heal

The worst thing a person could do after being abused is to stay stuck on the abuse.  There are often triggers that at times force you to look back at past abuse concerns no matter the type of abuse.  I had to convince myself that every backwards look at past abusive situations in my life was not bad ones.  Each look for me backwards kept me going forward, because who wants to go back to pain and suffering from where they escaped.  Once I was able to look back and gather control over my mind during the abuse (physical, mental and financial), I was able to begin to take steps toward finding out what I really wanted out of life.  A time to heal would offer opportunities for me to learn new skills to care for myself and become less likely to fall backwards. It appeared for me that being able to get help (traditional and non-rational) was the most important ingredient to finding peace, stay mentally healthy and grow positively.

Everyone needs a time to heal from the wounds of their past.  Fortunately I was able to look beyond my abusive situation, capture a will to live and ask my higher power for strength daily.  I had to believe that there was life after the death of abuse.  Most of all I had to know that I would not fall back into old habits and behaviors that got me in the abusive situations in the first place.  Abuse-free and happy, I will never totally forget the past, but I promise myself to never be vulnerable again.


I am a mom and a survivor

I am a mom and a survivor of domestic violence. I was savagely beaten by my former husband, and emotionally battered, so many times, and sexually assaulted as well.  His anger cannot even be described, but is something that will haunt me for the rest of my life.

Every day I live in fear because of the damage that he has caused to me.

I have met several other survivors who give me strength to talk about these very painful and traumatic events in my life.

I would love to see Joliet and Will County, and especially the court system, provide a lot more support to victims and survivors of domestic violence. While I have been going through the court system and facing my abuser, I have felt so alone.  There is very limited support in the courthouse, and no sympathy from judges and attorneys for what I or any other woman has gone through.  It is very sad to see that most people do not care. The court system in Will County has actually caused me further trauma.

It is so true that no one knows what we have been through unless they have walked in our shoes. I hope that they never have to walk through what we as survivors have endured.


I am a survivor of domestic violence

I am a survivor of domestic violence. That is not easy for me to say because for so long I have lived in “silence,” not talking about what I have been going through and all of the abuse that I have endured.  Having this man – who I have been married to for such a long time and was supposed to love me – beat me, cut me, and verbally attack me on a daily basis was sometimes too much to take. Having him tell me repeatedly how unlovable I am and how worthless I am was also so overwhelming, it is indescribable. The pain, both from the physical scars as well as the emotional scars, brought me down to such a low point in my life that I have never been before. I was told so many times by him that no one would ever, ever believe me. It is so painful what I have gone through, like so many other women, it is so unbelievably indescribable!

But I have to say that as I have begun the process in our judicial system against my abuser, it is unbelievably sad how cruel, disrespectful and even abusive that the judicial system is towards survivors.  They further traumatize survivors by causing more damage.  They are uneducated and ignorant of the facts of domestic violence. I know that this is going to be such a long process and I am extremely fearful! No wonder more women don’t come out of “hiding,” because the system is cruel towards victims and survivors.


I thought that I was alone

I am originally from Mexico.  I have been here since I was a young girl and I grew up with a father who was a wonderful man.  But I met and married a “man” far from the type of wonderful man my father was.

I never knew how cruel and evil someone could be until the first time I was beaten up after we were first married.  He took out a knife and cut my fingers because the coffee was too hot for him.  He told me that I had purposely made it too hot.  After he slit my fingers, he put them in the hot scalding coffee. I was crying and crying for days, but he was neither apologetic nor sorry for it, and has never been since.

This has gone on for many, many years. I cannot even begin to tell you all of the episodes that have occurred where he has hurt me. They are unimaginable and I would never want anyone else to have to go through that. He would always make me afraid to say anything or tell anyone.  He told me many times that if I told he would hurt me and my family even more.

I thought that I was alone, but I have met some other women who have experienced a lot of the similar things too. I know now that I am not alone. I wish our society would talk about this issue more, so other women knew that they are not alone. It is not fun to think that you are alone in this pain.


I am a survivor on many different levels

I can say I am a survivor on many different levels. I am a survivor of domestic violence after being savagely beaten both physically and emotionally by my ex-husband for many years.  He is and was a man of considerable physical and social power in the community, so it didn’t matter what I said to the courts because he was and is able to get away with everything. I was told that the court does not care about the truth, and does not care about domestic violence.

I was also physically assaulted by one of the court officials/experts in his office, and was later told that “everyone” in the court system knew what he did to women. Nothing was ever done and the matter was brushed under the rug.

Domestic violence comes in many forms and these people with considerable power in Will County are allowed to further traumatize abused women and get away with it.  It needs to stop. I am a survivor!


I was born Sarah

I was born Sarah. I later defined myself as “survivor.” I have two children. They are why I originally entered this program at Groundwork/Guardian Angel. I stayed for myself. TLP Suzy’s Caring Place has given me a beautiful opportunity to do something for US! I am here to re-build what someone has broken – at least they thought so. It never was my dream to live in violence. It became my reality. It seemed to be the only reality I ever knew. It clouded my focus and my dream was put in a waiting pool. I no longer have to wait to be FREE! I am safe now. I am happy. I am healthy. My children are breaking the chains that were put on them and they can now laugh again. This experience is welcomed and blessed by the three of us. It’s difficult to change addresses and change friends and change schools and states. It is GREAT to find peace and solace, and feel sure that today is and will be another GREAT DAY! Thank you to all who made this possible – oh yeah, that’s me. I found my strength. My hopes and dreams remain. To the Guardian Angel program: Thank you for giving me a bed, and a bed I can finally rest at night in and sleep! I, for the first time in 31 years, can say, “I took back my night.” I thank you for that. It’s cherished. I recommend anyone who endures sleepless nights in fear and panic to not wait. YOU’RE WORTH IT TONIGHT! Every night should be yours. My faith may have been tested and torn, and at times felt shattered. I never lost it. I find it’s me I am finding again. Who I really am, and who I really want to be. Not victim. Not survivor. SARAH!


Father Figure?

When night creeps in
this little girl just can’t win

standing behind
am I out of my mind
how can it be
do I really see
him touching me?

She’s so little
his hand is so big
touching the places that shouldn’t be touched
she’s only four
but thinks this life is just too much

She cries out a prayer
is there anyone there?

She feels so alone
he cuts to the bone
breaking her will
has he gotten his fill?

Everyday is the same
on her heart – imprinted; His name
when all’s said and done
who’s really to blame
why is she the one to carry the shame?

Now, looking back
I cry for that babe
she wasn’t alone
there was so much ahead

she couldn’t have known
that she would be loved
there really was someone above

looking down on her sorrow
teaching her lessons
that she needed for tomorrow


June 28th, 2009

I’ve been broken and abused,
I’ve been loved and cherished,
I’ve seen hell at home and in the world,
I’ve seen fury in a man’s eyes and disappointment in my mother’s smile,
I’ve swam with the sharks and drove with the devil,
I’ve cried in happiness and laughed in the face of pain,
I’ve been through the unspeakable and witnessed greatness in others,
Everyday I fight not to become my own worst enemy,
But while sitting in the shadows of my adolescence I kept a memoir of my journey,
I had never doubted that everything happens for a reason,
Now more then ever I want to fight the battle,
Fight the battle so many lose,
I want to become the heroine in their story,
I want to be an advocate for the unknown children hiding a secret,
I want to be the whisper you hear that makes you say I want change, I want better.



What is it about your name
that evokes so much shame
do you feel any blame
for the things that you did
the lies that we hid
all for what?

So you could be the man
you held us clenched
in the palm of your hand
we were always afraid
did that make you feel brave?

Sneaking up from behind
we could never unwind
long enough to breathe
you kept us too small to leave

the gifts that you gave
were you trying to save
your soul

a black piece of coal
who left you with nothing
but a dark, empty hole?

I just can’t conceive
I don’t want to believe
that you made us feel small
for nothing at all


Imagine living in fear everyday

Imagine living in fear everyday of your marriage, and for many years after that marriage is over. A fear so big, that you are afraid of not only your abuser, but other people in the community as well, such as doctors, judges, attorneys, etc., because they did nothing to help you, but in fact encouraged it in many ways. This fear never leaves you – because it is the same way it was years ago – nothing has changed in our system or in the way that the community and society views abused women and domestic violence. I live in fear every single day!!!


Being a Survivor means many things to me.

Being a Survivor means many things to me.  As a survivor, I have overcome such obstacles with not only the physical damage that was done, but also the severe emotional scars that were left, as well as the financial hardships and continued abuse by the court system that does not care about abused women. This is not just a feeling, but it is indeed a fact!

After suffering for so many years, during my marriage, from daily beatings at the hands of my former husband, I finally gathered enough courage to leave, and then I went into the court system, that was supposed to help me, but instead they treated me as if I didn’t matter at all! I was laughed at, ridiculed, and taunted, and told to “stop being so emotional.”  There was no concern, no sympathy, and no education on what domestic violence actually is. There are just a lot of distant, “have their own personal agendas” people in our court system that follows their own set of laws, not the United States Constitution or Illinois Laws. They have no clue what women go through.

Abused Women, have their health affected for years and years, and many suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress due to all of the abuse.

Abuse never ends for many of us.  I always thought that I was alone, until I met some other survivors.  We need more openness in our community, and more changes in our system to show women know that they are not alone.  We definitely need and we deserve more support.

Thank you.


It is not easy to write about such a sensitive topic

It is not easy to write about such a sensitive topic, especially because it involves me and it forces me to remember such a difficult time in my life.  It’s difficult to know where to start because this was not supposed to happen to me.  I am a professional. Currently, I am working on a second master’s degree in Educational Leadership. At the same time, I am writing about surviving domestic abuse.

I married my abuser and stayed married to him for 21 years. We had two sons together. We bought our first home together. I became a professional while being married to him. We were 27 years old when we joined hands in matrimony. I grew up in the church we were married in and raised our sons in this church. I even taught Sunday school while he cooked for the church. Our entire existence as a Christian married couple was a lie. We argued and fought most of the time over those 21 years.  My husband abused drugs and alcohol. Both of us put up a united front for the schools our sons attended, our family members and the church. We didn’t do a very good job at hiding the problem. It was very evident that we were having difficulty. I sought counseling for us and the boys throughout the marriage.

October 2007, I divorced my husband of 21 years after he held me down and hit me with his fist in my face, holding a knife over me so that I couldn’t fight him back. At that point, I knew that the abuse was going to a new level. I sought a restraining order that prevented him from coming around me. I prayed so many years for God to change him and save our marriage but the day came that I had the courage to give him back to God. I decided that this was not my battle any longer and only God could save him. Daily, I pray for his well-being and his safety because he is not only my ex-husband but he is my son’s father. I forgave him for his out of control behavior and God has blessed me to carry on with my life. I pray constantly for peace of mind and that my sons can get on with their lives. I talk to my sons and I pray for them to not repeat this generational curse. It hasn’t been easy for us but with the help of the good Lord, nothing is too hard for God, not even domestic abuse.


No Longer A Victim

I certainly do not profess to speak for all victims of domestic violence, but I can share part of my story with you. I married my first husband after knowing him a total of seven months. That was one month after my eighteenth birthday. When I think back on how little I knew, but thought I knew, it astounds me. While there were no signs of violence or controlling behavior during our dating, it didn’t take long for problems to surface during the marriage. Violence wasn’t the first sign I was in trouble. Three months after we got married, my now ex-husband sold my car and we moved away from family and friends. I was totally dependent on him for rides anywhere I needed to go. The first physical violence took place because I was upset when he didn’t come home until 5am one morning after a night out drinking. This day just also happened to be the day of his Grandfather’s funeral. When I complained I had been up all night and was tired and scared we were going to miss the service, he responded by smacking me in the face and dislocating my jaw. The last incident resulted in a physical beating which left me a concussion. Months would go by without incident and then my ex-husband would drink and something would set him off. Alcohol use is so often related to domestic violence. There are so many negative stories I could tell, but I’d rather focus on what helped me get well.

First, I enrolled in college. I had been a great student in High school. I was always on the honor roll and graduated in three years. In spite of my prior academic success, my self-esteem was very poor. I didn’t know it at the time, but school was just what I needed to help me realize it wasn’t stupid. I so often felt “dumb” because I stayed. I hid my pain from all of my friends and family because I knew they wouldn’t understand and would judge me for staying. Because I chose the field of psychology, school provided for me what therapy provides for many. I actually completed an internship at a domestic violence shelter where I learned how perfectly intelligent, capable women could become victims of domestic violence. I also learned some of the many reasons a woman might stay with the abuser much longer than others understand. I stayed twenty years!

I am now finished with school and work as a therapist. I am remarried and my life has never been better. If you are experiencing violence at the hands of a family member, please share your experiences with someone. There are plenty of people who are knowledgeable and willing to help. An excellent place to start is with your local domestic violence shelter. Any social services agency can provide you with the number. You are entitled to a life free from violence. Take that first step and trust those who know how to help.


I have overcome my fears and have risen above

My name is Jen Seaquist.  I am honored to have been asked to share my story with you. Which is such an important issue that affects your life, the life of your children and your families.  I speak to you, not as an expert in the study of domestic violence, but rather, as a former victim of domestic violence, as a woman that has literally walked in your shoes.

The hardest thing that I had to realize and accept was that I was as emotionally sick as my abuser.  You can read about the signs of an abused victim on the internet and sometimes even identify that your own situation is similar, but inevitably, you will continue to convince yourself that your abuse is different.  You convince yourself that your abuser is not “all bad,” and that there are even times when you may have deserved the abuse that you were given because you pushed his buttons the wrong way or you failed to do something that you should have done.  You, yourself, have become an equal partner as a self-destructing abuser to yourself.

So, how do we break this chain?  The fact that your husband is an Officer of the Law freezes you.  You fear that he will lose his job and your family will be further hurt – this time financially.  You worry that there is no out because everyone in law enforcement will cover for their “brother” and no one will help you or understand your dilemma.  I know – I lived with those fears every single day for years.  In fact, no one in my family ever knew that I was physically abused.  I upheld my husband’s image because I think it made me feel better about myself.  I didn’t want to admit that I was weak.  I convinced myself that I could not break up the family.  Regardless of the physical and verbal abuse, I still had to be the strong one to keep the family together.

It was not until my husband pulled a gun out during an argument for the second time when I realized that I am in a very dangerous situation.  I convinced myself that he never would truly hurt me or the kids and that he was just flexing his muscles and showing me his power.  I finally confided in my mother of what type of life I was living and asked her to keep this a secret.  When she shared my secret with my dad, and ultimately my siblings, I was extremely upset with her and with them for interfering.  I have it under control – at least I thought I did.  I even went to the extent to tell them that if they reported anything to the police – I would deny it or play it down.  My family was unyielding to my warnings that if they didn’t butt out of my life that I would not speak to them.  In fact, that made them all the more determined to get ME the help I needed.  They wanted me to be safe.  I found Guardian Angel, here in Joliet and contacted them for information.  My family urged me to make an appointment to go for counseling.  Deep down, I knew that they were right, so I did.  My father even sat in the parking lot, looking for my car to make sure that I showed up for my appointment.  Once I did, I got on the right track to healing myself as an individual and as a mother.  I realized that I had been protecting the wrong person all along.  I needed to protect myself and my children and to remove myself and my children from the unstable household that we called a family.

Allowing you to be victimized by abuse is wrong.  You are, in essence, protecting someone who is committing an illegal act.    No one is above the law and all police officers are not abusers.  Some people seek out the job as an enforcer of the law because they are insecure and feel powerless in their own right.  They need psychological attention.  Not all law enforcement people are in need of psychological attention, no more than any other profession.  The problem here is that their jobs enable them to be empowered at work, and they carry it home.

I urge you; please do not hesitate to take giant steps away from this lifestyle.  The help you need is here for you.  Your situation is not unique.  Everyone who is married to a police officer fears the same fears.  You may even worry that if you divorce him, he will have your children taken away from you.  God knows . . . he can plant drugs in your car or drum up some other false charges against you.  There are not only counselors, but state officials who are qualified in putting your fears to rest.  Do not continue to look for protection from your abuser.  It is not to be found there.

I have overcome my fears and have risen above the trauma that I lived.  I am a happier person, and I feel I am a better mother than ever.  I feel good about myself and about the difficult steps I have taken to give myself and my children a new life.  I offer you my assistance.  I offer you my shoulder to cry on.

Fortunately, for me, I accomplished a successful career in real estate.  When I was in that abusive relationship, I escaped it by working hard to accomplish success.  I needed some verification that I was worth something.  By doing so, I cut out a good financial life for my family.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have any control over our finances, but again, since I was with such an overpowering person, he reminded me that although I made the money, he managed it well and was responsible for what material accomplishments we achieved. I am standing in front of you today to tell you that no matter what you do – whether you wait tables, work in an office or whatever your path is….you will be financially better off alone.

Besides being a fellow-sister to you and listening to you when you need an ear, I also offer you my assistance in making your plan to become independent and to free yourself of your environment.  You do not have to be a prisoner in your own home.

I invite you again, to please take me up on my offer to help you in any way that I can.  There are many ways in which I can assist you to find a safe place to live and call home for yourself and your children.  Please do not hesitate to call on me if you just need encouragement or a shoulder to lean on.  Talking to someone who has walked in your shoes can help you to learn how to walk in mine and the many other women who have freed themselves from living in a domestic violent home.

God bless you all.
Jen Seaquist
Survivor of Domestic Abuse


My daughter was molested

I want people to know how it feels to have their daughter molested.  I’ve been going through this for about 10 years.  It just feels like I can’t trust anyone anymore, especially since it was a family member who did it.  My younger brother molested my daughter when she was about 9 years old.  Her mother was deceased and I needed to work a lot to support the two of us.  It happened when I was working nights.  I had a babysitter, who had an emergency contact number.  I thought that would keep her safe.

I got a call at work between 2 & 3 am from a Will County Detective.  She was at a hospital with my daughter.  She told me to get there right away, but didn’t tell me what happened to her.  When I got to the hospital she was waiting for me in the hallway. The detective told me they had received a call informing them that my brother had broken into the apartment and assaulted my daughter, leaving her tied up.

I had left my daughter with a babysitter I thought I could trust.  Apparently, after my daughter went to sleep, the babysitter left. Some time after that my brother broke a window and got into my apartment while I was at work.  My neighbor called the Will County Sheriff’s police. The police responded to the call quickly, but my brother had already left when the police arrived. I asked where the babysitter was and was informed no babysitter was present.

After I was done talking to the detective the doctor came out and talked to me.  He told me that my child had been raped.  They had found evidence that later provided a clear DNA connection to my brother.  My daughter confirmed for the detective that it was her uncle who had done this to her.  A few days later he was caught.  The detective asked me if I wanted the crime to be reported in the paper.  I said yes.  I wanted other people to know what he was capable of; I didn’t want him to have the chance to hurt anyone else.  What he did has given me a bad reputation.  We share a last name and apparently, because of that we share the shame of what he did.

Rather than go to trial he plead guilty to sexual assault and received a 6 year sentence.  He got out in 3 years on good behavior.  I was mad that he got out so soon.  There are times when I can’t stop thinking about it.  The more I think about it the angrier I get.  I can’t get rid of the anger.  Sometimes I feel that I have to let it go, but another part of me doesn’t want to.  I’m afraid that he will do it again to somebody else.  I want people to know about that.   I thought I could trust him.  When the detective told me it was my brother I just thought – Why.  Why couldn’t it be someone else?  I needed to find out why.  But I still don’t know.  I know my Dad never abused him.  He was always in trouble as a kid, but I can’t understand why he did this.  I worry that he is somewhere hurting somebody else.

I know I need to start my life over.  I need to find a way to deal with the guilt and pain I’ve been dealing with for the last 9 or 10 years.  But, I’m not sure how.  I have been lost and confused for so long and feel my brother has taken a huge part of my life away.  I can’t understand how someone I trusted and was supposed to be my best friend was able to take away my trust, loyalty, and above all else, my daughter in a single act without looking back.  My daughter doesn’t talk to me.  If I am lucky, we speak once every three months.  She blames me for not being there to protect her.  I know I need to give her space to deal with this in her own way, but I miss her and hope someday we can be close again and have the type of relationship we once had.


A Mother’s Story

My heart aches today not only for myself but really for my child.  How is a mother to know that the man that she is married to, is in love with, trusts, and is happy with is actually a predator, a monster, one really sick individual.  I don’t understand how I could not have known that things were happening right in my own house.  Mothers be very protective of your children, and children understand that there is good reason for mothers to be so protective.  This is our story!

I met a man at my old place of employment really nice, well groomed, good with kids, someone whom I thought I could really trust.  We started by getting to know each other, got our kids together, and just use to spend time getting to know each other.  We got pretty close, the kids got along together, and each of them got along with us.  I thought maybe for once in my life I could be happy.  That’s all I wanted was to be happy and give my child a good, happy life, in a very nurturing environment.  For the first year of our marriage I thought things were going pretty well. He seemed happy, how was I to know?  I always knew something wasn’t right with him, but I never in my wildest dreams thought that he could ever have betrayed me or hurt my child the way he did.  So time goes on and things eventually start breaking down.

We were in the second year of marriage, still a lot of rocky roads but still together.  One summer day I’m getting ready to go to work and I’m thinking to myself “I really don’t want to go to work today”, but I tell myself I need the money because I’m not going to stay with him forever I’ve had enough by this point, and I can’t take anymore, I JUST WANT OUT!!”  So I go to work just like any other day.  I received a phone call at my place of employment that afternoon from a detective at the police department from the town that I live in.  My friend comes to tell me there is a gentleman on the phone who wishes to speak to you.  OK, I look at the clock and think HUH, that’s strange it’s too late for him to be calling me, so I go to the phone and say hello. He states his name and tells me he has news to tell me but he wants me to sit down before he tells me.  After going back and forth with him for a moment I finally sit down, because he keeps insisting that I do so.  After he told me my child placed a 911 call to authorities claiming unspeakable acts towards the man I thought I could trust, I felt so stupid, how could he have done this?  I had just got out of an abusive marriage before I met him and he knew exactly how to break me so badly that I don’t think I will ever be able to trust another man.  I collapsed to the floor in a pool of tears, screaming, crying, asking GOD why this had happened to us.  Thanks to one of my good friends at work who came and picked me up from the floor, hugged me in her arms, cried with me, and prayed for me and my daughter’s safety.  He would tell her that I would kill myself if I ever found out about this so she didn’t open her mouth.  He would tell her that he would cut her up into tiny little pieces and nobody would ever find her.  She was scared!  I got to the police department to pick her up and she gave me the biggest hug ever.  Her face was so red from crying so much, and she was shaking too.

I was so happy to see her face when I got there and know that she was safe.  Her and I are very close!  Now we can talk together, laugh together, and just be together every day of our lives.  We are happier now than we were before!  THANK GOD!  If I had known earlier or thought that I could do it without him I would have left a long time ago.  He had me believing that I would be nothing without him, I would never survive, and my life would be so bad.  I don’t know why some people feel like they have to be in total control.  I guess because they have no control of themselves.  My daughter is in her teenage years now has a lot of friends and actually has her life back.  And I still work with the same good friend that helped me to pull through this the way I did.  Think this is something that will never happen to you?  Well I did and it happened to me and my daughter.  People who pray on children really have a good thought out way to commit this disgusting act against the younger ones that you may never know that it’s going on right underneath you.