‘I am a SURVIVOR NOT A VICTIM’

As a reporter, you can never truly know how a story will impact those who read it. For one local woman who read Tuesday’s story about a man being sentenced to prison for child molestation, it hit all too close to home.

Donna, a victim of sexual abuse, told me she wanted to convey to the victims of the man that they are not alone and that she’s been able to find a way to move on.

I’ll let her words speak for themselves:

“Hello, my name is Donna. After reading your story about the ‘Kingston man gets more than 5 years in prison for molestation,’ I felt the need to write to you.

I have a request if you could please (I’m hoping your able). Is there a way you could get a message to all three of these children? My message to them is they don’t have to be a victim, but be a survivor of molestation. See, I am 36, a wife, and mother of 5 growing wonderful children. I am also a survivor of child molestation. Not by one man but by 7 men … Only one was ever charged. Please don’t get me wrong, my life wasn’t the best. In April ’89, I tried to commit suicide. I was in foster care from the age of 14 to16 1/2. I have had struggled with relationships with my mother, my step mother, men, employers. I have battled with depression and sometimes still do. I was promiscuous, for a time I drank.

But I DID graduate high school, met a wonderful man, married him and five years ago found God again. Jeremiah 29:11 states “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” I will never understand why I went through the things I did BUT I know God has had a plan all along. The things that happen made me who I am. In the state of mind I am in now looking back I wouldn’t change what happen. I am STRONGER. I am a SURVIVOR NOT A VICTIM.

So in closing Mr. Farley, is there a way to let these children know 1) they are not alone. 2) God has a plan, let God guide you, and 3) Choose to be a Survivor, not a victim.”

8 thoughts on “‘I am a SURVIVOR NOT A VICTIM’

  1. Thank you for this inspiring article. ASCA-Kitsap is a community based peer support group for female Adult Survivors of Child Abuse. As an adult survivor of child abuse our dream was to create a safe space to support and nurture other survivors with this issue. That dream is now an incredible reality. We have weekly meetings in Bremerton, we are here and growing.
    I would ask that the Sun accept our request to get the word of our meetings to those in need. There is no fee, we recieve no funding; pass the basket and do what we can.
    Yes, as Donna illustrates sexual assault (any form of child abuse) has life-long affects on the victims – but we can find peace and move from survivor to thriver!
    We care and offer a hand out to help others bloosom and grow. To paraphase one of our women last week: “this is a place I can just be myself”.
    Our e-mail is: ascakitsap@yahoo.com and we are on facebook.
    May all of us who are and were victims find peace – and lend our voice to every new outcry!

  2. “I know God has had a plan all along. The things that happen made me who I am. In the state of mind I am in now looking back I wouldn’t change what happen. I am STRONGER. I am a SURVIVOR NOT A VICTIM.

    So in closing Mr. Farley, is there a way to let these children know 1) they are not alone. 2) God has a plan, let God guide you, and 3) Choose to be a Survivor, not a victim.””

    You just did Donna….and who knows how many people you’ve given hope to and saved years, maybe an entire lifetime of grief by speaking up and telling your story. Its a powerful message.
    Thanks for telling it.
    Sharon O’Hara

  3. First off I would like to thank you Josh for writing this follow up article and to Donna for sharing her story and encouragement. I too am a survivor but even more so have found a new hope in moving from survivor to striving to thrive. There is a support group in Bremerton on Wednesday nights were we as woman and survivors get together and discuss taking back what was stollen from us so long ago, going from victims, to survivors, to THRIVERS; we are all striving to thrive. If you are someone struggling with your past, ASCA-Kitsap is a safe place to “Be Yourself” as one member shared last week. If you are living a fulfilling life and have found peace please come share with our group, we aren’t here just for those in need but as a place to help others heal; we have found that when you can see the difference you make in someone else’s life what you receive back is tenfold. Donna, you could bring so much to our table and Sharon, we need woman who are ready to turn a corner or already have. There’s power in numbers, with enough of us together we can change the world. Thank you both for recognizing we must stop the secrets that keep us bound and that hope is not lost, and to Mr. Farley for giving us a platform to stand and shout from. – Jessica Osborn

  4. It is nice to see that despite your circumstances you were able to rise above the hurt and turmoil of your ordeal and empower yourself to in fact not be a forever victim that is so prevelent in todays society…I commend you for speaking out to others so that they may see that the people who have done you wrong have indeed not suceeded in the endeavor to make you a helpless victim they perpetuates blame…in this you have set an example for us to see that out of bad happenings there can be hope and happiness in life. Thank you for sharing and reaching out to others.

  5. You are survivors and thriver’s, ladies!
    A very long time ago I got a scared and shaking little voice on the phone asking me to come home from work.
    I don’t remember how long it took to drive that five miles home. I remember running in the house and finding my little girl sitting in the bathtub. The water was streaky pink and red. She thought the water would stop the bleeding.

    How can people donate to your cause, Jessica?
    Sharon O’Hara

  6. Sharon, The horror you felt is unimaginable but known all too well by way too many. “In this circle together we rise, lending our voice to every outcry, standing as one, striving to thrive.” Please contact me or Judy via email at ascakitsap@yahoo.com if you are interested in meeting information. We have not received any funding other than what comes from those participating in our group; outside donations would be extraordinarily helpful and earnestly welcomed. Thank you for your openness and I pray your daughter is living a fullfilled life with abundant love and happiness. – J.

  7. It’s never in God’s plan for children to be molested. Please don’t blame God for peoples evil doings.

    You have a plan for yourself, not God. You have more power than you think, don’t underestimate yourself. You becoming a survivor rather than a victim is a strength you have within you not something that is granted to you magically.

    I think it’s awesome that you speak out and share your story with others. You shouldn’t sell yourself so short however. God is great don’t get me wrong. We just shouldn’t say that such evil things are part of “Gods Plan”. An evil man doing evil things to an innocent child should no way EVER be construed as in Gods Plan.

    Don’t sell yourself short… YOU have overcome something it takes many a lifetime to overcome. Be proud of yourself… and thankful to God for making you who you are. The only plan God has for you is that you have the freedom to make your own choices and react to things in your own way.

    Live in the moment and release yourself from the shackles from the past.

  8. I do have to agree with “John Doe”. No, I don’t believe it is in “God’s Plan” that children be molested. It has to do with all that “free will” he (or she or what every your higher power is – for me it’s God) has gifted humanity with. I also believe that some humans disregard their humanity, while others learn to embrace it. Challenges do make us stonger, if a child is victimized and still is still with us, they have survived, they are a survivor. Our focus is on allowing we survivors to find our peace. Is it a life-long journey – Yes. Is it at times almost more than we can deal with – Yes. Is there other survivors willing to lend a shoulder to lean on -Oh Yes. Can we all rise up and lend our voices to every outcry – Yes. And, when we see acts of child abuse in the news, can we stand up and say “hey focus on the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual welfare of the child” (and trust “God” and our judicial systemm to take care of the rest) – Yes we can.
    For all that care, all that have survived there is some humanity left in humans! Step up, lend your voice to a cause of your choice, open your heart and spread the essence of humanity – love, compassion, empathy, and Grace. Take care of yourselves (and check in on your neighbor every so often)!

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