Kaitlyn’s Story

Kaitlyn Urenda-Culpepper is a mother, a high school coach, a swimmer, and a survivor of child sexual abuse.

Kaitlyn was 14 years old when she was sexually assaulted by an employee at her high school who also happened to be a gymnastics coach. During the time of the abuse, Kaitlyn became pregnant by her perpetrator. She later disclosed this to her school officials, after her graduation, and he was fired. The perpetrator was then re-hired at her school even though the school district authorities were aware that he had sexually abused her.

Justine’s Story

Justine Baker is a Native American artist, advocate, and survivor of sex trafficking and abuse. “As my descendants come across my name, I don’t want them to come across the horrors I went through. I want them to see this article, and read that I’m a survivor.”

Nicole's Story

Nicole is strongly connected to her Peruvian heritage and is dedicated to her faith community. She is also a survivor of child sexual abuse. “I don’t know if anyone can understand this, but my faith healed me. I just know that I’ll be okay. I’m no longer just trying to survive, life is about living everyday to your greatest potential.”

Desarae’s Story

Desarae Garcia is a social worker, mother, podcast creator, storyteller, and survivor of child sexual abuse. “I’m a huge advocate for people to be trauma informed. If someone tells you they’ve been abused, believe them. If it’s too much for you to handle, find someone else who can help.”

Elise's Story

Elise Roberts is a professional dancer, dedicated friend, and visual artist in her spare time. She is also a survivor of intimate partner violence. As a teenager, Elise experienced depression, bullying, and self-harm. “You are not a victim, you are a victory. Remember— you’ve made it through 100% of your bad days. You made it this far, you can keep going.”

Tarhata's Story

Tarhata Brazsal experienced rape and intimate partner violence from her high school boyfriend. After the relationship ended, Tarhata told her sister and cousin about what had happened. “Everyone was trying to make me do what they thought would help me. People were trying to force me to act in a certain way, but my sister didn’t. Because of that, she truly gave me my voice back.”

Sarah's Story

Sarah Whitney was raped when she was 16. She told her then-boyfriend, who reacted in an extremely unsupportive and hurtful way—blaming her for the incident and breaking up with her on the spot. The reaction of the first person a survivor tells is pivotal and can have a huge effect on their healing. “I would like people to know that this is no one’s fault but the person who did it.”

Ethan's Story

Ethan Levine was sexually assaulted in high school by a friend of someone he was casually dating. “In the immediate aftermath of the first assault, my focus was on whether it was real and whether I was right about what had happened. I got hung up on the fact that what happened to me didn’t fit the definition of rape I had grown up hearing.”

Tara's Story

Tara is a survivor of multiple sexual assaults and intimate partner sexual violence. “I’m a very open person with everything else, I’m very outgoing and I talk a lot. But when it came to these things, it took me years to say anything to anyone. The first time I talked about them was years later with my husband and after that with my therapist.”

Lacy’s Story

Lacy was sexually assaulted and abused by her high school partner. “No one understood what I was going through and what it was like in that relationship. But when we were apart, I realized how great it felt to be away from him—I really wanted that freedom.”

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