Kelly’s Story

Kelly Wallace is a member of RAINN’s Speakers Bureau, a co-host of the upcoming podcast Voices of Survivors, and a survivor of incest.

Kelly first disclosed the abuse when she was 8-years-old. She told her mom what was happening between her and her grandfather. Her mom reacted in a way that was supportive by telling her that she believed her and that she had sensed something might be up.

“I was really anxious and had some behaviors that she couldn’t really find any explanation for. For my mom, it answered her questions. My mom is really a do-er and so she jumped right into action. She called the police and we already had a case manager. Immediately after, I was plunged into therapy with an individual counselor and in group counseling settings.”

Kelly was able to access many resources. Throughout her healing journey, Kelly and a friend Addie Tsai created and co-host Voices for Survivors, which highlights the voices of survivors of sexual assault through poetry, prose and Q&A.

“It opened up the window to hear other stories of survivors. It’s really highlighted that I am not alone in my experience. There are so many of us. Getting to hear other voices has really helped me with identification because sometimes being a survivor can be really isolating. It can feel like I'm the only one who has gone through this but I know that’s not the case.”

Writing has been an outlet for Kelly and the act of writing can really bring it back to the body. Kelly shares that writing allowed her to ask “what did my body feel like in a particular moment? It’s really a good chance for me to ground and feel those sensations in my body even when the feelings are good, bad, or neutral. It really creates a more holistic approach to how I'm feeling. I think there is a really big disconnect between my mind and my body and so the more I can get them in alignment, it is better for everyone.”

Kelly shares her advice to survivors who are considering disclosing.

“I can only speak to my own experience of disclosing when I was a child. I disclosed but then I really didn’t realize what was going to follow after I told my mom…I was kind of forced to talk to police detectives, therapists, court personnel, attorneys, and all of these strangers about my experience. I didn’t know that that was going to happen…The decision to testify was in the hands of other people…They decided I was strong enough to go on the witness stand and I was forced to testify in the same room with my grandfather and his high-powered attorney...It was very traumatizing. I would just find supportive people if you’re going to come forward who can really help you whether that's a support group, a therapist, a coach, or anything to build up your support system because it's such an isolating experience.”

For Kelly, she notes that she has a lot of privilege and access to resources that many people may have not. She shares how “therapy has been helpful. As an adult, I still continue that today. It's been a valuable resource to have someone to talk to outside of my family and my social circle. I have also had a lot of support from people in 12-step recovery programs because I identify as an alcoholic.”

Kelly has been able to get a lot of support from the program. She also got support from a program called The Healing Retreat which was shared through a RAINN newsletter. It’s a retreat for survivors in the mountains of Utah and in Georgia. It’s a 4-day retreat for female survivors. There were classes on nutrition, sleep, and the mind and body connection. Kelly says that “meeting other survivors was helpful for me to feel less isolated.”

Eight out of 10 sexual assaults are committed by someone who knows the victim.

More Stats

Your next birthday can help survivors of sexual violence.

Get Started