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One conversation can change a life. Learn the signs to look for in someone experiencing child abuse, domestic violence and/or sexual abuse. Be counted as someone who says no more domestic violence and sexual assault.

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#ONECOVERSATION CHAMPIONS

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Take our quiz to find out how to identify signs of domestic violence, child abuse and sexual assault. 

STORIES

Often times, victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse put on their mental armor and hide their reality behind a smile. It is likely that you have unknowingly crossed paths with a victim, as the signs of violence are often difficult to detect. If we wish to make our community a safe and thriving place, it is also our responsibility to pause and notice when someone might be silently crying out for help.

Survivors can find strength and healing by telling their stories to others. Their insight and inspiration can save lives.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

Domestic violence is a pattern of coercive, controlling behavior. Some abusers are able to exert complete control over a victim’s every action without ever using violence or only using subtle threats of violence. All types of abuse are devastating to victims.

Domestic Violence: Physical Abuse

Physical violence may include: hitting, punching, kicking, slapping, strangling, smothering, using or threatening to use weapons, shoving, interrupting your sleep, throwing things, destroying property, hurting or killing pets, and denying medical treatment.

Domestic Violence: Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse may include: physically forcing sex, making victims feel fearful about saying no to sex, forcing sex with other partners, forcing victims to participate in demeaning or degrading sexual acts, violence or name calling during sex, and denying contraception or protection from sexually transmitted diseases.

Domestic Violence: Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse can include: constant put downs or criticisms, name calling, “crazy making”, acting superior, minimizing the abuse or blaming victims for their behavior, threatening and making victims feel fearful, isolating them from family and friends, excessive jealousy, accusing victims of having affairs, and watching where they go and who they talk to.

Domestic Violence: Financial Abuse

Some forms of financial abuse include: giving victims an allowance, not letting them have their own money, hiding family assets, running up debt, interfering with victims' jobs, and ruining their credit.

SIGNS OF ABUSE

Signs of Domestic Violence:

  • Excuse for injuries
  • Personality changes, like low self-esteem in someone who was always confident
  • Constantly checking in with their partner
  • Never having any money on hand
  • Overly worried about pleasing their partner
  • Skipping out on work, school, or social outings for no clear reason
  • Wearing clothes that don’t fit the season, like long sleeves in summer to cover bruises

The signs and symptoms of abuse tend to be the same for women, men, and the LGBTQ+ community; there are no differences.

HOW TO TALK WITH A POTENTIAL
VICTIM OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

T.A.L.K

When someone listens to and believes a survivor, it can make a world of difference for them. Taking a survivor-centered approach empowers survivors by prioritizing their needs and wants.

T = Thank them for telling you
A = Ask how you can help
L = Listen without judgment
K = Keep supporting.

Never Victim Blame

Abuse is never the victim’s fault. Believe, support, and trust survivors. Place the responsibility on abusers and perpetrators to end the abuse. Trust their perspective. Listen! Ask survivors what they need to individually be safe.

DO

  • Talk in private
  • Sit with them at eye level
  • Use language they understand
  • Control emotional response and remain calm
  • Tell them that asking for help is a good thing
  • Provide love, support & emotional security
  • Tell them they can have their own feelings
  • Remind them they deserve independence
  • Be mindful of your language and purpose

DON'T

  • Don’t use leading questions
  • Don’t show shock, disgust or anger at abuser
  • Don’t try to rescue the victim
  • Don’t say you understand when you don’t
  • Don’t become too emotionally involved
  • Don’t give advice or demand action
  • Don’t take criticism personally
  • Don’t reinforce self blame
  • Don’t touch them without consent

BECOME A #ONECONVERSATION CHAMPION

CHILD ABUSE

Child abuse is when a parent or caregiver, whether through action or failing to act, causes injury, death, emotional harm or risk of serious harm to a child.

Child Abuse: Physical Abuse

Physical abuse may include: striking, kicking, burning, biting, hair pulling, choking, throwing, shoving, whipping or any other action that injures a child. Even if the caregiver didn’t mean to cause injury, when the child is injured it is abuse.

Child Abuse: Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse of children may include: non-contact abuse including making a child view a sex act, making a child view or show sex organs, and inappropriate sexual talk; contact abuse including fondling and oral sex, penetration, and making children perform a sex act; or commerical sexual exploitation of children including child prostitution and child pornography.

Child Abuse: Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse may include: rejecting/ignoring the child, telling them they are unwanted/unloved, showing little interest, not initiating/returning affection, not listening to them, not validating their feelings, breaking promises, cutting them off in conversation, shaming/humiliating, terrorizing with threats, setting up for failure, manipulating, taking advantage of their weakness/reliance on adults, slandering, screaming, yelling, isolating them, confining to a small area, forbidding play, or corrupting them by encouraging criminal acts, lying to justify actions, and encouraging misbehavior.

Child Abuse: Neglect

This form of abuse is when a parent or caregiver does not give the care, supervision, affection and support needed for a child’s health, safety and well-being.

SIGNS OF ABUSE

Child Physical Abuse

  • Any injury to a child who is not crawling yet
  • Visible and severe injuries
  • Injuries at different stages of healing
  • Unexplained injuries or explained in a way that doesn’t make sense
  • Wears long sleeves out of season
  • Aggression toward peers, pets, other animals
  • Violent themes in fantasy, art, etc.
  • Seems afraid of parents or other adults
  • Fear, withdrawal, depression, anxiety
  • Nightmares, insomnia
  • Immaturity, acting out, emotional and behavior extremes
  • Self-destructive behavior or attitudes
  • Report injuries or severe discipline

Child Sexual Abuse

  • Difficulty sitting, walking, or bowel problems
  • Bleeding, bruises, pain, swelling, itching of genital area
  • Frequent urinary tract infections or yeast infections
  • Any sexually transmitted disease or related symptoms
  • Doesn’t want to change clothes (i.e., for P.E.)
  • Withdrawn, depressed, anxious
  • Eating disorders, preoccupation with body
  • Aggression, delinquency, poor peer relationships
  • Poor self-image, poor self-care, lack of confidence
  • Sudden absenteeism, decline in school performance
  • Substance abuse, running away, recklessness, suicide attempts
  • Sleep disturbance, fear of bedtime, nightmares, bed wetting
  • Sexual acting out, excessive masturbation
  • Sexual behavior or knowledge that is advanced or unusual
  • Reports sexual abuse

Child Emotional Abuse

  • Developmental delays
  • Wetting the bed or pants
  • Speech disorders
  • Health problems like ulcers or skin disorders
  • Obesity and weight fluctuation
  • Habits like sucking, biting, rocking
  • Overly compliant or defensive
  • Extreme emotions like aggression or withdrawal
  • Anxieties, phobias, or sleep disorders
  • Destructive or anti-social behaviors
  • Behavior that is inappropriate for age (too adult or too infantile)
  • Suicidal thoughts and behaviors

Child Neglect

  • Clothing that is the wrong size, in disrepair, dirty, or not right for the weather
  • Often hungry, stockpiles food, seeks food, and may even show signs of malnutrition
  • Very low body weight & height for age
  • Often tired, sleepy, listless
  • Hygiene problems; body odor
  • Talks about caring for younger siblings and not having a caregiver at home
  • Untreated medical and dental problems, incomplete immunizations
  • Truant, frequently incomplete homework, frequently changes schools

HOW TO TALK WITH A POTENTIAL
VICTIM OF CHILD ABUSE

T.A.L.K

When someone listens to and believes a survivor, it can make a world of difference for them. Taking a survivor-centered approach empowers survivors by prioritizing their needs and wants.

T = Thank them for telling you
A = Ask how you can help
L = Listen without judgment
K = Keep supporting.

Never Victim Blame

Abuse is never the victim’s fault. Believe, support, and trust survivors. Place the responsibility on abusers and perpetrators to end the abuse. Trust their perspective. Listen! Ask survivors what they need to individually be safe.

DO

  • Talk in private but not behind closed doors
  • Sit with them at eye level
  • Use language they understand
  • Control emotional response and remain calm
  • Tell them that asking for help is a good thing
  • Provide love, support & emotional security
  • Tell them they can have their own feelings
  • Remind them they deserve independence
  • Be mindful of your language and purpose
  • Inform them of who you will tell and why (i.e., CPS, police)

DON'T

  • Don’t use leading questions
  • Don’t show shock, disgust or anger at abuser
  • Don’t try to rescue the victim
  • Don’t say you understand when you don’t
  • Don’t become too emotionally involved
  • Don’t give advice or demand action
  • Don’t take criticism personally
  • Don’t reinforce self blame
  • Don’t touch them without consent

BECOME A #ONECONVERSATION CHAMPION

SEXUAL ASSAULT

Sexual assault is any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient. Some forms of sexual assault include: attempted rape, rape, drug-facilitated sexual assault, fondling or unwanted sexual touching, or forcing a victim to perform sexual acts.

What is consent?

Consent is an agreement between participants to engage in sexual activity. There are many ways to give consent. Consent doesn’t have to be verbal, but verbally agreeing to different sexual activities can help both you and your partner respect each other’s boundaries.

How does consent work in real life?

When you’re engaging in sexual activity, consent is about communication. And it should happen every time. Giving consent for one activity, one time, does not mean giving consent for increased or recurring sexual contact. For example, agreeing to kiss someone doesn’t give that person permission to remove your clothes. Having sex with someone in the past doesn’t give that person permission to have sex with you again in the future.

You can change your mind at any time.

You can withdraw consent at any point if you feel uncomfortable. One way to do this is to clearly communicate to your partner that you are no longer comfortable with this activity and wish to stop. The best way to ensure both parties are comfortable with any sexual activity is to talk about it.

You can change your mind at any time.

Communicating when you change the type or degree of sexual activity with phrases like “Is this OK?” or explicitly agreeing to certain activities, either by saying “yes” or another affirmative statement, like “I’m open to trying.

SIGNS OF ABUSE

Sexual Assault:

  • Signs of depression
  • Unhealthy eating patterns, like a loss of appetite or excessive eating
  • Unusual weight gain or weight loss
  • Low self-esteem
  • Self-harming behaviors, thoughts of suicide, or suicidal behaviors
  • Anxiety about situations, people, or places that did not seem to cause worry in the past
  • Panic Attacks
  • Falling grades or withdrawing from classes
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Poor peer relations
  • Increase in drug or alcohol use
  • Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or pregnancy
  • Signs of physical abuse, such as bruises
  • Changes in self-care, such as paying less attention to hygiene, appearance, or fashion than they usually do

HOW TO TALK WITH
A POTENTIAL VICTIM OF SEXUAL ASSAULT

T.A.L.K

When someone listens to and believes a survivor, it can make a world of difference for them. Taking a survivor-centered approach empowers survivors by prioritizing their needs and wants.

T = Thank them for telling you
A = Ask how you can help
L = Listen without judgment
K = Keep supporting.

Never Victim Blame

Abuse is never the victim’s fault. Believe, support, and trust survivors. Place the responsibility on abusers and perpetrators to end the abuse. Trust their perspective. Listen! Ask survivors what they need to individually be safe.

DO

  • Talk in private
  • Sit with them at eye level
  • Use language they understand
  • Control emotional response and remain calm
  • Tell them that asking for help is a good thing
  • Provide love, support & emotional security
  • Tell them they can have their own feelings
  • Remind them they deserve independence
  • Be mindful of your language and purpose

DON'T

  • Don’t use leading questions
  • Don’t show shock, disgust or anger at abuser
  • Don’t try to rescue the victim
  • Don’t say you understand when you don’t
  • Don’t become too emotionally involved
  • Don’t give advice or demand action
  • Don’t take criticism personally
  • Don’t reinforce self blame
  • Don’t touch them without consent

BECOME A #ONECONVERSATION CHAMPION

MYTHBUSTERS

We’re clearing up myths about Violence and Abuse

One in three women will be a victim of domestic or sexual violence at some point in her lifetime, and each day an average of three women die at the hands of someone who claimed to love them. Domestic violence affects us all; victims are our family members, neighbors, coworkers, and friends. All of us – women, children, and men – must be part of the solution.

The better question is “Why does the abuser choose to abuse?”

The deck is stacked against victims as they navigate safety:

Abusive partners work very hard to keep victims trapped in the relationship. They may try to isolate the victim from friends and family, thereby reducing the people and places where the survivor can go for support. Through various tactics of financial abuse, abusive partners create financial barriers to safety.

There is a real fear of death or more abuse if they leave. In fact, a victim’s risk of getting killed greatly increases when they are in the process of leaving or have just left. On average, three women die at the hands of a current or former intimate partner every day.

Through “gaslighting,” abusive partners cause victims to feel like they are responsible for the abuse. Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse that abusers use to confuse and shift blame onto the victim. This often causes the victim to doubt their sanity and feel like they are responsible for the abuse and therefore able to stop it.

Abuse takes an emotional and physical toll over time, which can translate to additional health issues that make leaving more difficult.

Survivors often report that they want the abuse to end, not the relationship. A survivor may stay with or return to an abusive partner because they believe the abuser’s promises to change.

Yes. The victim is male in 20% of the reported cases of domestic violence. Pervasive stereotypes that men are always the abuser and women are always the victim discriminates against survivors who are men and discourages them from coming forward with their stories. Survivors of domestic violence who are men are less likely to seek help or report abuse. Many are unaware of services for men, and there is a common misconception that domestic violence programs only serve women.

Yes, domestic violence affects everyone. LGBTQ+ people are more likely to experience rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner at some point in their lives. 

  • 43.8% of lesbian women and 61.1% of bisexual women have experienced domestic violence, as opposed to 35% of heterosexual women.
  • 26% of gay men and 37.3% of bisexual men have experienced domestic violence, in comparison to 29% of heterosexual men.
  • 54% of transgender individuals have experienced intimate partner violence.

Some abusers are able to exert complete control over a victim’s every action without ever using violence or only using subtle threats of violence. All types of abuse are devastating to victims.

 

Abuse is rooted in power and control. Abuse is intentional. It is a myth that someone who abuses their partner is “out of control;” in fact, they are in good control (how often do they “lose control” at work? With a friend? With other family members?) and purposely choose tactics to control their partner. Power is hard to give up or share, and abusive actions are purposeful with the goal of gaining power and control over a partner. This power and control can be exerted in many forms including emotional, psychological, financial, sexual, and sometimes physical.

 

What do you think are common ways that offenders use power and control over victims?

Strategically isolating victims is a common tactic to gain power and control over a victim. Perpetrators may trap their partners by withholding, lying about, or hiding financial assets, a form of financial abuse.




Every 73 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted and every 9 minutes that victim is a child. Every day, hundreds of Americans are affected by sexual violence.

Perpetrators may use emotional coercion, psychological force, or manipulation to coerce a victim into non-consensual sex. Some perpetrators will use threats to force a victim to comply, such as threatening to hurt the victim or their family or other intimidation tactics.

The majority of perpetrators are someone known to the victim. Approximately 8 out of 10 sexual assaults are committed by someone known to the victim, such as in the case of intimate partner sexual violence or acquaintance rape.

 

The term “date rape” is sometimes used to refer to acquaintance rape. Perpetrators of acquaintance rape might be a date, but they could also be a classmate, a neighbor, a friend’s significant other, or any number of different roles. It’s important to remember that dating, instances of past intimacy, or other acts like kissing do not give someone consent for increased or continued sexual contact.

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© Copyright 2020. Live Violence Free. All Rights Reserved.

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Quiz Child Abuse

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Quiz Sexual Assault

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Deedra's Story

Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault

BANG, BANG, BANG…“LET ME IN!” 

I looked down and saw my hands trembling, fear coursing through my body. I closed my eyes and whispered under my breath “please God, just let me disappear.” As I stood in front of the mirror, all I could do is look at myself in shame. Someone as crazy as I am is deserving of this kind of punishment. Or so I believed. 

He broke the lock, barged in, and threw me on the bed. Pointlessly trying to fight back, he began hitting me with more force and shouting what a worthless wife and mother I was. As he began to sexually assault me, tears streamed down my face and all I could do is close my eyes and find numbness. This was our pattern for 10 years. There were many times I wanted to leave but I feared joint custody would leave my girls vulnerable to his abuse without my protection. I didn’t believe I was capable or strong enough to win full custody, let alone walk out the door. He also controlled all of our finances which made it impossible to hide the expenses we would need to safely escape. The fear of leaving him often crippled me to a point of severe stagnation. Then one day, I had a friend confess that she could see I was being abused. I immediately broke down to her, but was suddenly greeted with a sense of relief that I had been dreaming of for years. She told me about Live Violence Free and the resources I had access to. It was in that moment that I knew I had to seek refuge, it was the only way I was going to provide safety for our two daughters and keep him from killing me. 

After receiving support from Live Violence Free to obtain a restraining order and then undergoing a year-long court battle, Deedra gained full child custody of her daughters. With continued housing assistance, counseling, and legal guidance from Live Violence Free, Deedra was able to obtain her driver’s license, buy a car, re-enter the workforce, and reestablish her life in a new area where she and her daughters could live in peace.

Deedra is now thriving with a fantastic full-time job and is enjoying her new role as a grandmother.

Sarah's Story

Emotional Abuse

As I swiftly slugged down the last third of the bottle, I began to feel a sense of relaxation take over my body. My fear and depression slowly melted away, and for a brief moment, I could numb the pain from my traumatic past and the daily demands of our two children. I could feel my nerves tense when he walked through the door. Within minutes he began criticizing my behavior and shouting profanities that shattered any sense of self-worth I had. He would twist the argument to make it seem like it was my fault, ultimately manipulating me into apologizing and consoling him. 

Knowing the only way out was to escape, I abruptly fled with the children and sought help from Live Violence Free. Live Violence Free assisted me with housing, legal guidance, and counseling for me and my children. But soon after, the loneliness triggered my abandonment issues and I began heavily drinking again to alleviate the depression. Feeling alone and vulnerable, I found myself in another emotionally abusive relationship. “How did I get here again?” I let my past sabotage my progress. I felt ashamed and disappointed that I slipped back into old habits, which made me hesitant to contact Live Violence Free again. But I knew I didn’t have a choice, I had to find courage and break the cycle. I had to get my children away from the childhood I was all too familiar with. 

Sarah continued to seek out Live Violence Free and received additional counseling and housing assistance. Sarah’s story is a true reflection of bravery and resilience. Overcoming child sexual abuse, abandonment issues, drug addiction, and single motherhood was no easy task but she was able to persevere. Now, Sarah is thriving on her own, going to school, working a full-time job, and enjoying motherhood as she watches her two children blossom in a healthy home environment.

Kevin's Story

Male Domestic Violence

There was a knock at the door. It was her. Pleading to take her back, she declared she was a changed woman this time. She told me she hadn’t touched a drink in a year and that she’d been working on herself. As I looked into her eyes, I could see that innocent little girl desperately crying out for love. She asked to come in, and two months later, she began moving in her belongings. 

Things were going good for six months until one night she came home belligerent and reeking of hard alcohol. It started with slamming doors, then verbal profanities, followed by three punches to my head. The last one broke her hand. Months of this behavior continued, all while I was too prideful to say anything to coworkers or friends. 

I wanted to believe that my love could save her, that she could change. She became pregnant and we had a baby girl. I thought having our daughter would change things for the better, but the abuse just continued. Only this time she attacked me with our daughter in my arms. I finally had a breakdown, I couldn’t do it anymore. I built up the courage to leave and sought out Live Violence Free for legal guidance to obtain full child custody. While attending court, Live Violence Free simultaneously provided me with counseling, peer support, and additional resources to get back on my feet. 

At first I struggled with speaking out about my abuse, I was ashamed by societal stereotypes that label abuse against men as taboo. I thought I would look weak and foolish to my friends and coworkers. Live Violence Free helped me break free from the emotional trauma and regain my confidence and self-respect. This helped me to show up to court poised and prepared, ultimately leading to joint custody of our daughter. 

Live Violence Free continued to provide counseling and single fatherhood resources to Kevin while he reestablished a new life in a nearby community. Kevin recently shared that he is now mentoring other victims of male domestic violence and routinely speaks out at meetings to raise awareness around the marginalized subject.

Maria's Story

Domestic Violence & Child Abuse ... Read Maria's Story

“Please officer, please don’t take my children! These are my babies, please! You can’t take them from me!” 

Tears were streaming down my face as the officer ripped my youngest child from my arms. I wanted to believe so badly that he could change. That he would see how the violence was destroying the children’s spirit. When he kept our 7-year-old from attending school for a week to hide the bruises he left on her face, I should have known it was only going to get worse. 

As the other three watched him strike me and then their brother, they cowered in fear relentlessly. The oldest would often get into altercations with other students at school, frequently resorting to violence as a means to express his anger and frustration. The younger siblings suffered from severe anxiety, had trouble making friends, and were often very quiet. 

When all the children were taken, he blamed me for everything and violently punished me for being a bad mother. I cried myself to sleep for weeks. Then one afternoon while he was at work, I packed up a small suitcase and left. Live Violence Free assisted Maria with emergency shelter, counseling, parenting classes, and advocacy with both law enforcement and social services. Additionally, she regularly attended peer therapy groups facilitated by Live Violence Free, and consistently communicated with Live Violence Free staff for emotional support and guidance. 

After successfully completing the parenting classes, all four children were reunited with their mother. The reunion was celebrated as a memorable achievement as it was a very special moment for Maria, her children, and the Live Violence Free staff. 

Live Violence Free provided each child with trauma rehabilitation including individual therapy, PTSD recovery, and peer supported youth programs. 

Although Maria has relocated out of the area, she routinely checks-in with Live Violence Free staff and recently shared that her oldest child no longer gets into physical or verbal altercations, and the three younger siblings are flourishing in communication and self-expression. Maria is the happiest she’s ever been; she loves her full-time job, and is now in a healthy, respectful relationship with her new boyfriend.

Ben's Story

Child Sexual Abuse

As I said goodbye and thanked Jim for watching the kids again, I could see my son’s eyes fill with fear as Jim walked over to give him and Anna a hug goodbye. It struck me as unusual behavior, but perhaps Ben was just tired. That was my initial reaction until a pattern began to emerge. 

When I returned home from my second job, I noticed that Ben would consistently become quiet and reserved after Jim’s visit. He wouldn’t express emotion, make eye contact, engage with his toys, or casually play with his sister. After several attempts to talk to Ben, he finally confessed that Jim would insist on reading him stories in the back bedroom, and regularly told Anna it was necessary to improve Ben’s reading skills. Jim would sexually abuse Ben in this routine fashion, and threatened to violently hurt Ben and Anna if he ever spoke out to me. Ben would leave the bedroom frightened and distressed. But that was just the beginning of the nightmare. 

Jim was a very well-known figure in the community, which left me feeling powerless and fearful of retaliation if I spoke out. Feeling helpless and desperate, I reached out to Live Violence Free who immediately helped our family move into an emergency shelter and begin individual counseling. Jim continued to pursue contact with us, relentlessly searching for us. In an effort to keep the family safe, Live Violence Free continued to offer support by relocating the family to another state where they were provided shelter, clothing, and additional counseling. 

Live Violence Free initiated contact with the local shelter and ensured that the family would receive continued support and resources as they settled into their new home. Although the transition was abrupt, the family persevered. They were able to continue their counseling through Live Violence Free until they found a new counselor that provided the family proper healing and peace of mind. The local shelter has kept in contact with Live Violence Free and happily disclosed that the family is prospering and assimilating well into their new environment. 

Ben and Anna have returned to a loving, playful relationship, and Ben has restored his identity knowing that Jim will never be able to violate him again. 

Steve's Story

Sexual Assault

Come on Steve, come to the lake with us!” As much as I wanted to hide the shame of what happened to me, I had to disclose my disturbing realization to my friends. “I was drugged and sexually assaulted yesterday.” 

I asked my friends if they noticed anything strange about the guy who sat next to us at the bar the night before. To my dismay, they didn’t even notice him. I further explained that after two drinks I felt extremely tired and had an abrupt urge to go to my hotel room to rest my eyes. I think I may have been followed back to my room. 

When I later awoke that evening, I noticed my body felt odd. I just assumed I was feeling mild symptoms of altitude sickness and went back to bed. The next morning as I was about to get into the shower, I noticed signs of sexual assault. I immediately contacted the police and sought out assistance from Live Violence Free. Live Violence Free brought me in for a sexual assault forensic exam, and provided guidance and peer counseling. 

With the assistance of the police and Live Violence Free I was able to safely return home the next day. What I didn’t foresee was the severe trauma that would surface 48 hours after the assault. Anxiety, anger, and shame began to wash over me. I would continually lie awake at night wondering about what my perpetrator did to my body. I was ashamed to speak out to my close family, friends, and coworkers. I had heard of incidents like this happening, but I never thought it would happen to me. An innocent vacation with some friends quickly turned into a haunting nightmare. 

I spent months struggling with the trauma and finally admitted that I couldn’t deal with it alone. I sought help from my local rape crisis center where I received additional counseling and PTSD therapy. Through counseling, I was able to work through my suffering and regain my life back. 

Live Violence Free stayed in touch with the local rape crisis center and were happy to hear that Steve was on his way to recovery from the trauma and is now publicly speaking out about his experience at assault prevention and awareness meetings.