RAINN.org Christa’s Story

Christa is a Survivor of Sexual Assault, her story is hard to read and yet she comes out on top. She was able to more forward and rebuild her life. She has the strength like many of you. She turned to RAINN.org for support. https://lookingforthelight.blog/2018/12/19/christas-story/   I support RAINN and want to share a postcard with the good news of […]

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Highway to Hell *Part 2*

Childhoods antics which landed my brother or me in trouble.  I have to start with my favorite story, you’ll get a better idea of who I am. At recess in third grade I told the teacher I HAD to go to bathroom. NO, go back and play. Back to teacher few minutes later I HAVE TO GO! You’re just saying […]

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About Me

I am a Survivor After years of therapy and my grandparents love, I was pulled from the abyss. I have a clear heart, no anger or self loathing. Not forgiving….forgetting, allowing me to move forward. Over the years, people brought sunshine into my life. I can’t thank them enough. You were like Angels dropping in when I needed a push or […]

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June is LGBTQ Pride Month

June is LGBTQ Pride Month, when lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning people and their allies celebrate diversity, progress, and pride. This month, Joyful Heart reaffirms our support for survivors of all sexual orientations and gender identities or expressions. Sexual and domestic violence can happen in all different relationships and to anyone. Respecting survivors’ diverse identities and experiences is essential. Many survivors face obstacles when it comes to disclosing their experiences or seeking help. However, these hurdles can be amplified for LGBTQ survivors who fear being “outed” to their friends and families, or who fear being discriminated against in the legal, medical, or criminal justice systems. Throughout the month, we will share resources, including our blog post: 5 Facts About Sexual and Domestic Violence in LGBTQ Communities. It takes courage for a survivor of sexual or domestic violence to share their story with anyone. Never underestimate your power to affect the course of a survivor’s healing journey. With hope, Sarah Haacke Byrd Managing Director Joyful Heart Foundation

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Nacional Online de Asalto Sexual

La Línea de Ayuda Nacional Online de Asalto Sexual Gratis. Confidencial. Segura. Chat AhoraLa Sala De AyudaLlame al 800.656.4673 La Sala de Ayuda Converse con otros sobrevivientes del asalto sexual en un espacio seguro y confidencial entre las 7 p.m a 9 p.m. tiempo del este, todos los Miércoles y Sábado. Línea de Ayuda Online RAINN ofrece apoyo gratuito las 24 horas al día, 7 días por semana para los sobrevivientes de la violencia sexual y sus seres queridos. ¿Cómo es el consentimiento? – Cuando usted está comenzando una relación sexual, el consentimiento se trata de la comunicación. Y se la debe tener cada vez. ¿Qué es un kit para casos de violación? – La evidencia de ADN en un crimen como del asalto sexual, se puede recolectar en el lugar de los hechos, pero además se puede recolectar de su cuerpo, su ropa y otros artículos personales. Planificación de la seguridad – La planificación de la seguridad se trata de pensar en las formas que puede permanecer segura(o) lo cual también puede disminuir el riesgo de perjuicios en el futuro. Consejos para los sobrevivientes sobre los medios – Los medios de comunicación pueden ser una gran herramienta para aumentar la concientización pública sobre la violencia sexual, pero también pueden presentar retos para algunos sobrevivientes. Después de un asalto/abuso sexual – Es difícil saber qué hacer, qué sentir y cuáles son sus opciones después de un abuso sexual. Ayúdele a ese ser querido – No siempre es fácil saber qué decir […]

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RAINN: Effects of Trauma on Mental Health

SEXUAL ASSAULT Effects of Trauma on Mental Health “Every survivor’s healing journey is unique and it’s crucial that we’re aware of the effects trauma can have on mental health,” said Keeli Sorensen, vice president of victim services at RAINN. “It’s time to start speaking openly about mental health concerns, and dismantle the environment of shame, fear, and silence that too often prevents […]

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Paterno knew about Sandusky’s child sex abuse before 2001: report

What did Joe Paterno know and when did he know it? According to an explosive new CNN report published Saturday, the legendary ex-Penn State football coach may have known about Jerry Sandusky’s sexual abuse of young boys years before Sandusky’s 2011 arrest. CNN obtained a Pennslyvania police report that described Paterno’s reaction to whistleblower Mike McQueary showing up in his […]

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I keep Moving Forward: *Not allowing My past to Chart the Future*

“If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.”    Maya Angelo I am a Survivor My grandparents unconditional love pulled me from the abyss. After years of Therapy, I have a clear heart, no anger or self loathing. Not forgiving….forgetting, to allow myself to move forward. Over the years, people brought sunshine into my life. You were like Angels dropping in when I needed a push or pat on back. My mother and stepfather physically and emotionally abused me until 12 years old. My stepfather beat my mother almost daily starting with hitting her head side to side down the hallway, the hallway ended at my room. Everyone in the house lived in hell, I got an extra dose. As a small girl, I dreamed my father would save me from the traumatic abuse. The dream was over, he started sexually abusing me as a child. It was innocent at first or so it seemed. At 12 years old I moved to my father’s. It’s impossible to wrap your head around sexual abuse at any age. In 1992 my father committed suicide. Estranged since my teens, we talked several times before his death. He called delusional and paranoid. Saying someone was tapping his phone. He told me about committing suicide, I told no one. The news devastated Granny her only child was dead. With a closed casket service it’s hard to reconcile death when you can’t […]

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Everyone Suffers in Abusive Household

Original post 3/2014 Everyone suffers in an abusive environment. Our house was always in chaos. An alcoholic stepfather who abused my mother and a mother who abused her daughter. There were three other children in the house who saw the abuse, heard the screams and threats. I used to think the victim was the only person with scars. At 9 years old I survived almost daily beatings by taking drugs, plenty of alcohol and trying to kill myself. It never occurred to me my brother suffered from witnessing the abuse. My brother’s scars are from seeing our stepfather beat our mother. Dragging her down the hall beating her head from side to side. Putting a knife to her throat saying he would kill her. Most of their fights ending in front of our bedrooms. We had front row seats to hell. My mother abused me, the methods escalated as I aged. I heard stories of abuse as early as six months old. I don’t think my mother was trying to kill me. She’s like the women on the news who allow their kids to die. She didn’t push my head under the water but would have crocodile tears if I drowned accidentally. One weekend driving back from Houston we passed the exit to my mother’s house. I had strong emotions about my brother not me. I didn’t understand the emotions. It hit me like a train, my brother was not […]

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Throw Back Thursday *Let’s Rock Steady*

My heart overflows with joy for the kind words and comments on my photos. I have a long  way to improve my skills, it’s a hobby. Some days my hands shaking which make writing impossible. I have more photos of Australia, Tokyo, Russia, Yosemite National Park and under water wreck diving. The deep dives are dark and less colorful, the scenery  is the nooks and crannies of the wreck. Deep water diving is a blast.

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A Mother’s Guilt

      Daughter My Birthday wish for You I hope that every candle brings a new wish. I hope the Smile that lights your face stays there all year-long. I hope everything  you’ve dreamed it will come true. I hope you know how much I love You and how proud I am of you. Happy Birthday With So Much Love. Card from my Mother You can’t give back what you took from my life. Xx  M

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Child Marriages, life of beatings and Sexual Assault by husband

  When I was 14 years old, I was kidnapped for a marriage to a much older man, as depicted in the film Difret. On the day I was abducted, I was raped by my would be “husband.” I knew I had to fight back and escape the first chance I got. I was taken to a hut and locked up. When I received another visit from my abductors I saw my chance. When he was suddenly called away, he left his gun leaning against the wall and the door unlocked. My father had taught me how to fire a gun, so I took it and ran. When he and his friends chased me, I shot him. It was the most terrifying, horrible ordeal of my entire life — and I’m one of the lucky ones. I was accused of murder and after 2 years in the courts, the judge ruled that it was, in fact, self-defense. My trial led to a re-examination of this tradition and the Ethiopian government is now working to end child marriage and female genital cutting by 2025. In addition, the African Union recently launched a campaign to end child marriage across the continent. I am now dedicating my life to working on this issue and to give voice to the screams of unheard rural women and girls. I don’t want to see the same story happen to any more girls. And yet, it still is. […]

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Support The PAWS ACT: *Many Domestic violence victims are staying for fear of loosing their pet*

Change.org   Melinda There’s a new petition taking off on Change.org, and we think you might be interested in signing it. Many domestic violence victims report staying in abusive and dangerous relationships out of fear of leaving their beloved pets behind. Their abusers often threaten to harm, maim, or even kill their pets if they attempt to leave. Studies have shown this is the case for one out of every four women trying to escape domestic violence. Right now, there are very few domestic violence shelters that can accommodate pets, making the choice to leave even harder. But there is hope: the Pets and Women’s Safety Act, or PAWS Act, would supply funding to help shelters take in people and pets fleeing violence. This would alleviate abuse victims’ fears about their pets’ safety, and get them out of dangerous situations faster. These funds are urgently needed by shelters across the country, and Congress should pass this legislation quickly. It would help save lives. By signing the petition, you will let Congress know that the time to pass the Paws is now. To sign the petition or read more information on The Paws Act. https://www.change.org/p/pass-the-paws-act?recruiter=84245119&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink

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Joyful Heart’s Male Survivor PSA Series

NO MORE Excuses: The Male Survivors Series We recognize that male survivors are met with persistent and harmful responses: That sexual abuse can’t happen to guys. That they just need to get over it. That guys wouldn’t “let” that happen to them. In 2016, Joyful Heart partnered with Viacom and 1in6, a leading organization that provides support and information to adult male survivors of childhood sexual abuse, released a new series of video and print ads—adding to a suite of print ads released in 2014—specifically addressing the myths and excuses that male survivors hear. They invite men who have experienced unwanted or abusive sexual abuse in childhood, and those who care for them, to visit 1in6.org for help. In case you missed it, I wanted to share our new series in Joyful Heart’s groundbreaking, celebrity-driven NO MORE PSA campaign developed in partnership with 1in6, a leading organization providing support and information to male survivors of childhood sexual abuse, produced by Viacom and created by Rachel Howald and Young & Rubicam. The PSAs are already airing across Viacom’s networks, and tomorrow, you’ll be able to see them during the eighth #NOMOREexcuses marathon of Law & Order: SVU on USA Network, starting at 1pm/12c. WATCH THE NEW VIDEO http://www.joyfulheartfoundation.org/programs/education/no-more/psa-campaign/no-more-excuses-male-survivors-series#sthash.cIxU9PCn.dpuf Today, I wrote on our blog about why we’ve been partnering with USA for these marathons since 2014. We already know that television and media have the power to shape and change attitudes. And […]

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New Resources for Hispanic Women

Para obtener información sobre la Sala de Ayuda en espanol, haga clic aquí.  Xx  M Dear Friend, Today I’m proud to announce a new and very critical service for Spanish-speaking survivors: a confidential peer-support chatroom. La Sala de Ayuda (Helproom) is now open on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 7 to 9 pm ET. This service provides the kind of help that can make such a difference in a survivor’s healing process-the knowledge that they are not alone and the opportunity for survivors to support one another. Last year, the National Sexual Assault Hotline expanded to serve Spanish-speaking individuals. Today, Spanish-speaking survivors and loved ones are able to: *Read RAINN’s top content in Spanish *Chat one-on-one with a trained support specialist *Access peer support with fellow survivors Rosie Juarez, moderator In the words of Rosie Juarez, who moderates La Sala de Ayuda, “Often in the Spanish-speaking community, there is a fear of sharing your story-a fear that you won’t be believed or find the right support. On La Sala de Ayuda there is only support. There are other survivors who let you know that you’re not alone.” Rosie Juarez and Josue Melendez will moderate the service and ensure confidentiality. Josue Melendez, moderator Learn more from La Sala de Ayuda staff about how this new service works, and why it’s so critical for Spanish-speaking survivors and their loved ones. Con gratitud, Candice Lopez, Director of the National Sexual Assault Hotline PS -Tweet about […]

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D I V O R C E

Original post 5/2014 It was a normal Sunday like any other. I’m 6 and my brother was 3 1/2 years old, my mother was taking us to the lake. We never went to the lake, I began to get excited about playing in the water. I also grew concerned, what did she have on her mind. Even at 6 years old I knew she always had an agenda.We pulled up to the picnic tables on the far side of lake, nowhere near the water. She tells my brother and me that our parents are getting a divorce. Not understanding what it meant I ask her to spell it for me. I kept repeating the spelling in my head so I could ask my friend. I would find out sooner than later. Gramps truck was overflowing my father’s belongings. They were driving off as we rounded the corner. Their relationship went from bad to hell on earth. My mother took every chance to tell us how much she hated him. She married within six months his name was R known as (Nazi & Lucifer). He was her supervisor at work and could get her the white picket fence. We moved into a new house with a big back yard, things looked so normal on the outside. If people only knew the carnage on the inside. Custody was a nightmare, daddy would bring us home and she would throw things at him. One time […]

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Change.org Victoires Change Lives Around The World *Here are 2015 Hightlights*

Change.org Melinda – Happy New Year! As we ready ourselves for the year ahead, we’re taking stock of all that you changed in 2015. More than 22.8 million of you were a part of the more than 4,500 victories that enacted new laws, overturned unjust convictions, and made life better for people around the world. This video shows just a handful of the amazing things our community accomplished in 2015: http://blog.change.org/feed/you-changed-the-world-in-2015? Didn’t contribute to one of these victories? You have more than 350 days to make your mark on 2016. So, as you’re making your resolutions, take a moment to think about what you want to see change in the world this year. Then, start your own petition! Starting and promoting your campaign on Change.org is simple: Write your petition, address it to the relevant decision maker, and start sharing your campaign with family and friends. Send your petition to your local media to get public support. Deliver your signatures to the decision maker and urge them to take a stand on your campaign. Change.org is a powerful tool for those who want to see change in 2016. Make it your resolution to make change today. Start your petition now. The Change.org team

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My Husband Threw Acid In My Face

NEW CHANGE.ORG PETITION READING MADE ME WANT TO WORK HARDER ON WOMENS RIGHTS AROUND THE WORLD. After having lived for seven years with an abusive husband, I decided it was time to leave. I didn’t think I would survive another year if I stayed, so in 2011, I walked out the door and broke the crippling silence and isolation the abuse had made me feel. I felt empowered and free, and finally looked forward to my future. But because I left my marriage, my husband considered me “disobedient” and, therefore, worthy of punishment. So one day, when he called me to pick up my children at his house and suddenly acid was thrown at my face and body. The next thing I knew, my face felt as if it were on fire. My skin was literally melting away. He thought he would break my spirit, but he only made me stronger. Since my attack, I have been fighting to put an end to this horrific practice in my country of Uganda, and I need your help to do it. Please support our petition by asking H.E. President Yoweri Museveni Kaguta to sign the Toxic Chemicals Bill into law. That is my story, but there are many more, each one as harrowing as the last. Acid violence occurs around the globe and isn’t specific to race or religion. My country, Uganda, has some of the highest rates of acid violence. In […]

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In 24 hours 29,520 people became victims of domestic violence or sexual assault..20 people a minute by someone they know!

JOYFUL HEART FOUNDATION Dear Friend, In the 24 hours since I emailed you, 29,520 people became victims of domestic violence or sexual assault. The statistics are staggering: Every minute, 20 people are physically abused by an intimate partner. Every two minutes, someone is sexually assaulted. One in three women experience sexual or physical violence in their lives. One in four girls and one in six boys are sexually abused or assaulted before their 18th birthdays. This violence is preventable. And healing is possible. Yesterday, I wrote to you about Joyful Heart’s signature retreat programs and the work we are doing to make this healing experience available to even more survivors. Can you help us? Your gift today will guarantee that more survivors benefit from Joyful Heart’s retreats—and take the next step in their healing journey. 29,520 people in the past 24 hours. 20 people in the minute it took you to read this note. You can help change it today. Please, give what you can. With gratitude, Maile Zambuto Chief Executive Officer Joyful Heart Foundation

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Vote for stronger punishment against Domestic Violence in South Carolina–Pass Bill S3

Change.org Petition      https://www.change.org/p/south-carolina-state-senate-take-action-to-save-victims-of-domestic-violence? Vote for stronger punishment against Domestic Violence in South Carolina My name is Melissa Davis Walker, I am a survivor of domestic violence and I am tired of living in a state with the highest rate of domestic violence in the country. We need laws that protect victims from the people that abuse them. Currently, the laws are failing victims and they make little sense. First time offenses hold a 30 day sentence. But if you beat a dog, you could get up to 5 years. Tell Governor Nikki Haley and the South Carolina legislature that victims deserve stronger laws that protect them from the threat of domestic violence, pass Bill S3. For 13 years, my five children and I lived in fear. My husband threatened, beat and choked me for the duration of our marriage, and I felt like the law couldn’t protect me. It was only when my son bravely confided in a school official after my husband pointed a loaded shotgun at his head, that we finally got the legal support we needed to put him behind bars. If he had only been charged for attacking me, he would be walking free today, and I might not be here to tell my story. South Carolina is ground zero in the domestic violence fight. The toll of domestic violence is especially high on women. The state has the highest rate of female murders […]

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New NO MORE PSA Running During Super Bowl This Sunday

NO MORE Friend, It’s only been a couple days since we shared the exciting news that a new NO MORE PSA is running during the Super Bowl this Su‌nday, and there’s already been a huge positive response. “How can I help?” This is probably the question YOU’RE going to get while you’re watching the game on Sunday, so we thought we’d send along a few quick tips to help you speak up about these issues and provide you with ways you can help loved ones affected by domestic violence or sexual assault. Tip #1. Start a conversation by telling your friends that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 7 men have experienced domestic violence, and 1 in 5 women and 1 in 16 men have experienced sexual assault at some point in their lifetime. This is a great way to get the point across that these issues are serious and that many people we love have been affected by domestic and sexual violence. (If your friends want to read more about these statistics, you can point them here: Avon’s 2013 NO MORE Study.) Tip #2. Speak up when you hear offensive comments that degrade women, men, or victims of abuse. Hey, it’s a Super Bowl party — there’s a good chance that someone is going to make some inappropriate remarks. The best thing you can do is speak up and tell them that you’re not comfortable with that kind […]

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Open Your Top Drawer And Heart To Support Domestic Violence Shelters

Soma Intimates and the National Network to End Domestic Violence are partnering during the Soma Bra Donation event. From January 8th thru February 4th Soma stores are collecting bras with the goal of collecting one million bras. Bras are the most needed yet least donated item of clothing for women. All bras collected will benefit your local domestic violence shelter. To get more information visit soma.com/givebras XO Warrior

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Throw Back Thursday **Pink Floyd, The Allman Brothers and American Indians** A Strong Message of Survival

The Pink Floyd video brings thoughts, dreams and surviving to mind. I fly in my dreams and have for as long as I can remember. Watching the guy get the courage to fly is like our internal struggle to survive. Survivors continue to battle the struggle, the difference is they have learned to fly. The other message not lost on me is the American Indian appearing, building his confidence to fly. I am Cherokee and would have liked to fight their battles. Everyone has a story. If you are lacking confidence to jump the last hurdle, you’re in good company. Survivors dedicate themselves to helping you fly. There’s a line in Seven Turns on the Highway, Love Is All That Remains The Same. It reminds me the journey never ends, we have to keep living. By living we are going to hit unexpected turns. When we have the right people in our life, they take the journey with us. Surviving is a life long learning experience. Personally I love watching the American Indians dance, wondering what the dance means.   XO Warrior  

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NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell Announced The New Policy For Players Who Commit Domestic Violence **VICTORY**

This is an update to Change.org petition to Stop Violence Against Women, from woman who started petition. Victory Today NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced a shift in the NFL’s policy regarding the punishment of players who commit domestic violence. Players will be suspended for six games for the first offense and indefinitely for a second offense. I’m thrilled that the NFL listened to the fans and I’d like to thank everyone who signed my petition and all of the journalists who continued to follow this story. The NFL has finally taken real action on domestic violence and it’s because we stood together and said this simply isn’t acceptable anymore. This is a huge moment of recognition for survivors and their advocates and it came about because of people like you who were willing to take a stand. Thank you for using your voice to make change. We at WordPress must leverage the NFL’s decision to make our voice heard on all petitions regarding Violence Against Women. The NFL is setting the tone for change. Please go directly to Change.org and look under Domestic Violence to see active petitions. I will keep you informed as they roll across my desk. So proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with you.  M

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Important Change.org Petitions Need Your Support **Violence Against Women**

I only post petitions from Change.org that really disturb me. I feel strongly you want to see the injustice and take part in forging change. There are so many in my e-mail I can’t do individual post for each. I’m asking you to click on the links below or go directly to http://www.change.org to check currents petitions. Sign up for direct notices if you like. There are many opportunities to make your voice heard. One signature can make a difference. I will post an update on petitions which have seen victory and positive change. We have to make our collective voice heard, violence is not acceptable and people will be accountable for their actions with proper penalties.   M Violence Against Women NFL must update policy against violencee. https://www.change.org/p/roger-goodell-nflcommish-set-consistent-punishment-guidelines-for-nfl-players-who-commit-violence-against-women High School Violence Against Women https://www.change.org/p/steubenville-high-school-remove-convicted-rapist-from-big-red-football-team End Teen Dating Violence https://www.change.org/p/south-carolina-state-senate-pass-sierra-s-law-to-end-teen-dating-violence-in-south-carolina  

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Memories of Childhood Abuse Flood To The Surface Discussing Domestic Violence

Two of my blogging sister’s are going through a very rough time with their ex’s. Memories flood in of my childhood as a pawn for my mother. I thought I had a good understanding of Domestic Violence, I was wrong. My stepfather beat my mother almost daily, constant verbal abuse which would cause her emotional abuse. What really hit home is how the abuse of a parent trickles down to the kids. I thought the memories of my mother were in the past. I never looked at myself as living in a house with Domestic Violence. I’m blinded with hatred towards my mother for abusing me. These emotions come to the surface yet there is no sympathy for her. The realization my friends are going through the same difficulties is blinding. I was the pawn, not the mother watching her children in agony with no recourse. I have felt anger and cried so many tears for my friends. I see their pain and remember what it was like for me as a child. I’ve gone from crying to full caregiver mode, wanting to help. I’m so emotionally involved wanting to help anyway possible. As you can see from a conversation with one of my friends, I’ve gone overboard. Looking at what they are facing with the ex, I saw for the first time I was a pawn in my mother’s game. I lived in a home with Domestic Violence. Another form […]

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News Update with Looking for the Light

Update from Change.org  Let’s keep up the pressure until we know Meriam Yehya Ibrahim is safe and free 26 Jun 2014 — The last 48 hours have been a whirlwind of news surrounding the case of Meriam Ibrahim. On Monday, a Sudanese appeals court ruled that she should be set free, and that they charges she was facing — arrested and sentenced to die for not being willing to give up her Christian faith or renounce her marriage to her husband, Daniel — should be voided. Then on Tuesday, as she went to the airport to leave with her husband and kids, she was held by Sudanese intelligence officials, and we are still waiting to know if she has been able to leave the country. While this story plays out, we cannot let up on our demand that Meriam be set free and allowed to travel with her husband and her two kids. We are almost at one million signatures. Please, while Meriam’s future still remains uncertain, share this petition with on Facebook, Twitter, or with your friends and family, and keep up the global momentum for Meriam to be free. With your help we can build more than one million voices calling for Meriam’s freedom. She is so close. Please stand with me once more and show the rest of the world that Meriam should be free and reunited with her family. Thank you for taking action. ***************** Update from […]

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Funding Update for Rape Kit "End The Backlog" FY2015

A Step Closer to Landmark Reform  Today, we have moved one step closer to achieving landmark rape kit reform. This morning, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved $41 million in its FY2015 Commerce, Justice and Science spending bill to address the rape kit backlog. The Senate’s actions follow on the heels of last week’s vote by the House of Representatives for this historic level of funding in its new spending bill. The new program will provide communities with the vital resources they need to help end the backlog at law enforcement agencies throughout the country, with a focus on investigating cases and re-engaging survivors in the process. As we begin the final push to ensure this funding is passed by the full Senate, we urge you to join the thousands who have already taken action and made their voices heard.Write to your Senators and urge them to support this funding as the bill moves through the Senate. Send your letter here. Thank the members of the Senate and House Appropriations Committee leadership who prioritized this funding. Share your tweets here. Help spread the word about the rape kit backlog and our efforts to end it with your community. Get started here. Funding for comprehensive rape kit reform sends a message to survivors that they—and their cases—matter. It sends a message to perpetrators that they will be held accountable for their crimes. It demonstrates a commitment to survivors to do everything possible to bring healing […]

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Dating Violence, Stabbed 32 Times and Survives

By MELISSA DOHME CBS NEWS May 30, 2014, 2:15 PM 48 Hours: Dating violence survivor tells story My name is Melissa Dohme. I am twenty-two years old and I live in Clearwater, Florida. On January 24, 2012, I found myself surrounded with family, covered in bandages, connected to machines, with tubes down my throat, praying and thanking God for saving my life. Hours before this moment I was lying alone in the road outside my home, covered in blood, taking what I thought would be my last breath. I had just been viciously attacked, beaten, and stabbed 32 times. How could this happen? Looking back three years prior, I remember the exact moment I met this extremely charming, sweet, and funny guy named Robert Burton. When we started dating, everything was perfect, but as I prepared for my high school graduation, things began to change. Robert became extremely jealous, controlling, and short-tempered. I was going through verbal and emotional abuse throughout our two-year relationship without knowing it was abuse. The violence turned physical in the last few months, and by then I felt completely trapped. He would tell me if I was to leave or tell anyone about the abuse, he would kill me, my family, and himself. He began attempting suicide to scare me, but would stop and threaten me with weapons to prove he was serious. One night, I had the opportunity, courage, and strength to run away and call the police–and […]

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