International Women‚Äôs Day is everyday…says this survivor.

Being an adult survivor of childhood sexual abuse and rape at 14. I lived most of my life in a fragmented mindset, pieces of my identity hidden behind the shadow of what I only allowed others to see. The secrets were suppressed and the key to that pain was locked away.

The bondage placed upon my life at the early age of 4, was meant to be a death sentence of everything good that my Mother and Grandmother stood for and the love they so lovingly wrapped me in, was now blemished. The curse had been passed down through generations and as much as they tried to protect me from abuse, I experienced this unmentionable pain in the hands of people they trusted.

Years of flashback and triggers haunted me as I covered up the pain through perfectionism, people pleasing, an eating disorder and many other coping mechanisms. Trauma after trauma tried to keep my mind in a self-denial pit of defeat. Blurring my decision making and accepting unhealthy boundaries.

On the outside I appeared to have it ALL together, picture perfect is what some would say. But, on the inside I felt scarred, damaged, worthless, unloveable and broken.

I was lost.

When I chose to face the truth and feel the pain, it was excruciating, literally debilitating and heart wrenching.

I wanted to put it all back in the pretty little box that I secretly kept hidden in the crevices of my heart.

But I couldn‚Äôt…the truth was exposed and I had to make a decision, either I was gonna fold or I was gonna fight…and I chose to fight for my freedom.

What does fighting for my freedom look like?

Everyday making a decision to do the next right thing…..in spite of depression, anxiety, ptsd, wanting to isolate, low self esteem, doubt, fear or self sabotage.

The next right thing looks

like…..accountability, intensive therapy, an eating disorder program, Celebrate Recovery: 12-step Christ centered recovery program, reaching out to others who I trust when I need support or a listening ear, prayer…lot‚Äôs of prayer, self-care, journaling, spending time with my husband, kids, granddaughter and our dog, walking preferably near salt water with the beach under my feet, fresh air, essential oils, laughter, whole food, supplements, chocolate, reading, drinking water, sipping my cup of coffee in a pretty mug, finding joy and gratitude daily…even when it‚Äôs hard and learning to love, accept love and give love.

Above all else, my relationship with God through his son Jesus is how I am learning to view myself through His Word, promises and truth. I am healing.

These are some of the tools, resources and support I have used and some I am still using to help me walk in my freedom.

Everyday I celebrate ‚Äúinternational women‚Äôs day‚ÄĚ as I cheer on other women who are locking arms with others who are overcoming tremendous battles (some in which others may never know about) and are taking one step at a time to courageously become liberated from what tried to destroy her.

My name is denise marie and

I AM no longer held captive…by my childhood secrets, I AM free.

‚ÄúSo if the son sets you free, you will be free indeed‚ÄĚ. – John 8:36

#nolongerheldcaptive

I was attacked

at the very core

of my being and

was told to end it.

That I was not going to

live past the depression,

the anxiety and the tremendous

amount of pain.

The lies, and self hatred

tried to overshadow every ounce

of hope and faith

I previously held onto.

Even though I walk through the

darkest valley…

Fragmented pieces of the

memories came flashing

back as I tried to piece them

together and make sense

of the realization that these

were not nightmares but

factual suppressed recollections.

I will fear no evil…for you are with me….

It was too much!

I felt as if I was literally being

ripped from the inside out.

Every part of my body ached

as I exposed the truth and

walked through the dark

murkiness of my past.

You protect and guide me,

and I find comfort as you console me…

In my despair,

I wept, as I released the pain.

You are repairing all the damage

that was done to me,

and restoring the deepest,

most real part of me.

Lord, my strength and hope, comes from you.

(*Psalm 23)

~ denise marie

‚ÄúSo if the son sets you free, you will be free indeed‚ÄĚ. – John 8:36

Unbecoming…

When writing this piece about simply ‚Äúunbecoming‚ÄĚ. I kept hearing the words, ‚Äúyou have to unbecome to become‚ÄĚ. For me that means, ditching the old ways of viewing myself through the unhealthy lenses that are holding me back from my true potential and learning how to embrace my quirky ways by no longer apologizing for simply being ok with me.

~Denise

‚ÄúSo if the son sets you free, you will be free indeed‚ÄĚ. – John 8:36

25 likes on facebook..changed everything…

25 LIKES…9 COMMENTS…556 FRIENDS…

On August 8, 2014..I posted a video on my personal facebook page to share with the “world” that I had been sexually abused as a child.
The moment after I clicked “post”, I felt on top of the world! I had conquered my BIGGEST Fear!

Or so..I thought.

As the days went by, the euphoria lessened and I realized that my post made others uncomfortable. The small number of likes and comments crushed me and made the ugly root of rejection, fear and depression come to the surface of my heart.

As much as I told myself that I was doing my part for humanity by bringing “Awareness”. I desperately wanted everyone to SEE that “I” was a victim of sexual abuse and rape.

I thought I didnt want to be looked at differently. But actually, yes, I DO.

I want YOU to read my post and feel uncomfortable. I want YOU to look at the video and cringe as you look into the eyes of me as a child and see the blank stare and pain of an innocent child who was sexually abused.

I was a victim of childhood sexual abuse and rape..

~ xoxo Denise

To Break the Seal of Secrecy…

To Cover-up¬†is a concerted effort to keep an illegal or unethical act or situation from being made public (Webster’s Dictionary)

Pedofiles¬†will use many tools to protect their image. They are skilled in deception and will¬†lie to you and others; They will not only manipulate you¬†but will be a¬†master puppeteer in all areas of there life¬†to benefit their own desires. They will ¬†deceive you into believeing that you need them and without them, you will are¬†“less of” a person.¬†Some may¬†flatter you with gifts and make you feel special.¬†Ultimately they will do whatever it takes to keep¬†the secret sealed. Fear¬†begins to play a major factor in the holding of¬†“the secret”. You,¬†will buy-in to the lie and begin to blame yourself.¬†You would much rather¬†keep the secret hidden, rather than¬†risk the redicule¬†of no one believing your story.

During this¬†past month, I have¬†crossed the paths¬†of several people who have experienced being abused and they shared their story with me.¬†In one incident, I had a conversation with the father of a victim. He had protected his daughter from the abuse that had happened to her by her step-dad and step-brother while living in her biological moms home. The pain in his eyes as he told me the story continues to haunt me. You see, he had protected his daughter from her abusers for 12 years, and when his daughter recently¬†turned 18, she moved out of his home and returned to the home in which the abuse occurred. Because she is an “adult”, there is nothing legally he can do.

An 18 year old young lady,¬†shared her rape and sexual abuse story with me. When she was 13 years old, she had spent alot of time at a family friends home. One night,¬†the husband of the family friend came into her room and took her innocence.¬†All adults involved in this young lady’s life at the time, had proof that the¬†abuse happened, but chose to protect the pedofile and swept the crime under the carpet. The Pastor of their church decided to counsel the pedofile and his wife and asked the victim to keep quiet.

I had a “confidential” conversation with a teenager who told me that¬†a former youth ministry leader, had confessed to her that she had been having a sexual relationship with a college student who is actively¬†involved in the youth group. The college student is 21 years old, and the youth¬†leader is in her 30’s.¬†¬†Though the college student is a “consenting adult”,¬†the youth leader was a trusted adult in a leadership role¬†and clearly crossed all ethical and moral boundaries.

She recently removed herself from the church and is not a youth leader.¬†But…her behavior has not been exposed to the church leadership or to the parents of this college student. I was told this information and asked to keep it confidential due to the amount of stress it would cause the people involved…But how could I sit by idly? Remaining quiet, goes against every fiber in my being.

Numerous stories like these flood the media, yet..many survivors continue to live in shame and countless victims continue to be abused.

Author and Speaker Ressurrection Graves, powerfully talks about overcoming emotional and childhood sexual abuse. In her blog, she has a petition to help make child sexual abuse grooming a felony. I have signed the petition and I am asking everyone to please sign the petition as well.

Being a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and rape, I am determined more than ever to continue to share my story and will encourage others to Break the Seal of Secrecy.

~ xoxo Denise

Today..April 11th..the Day of MY Birth.

Today, April 11th is my Birthday. One of the ways I choose to celebrate, is by reflecting on my journey. In the midst of  working through the healing of being a Survivor of childhood sexual abuse and rape, I want to give tribute to My Mother’s Love on the day I was born.

She looked into her daughters big brown eyes, lightly kissing the dusting of light brown hair on her head. Whispering softly how loved and honored she was to hold her only daughter. Anticipating with excitement all of the hopes, and dreams of a wonderful life for, Denise Marie. Without blemish or imperfection, Adorned with Beauty and Grace. She was the love of her life, the beat of her heart, the precious connection that would never be torn apart. The immeasurable amount of Love she deposited into her daughter’s life, equipped Denise with the unyielding Strength she would need to endure the things to come.

The Powerful, Never Ending, Love of my Mother carried me through the darkest times of my life. A few months ago, I shared my entire story of my childhood sexual abuse and rape with my Mom.  It was time for me to no longer deceptively, hide the truth from her. As difficult as it was for me to tell her, she needed to hear my secrets. The shame, guilt and fear tried to overcome me as I began to share my story. All of the lies I used to cover up the Truth tried to rise up in me, and shy me away from being completly honest. I wanted to protect her heart from the pain. But I knew, in order for me to be free, I had to tell her every ugly detail of the abuse, and who the abusers were. As I spoke, the fear within me, began to be replaced with her amazing Love for me. She intently listened to me, without interruption, without judgement, and without making excuses as to why she did not  know I was being abused. She understood that this was my appointed time to release 40 years of hidden pain and at that very moment of vulnerability she chose to simply Love me. Today, I Continue to Embrace My Healing Journey and Completly Celebrate ME!
Denise Boyd Copyright ©

The Dirty Little Secret..

Secrets……..

During the midnight hour of this particular day, she squeezes her eyes shut, hoping the pain will go away.¬†¬†He whispers, “shhh..be quiet”.., she quickly turns away. These dirty secrets revealed to him alone, those were the¬†“special” times that were never mentioned to another soul.

People did not understand, “Why is she sad?” “Why does she have to be so mad?” They assumed she was a spoiled brat.

No one took the time to ask her, What was wrong?¬†Or explain to her, why she was the “favorite” one.

With each Touch, Fondle or distorted Caress..It ripped her self image apart. She felt truly alone, afraid to tell, for the fear of losing what little bit of her heart, she had left.

The¬†pretty little face was masked with shame. How could you not know, that she had been “changed”.

Her heart was torn into pieces completely shattered by these…Deep Dark Secrets.

*******************************************************************************************************************************************************************

The above self expression is a glimpse to how I felt many of times during my childhood and early adolescent years. Those were the years that I experienced molestation from many different people.The pictures are of me, the sadness in my eyes, alone, tell my story.

This ugly subject of childhood sexual abuse is not easy to discuss. But in this journey of healing, I have moments that I need to express myself. For many of years, I would not allow myself to “feel” how I was actually feeling. To embrace the pain, the heartache and the betrayal of my innocence. In my teenage and adult years, one of my many coping mechanisms was to pretend that everything was ok. I was an excellent actress in the role of my life. I chose to wear a smile, I worked hard to make everyone believe I was fine, I tried to be¬†perfect. I¬†didn’t want to make anyone¬†feel bad or be uncomfortable.¬†But, by doing this, it took a toll on my health, my happiness and my state of mind.

To acknowledge these feelings brings me Healing.

God is doing an amazing work in my life. He is going through the chambers of my heart and he is replacing the hurt and anger with his Love and with His Truth about who I AM. I no longer remain in a state of depression, He gives me Hope. And with that I move forward with confidence and will No Longer Remain Silent.

Today, I hold onto this Truth:

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. ~ Jeremiah 29:11

Denise Boyd Copyright ©