There’s a peaceful atmosphere in Sheri Eaton’s Tucson casita, where bright yellow accents the home. She said it’s the color of sunshine and happiness, helping her create positivity in each day.

Eaton is many things an army veteran, artist, dressmaker, sister and mother. But she’s also a survivor.

“I endured close to 15 years of sexual abuse,” she said. “My father was a pedophile and my brother had decided because only males should be born first, I didn’t deserve to live.”

Turmoil and immorality surrounded her childhood, inside the very place she was supposed to feel safe her home.

“At 14, I told my father that if he touched me again, I was going to call the police,” she said. “He said if you do, I’ll make sure they never believe you. And that’s the first time I remember just crawling inside my mind.”

She said soon after she retreated into her mind, her father wanted to give her away.

“I finally got away from him,” she said. “I went to live with my maternal grandmother. That was the best thing he had ever done for me was to give me away.”

And she was able to thrive in a new home, filled with love.

“Because I got to be around some sane normal people,” she said. “And for the first time in my life, I got to sleep all night. That was wonderful.”

Through her marriages and careers, she said she learned to push down the fear and the nightmares, not learning that it was important to deal with those emotions. One day, about 5 years ago, she was watching TV and was triggered by something she saw.

“And all of a sudden, the here and now disappeared and I’m three years old again,” she said. “I was having 25 to 30 flashbacks a day and I didn’t know how to control them.”

Eaton said she reached out to the VA for help, which then led her to the Southern Arizona Center Against Sexual Assault, or SACASA. She called SACASA and said even with the lady on the phone, she was grateful for the questions they asked her.

“The second thing she asked me is what do you need,” Eaton said. “Not one person, in all these years, has ever asked me what did I need.”

Through support groups and individualized therapy, she said she’s learning how to move forward.

“Most of the time I can control the flashbacks,” she said. “Sometimes I can go four days without any at all.”

She hopes that others going through sexual abuse reach out for help.

“You survivors, you matter,” she said. “Talk about it with anyone that will listen.”

Since this month is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, restaurants across Tucson are donating a portion of their proceeds to SACASA in order to help those like Eaton. The link to the restaurants participating in Dine Out for Safety can be found here.



Download our free app for Roku, FireTV, AppleTV, Alexa, and mobile devices. Sign up for daily newsletters emailed to you Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram Follow us on Twitter