The theme of this years National Crime Victims Rights week is to elevate, engage and effect change.

For one survivor, shes doing just that, sharing her story of trauma that began during her childhood.

“Its been a long and difficult journey to heal from these wounds. But Im here today as a survivor who has found a way to turn my pain into purpose,” the survivor said while serving as the keynote speaker during an award ceremony being held Thursday by the Pima County Attorney’s Office Victim Service Division.

The survivor, who asked to remain anonymous, is a survivor of sexual assault.

“I survived different violations of a sexual nature,” she said to the crowd of support service workers. “I am a victim of molestation, rape, as well as institutional abuse.”

At only 8 years old, she was robbed of the innocence we’re all afforded as children.

“I was molested by a babysitter. I kept my molestation a secret from my parents for some time.”

Her pain, trauma and suffering eventually hit a boiling point during her teenage years.

“It was though my body was no longer my own but rather something to judge, something to sexualize, something to mock and something to rape,” she continued.

She says she would be sent to a program in Utah after developing an eating disorder.

While there, she says she would be subject to institutional abuse.

As she entered adulthood, still on her journey of healing, tragedy would strike again.

“I was raped in 2015 and strangled,” the survivor explained. “Afterward, I completely broke down as the accumulated trauma began to much to bear in a world, I simply wanted to exist peacefully in.”

That 2015 case, still fresh in her mind, as she says her perp was convicted this year.

She also expressed gratitude to all of the support services that have been there for her during her journey.

As she continues her journey to a peaceful life, the survivor, author and mother of two girls called on those in the crowd to be the change they want to see.

“Im asking you here today to be an army of survivors. Be the reason they wake up and dont give up. Be the reason they climb to the top of a mountain and see hope on the horizon,” she said as she closed out her speech.



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