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Dear Fellow Survivor,

Being victimized as an adolescent, by my step-father, I know firsthand the emotional pain and confusion associated with the experience of  sexual abuse. Mental confusion is a common result of sexual abuse because of so many unanswered questions. Why did this person act this way toward me? Am I responsible? Did I do something to cause this?

Did my caretakers know about this and if so, why didn't they do something to stop it? When I told, why was I not believed? Why was I blamed? Where is God in all of this? These are legitimate questions every survivor struggle with. The important step is for you, the survivor, to get on a path of recovery whereby you can learn the truth about the crime that was perpetrated against you and how it has and is currently impacting your life.

In 1994, at the age of 36 I was diagnosed as clinically depressed and suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as a result of childhood sexual abuse. That was the beginning of my healing journey and subsequently in 1995 I joined a Shelter from the Storm© support group. I have walked the path of recovery from victim, to survivor to a thriver (overcomer) through Jesus Christ. The good news is “There is life after sexual abuse!” Out of my emotional pain to heal and recover, 

ARISE! International, Inc was established in 2007 to:

empower adult survivors by informing them about the truth related to their abuse experience

embrace by reaching out to adult survivors so they will realize they are not alone in their pain, and

encourage adult survivors to pursue the path of healing from the trauma of being sexually exploited

ARISE! International, Inc mission in the community, first and foremost, is to help survivor's of sexual violence heal emotionally, socially and spiritually from the devastating effects of sexual trauma. Our objective is accomplished primarily by facilitating the Shelter from the Storm©-Hope for Survivors of Sexual Abuse curriculum. The same curriculum that changed my life and gave me hope for a better existence, and hope for a brighter future. These groups are offered twice a year whereby survivors can have a safe, caring and supportive environment to begin the recovery process. It doesn't matter if the event(s) occurred two weeks ago, ten years ago or twenty years ago. It’s never too late to heal!

I encourage survivors to arise (to get up) and take advantage of the resources that are available to promote inner healing. Healing is a choice. Your offender made the choice to sexually abuse you, now you must make the choice to heal. Don’t continue to wallow in self-pity or carry misplaced guilt and shame. These attitudes and feelings are a reality and a result of the abuse. They are counterproductive and will not heal the emotional wound due to sexual violence, but will leave you stuck in the past without hope and help. You can stop allowing the past to define your life. You must deal with it or it will deal with you.

It is my prayer that you will begin your personal healing journey to reclaim your voice and your power from the negative effects of past traumatic experiences.

Gwendolyn Jones, Founder & President

Sexual Abuse Advocate 

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