Strength Through Surviving Together

Growing up in a small town you always think bad things won’t happen to you.  You always think assaults are just big town problems, but the hard truth is they can and do happen anywhere.

The stories I am sharing with you are true and are about 3 of my very best friends from childhood.  With life taking us in all different directions we still make time to get together.   Our experiences together are always amazingly positive, fun and full of energy.  No matter what trials we face in our lives we have and will overcome them, and through it all I always know we have each other.

Sandra

When I was 23 I was sexually assaulted by an ex-boyfriend.  At the time I was living in an apartment by myself in Grand Rapids..  He was not a nice man; to the point where my employer forced me to get a personal protection order on him, or I would lose my job.  He would sit outside my work doing crazy erratic things, scaring my friends, coworkers, and me.  We dated for 2 1/2 years on and off.  Shortly after I got the PPO on him he came to my apartment.  He wanted to talk to me about remaining friends.  I felt very uncomfortable and of course he was not listening to the word no.  He kept saying things to play on my vunerabilities like “I guess you never really cared about us, and  you must have never really loved me.”  Eventually he wore me down and I let him in, despite my own intuition and the PPO.  Once in my apartment he quickly got angry and the assault happened.

When he left, I blamed myself.  I should not have let him in, I must of said something or done something that made him hurt me.  Lots of things went through my mind to rationalize not reporting it, and  I never did report what happened.

Ten years later when I was happily married with children I got such anxiety about life.  Specifically about how I couldn’t control things that happen to people I love.  I felt afraid of everything.  I finally went out and got a CPL (Concealed Pistol  License).  I trained and practiced with it for months.  However, I soon found with having a full time job and the needs of my family I didn’t have the time to commit to  training.  I soon found my anxiety winning and became afraid of my weapon.  My mind always came back to thinking someone could use my gun against me or worse, my children.  For over a year my anxiety was so great I was  taking daily medication.   Some days were worse then others, causing me to take other medications as well.

I finally started praying and asking God to help me.  I didn’t want to be on medication or feel like this the rest of my life.  For two years I researched and studied various martial arts.  None of these programs seemed quite right, and I didn’t feel they were what I was looking for.  I wanted something that would give me a basic technique that any women could use at anytime. I also wanted something I could teach to the women and children in my family.  I always kept coming back to the same program and website: defenduniversity.com, the Girls on Guard, and the Guarding our girls program, also presently known as Jane-Jitsu Women Empowerment program janejitsu.com.  Fear of the money I would need for the cost of training and the travel expensives, soon took over.  My anxiety also felt out of control just thinking about traveling alone to take this course.

Everything changed the day my aunt died.  I remember driving home from work crying and asking God to just give me a sign on what to do with my life.  In that moment Steve, my trainer called and said he had an opening in his Tampa Certification course.  Right then and there I decided to put my complete faith and trust in God and what I knew he wanted for me, and got my certification.
God has given me a passion to help others.

I want women and children to feel empowered, strong, and to be able to protect themselves in the worst situations.  I want everyone to know, that no one ever deserves to be assaulted or abused under any circumstance.  It is NEVER the fault of the victim.  With all the knowledge and skills I have now, I look back and know with complete certainty that what happened to me was not my fault.

Rape and abuse is a choice that the perpetrator makes, not the victim.  With the knowledge and skills I have now I may have been able to escape my attacker.  This is what I hope to help others learn!

Kristin

Freshman year, my girlfriend was so excited to go out on a date with a boy some friends from school had set her up with.  They went to a party, she drove and did not drink.  He invited her back up to his room to watch movies.

They had been kissing a little and she was feeling a little uncomfortable.  She refused several of his advances,

unfortunately like most predators he was not listening to the word no.  Through her inexperience (she was a virgin) and her lack of knowledge she eventually let her guard down.  She proceeded into his bedroom thinking that he would keep the promise he had made to not do anything she was not comfortable with.  Before she knew it, it was over; he had raped her.  She froze she didn’t know what to do.  She some how blamed herself for going to his room and then to his bedroom.  She never reported it.

Stacie

“When I was 19 the unimaginable happened.  I was a 2nd year college student traveling back to school from my small hometown of Ionia.  Along the way I stopped to pick up some items at the store.  As I was leaving the store a

stranger came out of no where, put a knife to my side and ordered me to get in the car.  It happened so quickly, I didn’t know what to do but scream for help.  No one heard.  As I sat on the passenger side floor fearing for my life, I started praying to God to help me through this.  The man stopped in a remote area and ordered me out of the car and into the back seat where he sexually assaulted me.  He then told me to get out of the car and ordered me to kneel as he stood behind me with a knife to my throat.  I tried to get away but it didn’t work.  He proceeded to take the knife and slit my throat leaving me for dead.  Even though it may not seem like it God was watching over me.  I was able to get up and walk half mile to a house to get help.  I was told in the hospital I was very lucky.  The cut came 1/4″ from the main artery to my brain.

Eight years after my attack the police apprehended my attacker and he is now serving time in prison for kidnapping, attempted murder and rape.”

Erin

Spring of our junior year of college another girlfriend of mine was super excited to go with a guy friend of hers to a faternity formal.  She had told him that they could go just as friends.  At the party she was having some drinks and started to get really sick.  Her supposed guy friend then had taken her back to a room to lay her down.  She vividly remembers being sexually assaulted.  Then next morning she was very ill and she got some flash images of what had happened to her.  At this point she had figured out that the supposed guy friend had possibly drugged her and sexually assaulted her.  She did report this.