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Florida DeVaul-Dudley

I am a victim of child sexual abuse and domestic violence (intimate partner violence).  I personally now know the harsh reality of what it means to be a victim. I felt vulnerable that this thing had happened to me, and I didn’t want it to show through to anyone. I didn’t want pity; I didn’t want them to think I was lesser. I tried once to ask for help, and my voice was silenced at the age of seven, and from that moment, I showed a strong exterior.

I started to experience PTSD, depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, flashbacks, nightmares, and insomnia and relied on unhealthy coping mechanisms. These experiences of the assaults impacted my ability to trust others, especially in the context of romantic and intimate relationships. I used to be a very trusting person, but that was taken away from me.

I survived both sexual assaults and domestic violence, through my resilience, I harnessed my inner strength to help me bounce back from the trauma I endured. I am no longer a victim surviving, but I am thriving.

It is my desire to help victims and survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence heal their minds, bodies, and spirits and reclaim their lives. In creating programs for victims and survivors, I know personally from experience that everyone heals differently. I choose a holistic approach that encompasses the emotional, spiritual, physical, and mental aspects of health and well-being.

It is also my heartfelt desire to assist others in using their voice by refusing to be silent about the hidden trauma, suppressed memories, and traumatic experiences they have endured. It all starts with a voice. Some have been silent for so long; they do not believe or even know that they do indeed have a voice. The voice that was once silenced now speaks freely and openly from the deepest pain and hurt to healing, finding freedom and hope and peace.

Shining Light in Darkness is a beacon of hope for victims, survivors, and their loved ones. I persevered and overcame the evil that tried to engulf me.  I hope I can inspire someone to take hold of their life, use their voice, and live their best life to the fullest, not just by living but by thriving. Through God’s grace and mercy, I can truthfully say there is happiness and joy on the other side of the trauma.  I am eternally grateful for a loving and supportive husband, children, parents, and those that have helped me through my journey.

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ED  Dadli

Like many individuals, sexual assault and domestic violence were somewhat afterthoughts as they were not initially part of my upbringing or early adulthood. I would hear about it, but it was never a part of my consciousness.  Then things changed in my life that brought these epidemics to the forefront of my mind.  

Sexual assault and domestic violence not only affect the victim, but it also has the tendency to affect those that truly love the victim too. I’ve learned that first-hand.  While I was not a part of my wife’s life when she suffered these tragedies many years ago, I felt her pain and agony as I walked alongside her on her ultimate journey of healing. 

 

Learning that someone you immensely care about has been victimized can take an emotional toll. As the spouse of a sexual assault and domestic violence survivor, I personally have witnessed the effect of the trauma of this epidemic. As men and husbands, most of us pride ourselves as fixers, providers, and protectors, but when my wife shared her story, I felt helpless, frustrated, angry, and depressed due to my inability to protect her, even though it was prior to our marriage.  

 

As of today, my perception and sensitivity as it relates to sexual assault and domestic violence have completely changed. I listen more intently and can truly empathize. I encourage all victims and survivors to share their own stories in their own way and in their own time.  

I’m here to assure all victims and survivors that there is a man willing to listen and well as hear them when others have wanted them to bury their stories and silence their voices. 

 

My personal mission is to build up, support, and encourage each and every man and woman I come in contact with during the journey.  

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