Sexual Abuse

These articles vulnerably address the horror of sexual abuse while also including healing & hope found by real women who’ve experienced it in the form of rape, human trafficking, childhood abuse, & more. #gritandgracelife

this is what i would say to the man who raped me

This Is What I Would Say to the Man Who Raped Me

The cutting cold of the night numbed my cheek as I lay against a pillow of snow. My head was heavy—I could not lift it—but my eyes could still look around from my quiet place on the ground. No one. Silence. Maybe the faraway hum of traffic. Maybe a street light casting a yellow shadow on the parked cars. Maybe the taste of acidic peppermint in my mouth. I was glad to be alone. The crowd had become too suffocating. Someone’s parents were gone for the weekend, so a bunch of us decided to have an older brother buy alcohol. The one who smoked Camels and drove a Camaro. Boys in puffy coats sat around a kitchen table and played cards, and […]

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Christy's Cause

Sex Trafficking: Why Kids Are at Risk and What You Can Do To Protect Them – This Grit and Grace Life

Sex trafficking–and the increasing worry over the safety of our children—is a very frightening reality in today’s society. So how can parents protect their children from an encroaching industry? Christy Ivie, founder of the nonprofit Christy’s Cause, joins episode 121 with precautions that parents should take to guard their children. If you’ve got a little one at home, you’ll definitely want to take a listen and be aware of dangerous signs that could be right under your nose—or in your child’s cell phone.

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Protecting Our Children From Human Trafficking (video)

Christy Ivie, the founder of Christy’s Cause, joins Julie Graham to provide practical, nitty-gritty tips for families to help protect their children from sex trafficking. She offers age-appropriate advice, what signs of vulnerability to look for in kids, and how to protect them from compromising situations. It’s up to us to advocate for the children in our community. If you see something, say something. Looking for more encouragement? Don’t miss: What You Need to Know About Human Trafficking What You Need to Protect Your Child From Sexual Exploitation The Solution to the Sex Trafficking Problem Bible Verses From the Grit and Grace Team on Self-Worth To hear more of Christy’s advice on sex trafficking listen to her interview at This Grit and

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The Field—My Path From Innocence To Abuse

The field was a place of childhood imagination, a land filled with underground forts, wood crate castles, and a path that wandered over dirt mounds and through a labyrinth of tall grasses and wildflowers. Fruit trees were scattered throughout the property, apples and plums. The lot was blocked from the street by shrubs that seemed to stretch from the ground to powerlines. It was a meeting place for the kids in the neighborhood, a place where you could dream, getting lost in the fairy-tale minutes of youth. But for me, this magical playground held my secrets. It was the path I took to get to the Petersons. The Petersons The Petersons were an elderly couple. They owned a large house on the

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What You Need to Protect Your Child From Sexual Exploitation

What You Need to Protect Your Child From Sexual Exploitation

If you are like me, I dreaded talking about sexuality with my kids. Unfortunately, in this digital age, if we wait too long and don’t share age-appropriate information, our children could learn a distorted view of sexuality from strangers or even predators. We can all agree sex trafficking and sexual exploitation of children are horrific epidemics, ones that we never want to personally affect our children. According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, my home state of Florida ranks third in the nation in reported cases of human trafficking, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s Cyber Tip Line received over 18.4 million reports in 2018 related to child sexual abuse images, online enticement, sextortion, child sex trafficking, and child

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what to do when you've been ghosted in dating

How My Little Black Dress Made a Powerful Impact

This time of year my Facebook feed is always showing me memories where I am wearing a black dress. An overlook in Idaho, at the Golden Gate Bridge, on the playground, at that party—in all of these pictures I am wearing that black dress. There are pictures on the beach, in the snow, when I was healthy, while I was sick, and others where I have newborn spit-up on my shoulder. Heck, I have a whole month of pictures where I am flaunting bright red hair like the mermaid, Ariel (still disappointingly finless, but in that black dress)!  My black dress is ordinary, but it does extraordinary things. For starters, it represents over $75,000 raised to help bring freedom to victims to

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This Grit and Grace Life Podcast

Sex Trafficking: Why Kids are at Risk and What You Can Do to Protect Them with Christy Ivie – 121

Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Amazon Music | Android | Email | TuneIn | RSS | More  We need to talk about sex trafficking. We assume it’s not a problem that is occurring in our backyard, or even in our country, and that couldn’t be further from the truth. Whether you like it or not, it’s happening in every community across the United States—even in yours. It doesn’t always look the way we think it would. A victim could look like a middle-class teenager at your kids high school who is still living at home.  In this episode of This Grit and Grace Life podcast, hosts Darlene and Julie are joined by Christy Ivie, the founder of Christy’s Cause, a non-profit working

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What You Need to Know About Human Trafficking

What You Need to Know About Human Trafficking

Recently, the U.S. State Department released its current assessment of human trafficking entitled “2019 Trafficking in Persons Report.” I found the statistics to be horrifying as I glanced through the findings, reminding myself they represent real individuals, lives caught in a world of degradation. According to the accompanying letter from the Secretary of State, “Right now traffickers are robbing a staggering 24.9 million people of their freedom and basic human dignity—that’s roughly three times the population of New York City.” I have to repeat that: three times the population of New York City! Just envision the streets of New York—the bustle of those walking to work, the number of people in every high rise and workplace, and every apartment building and borough

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The Solution to the Sex Trafficking Problem 2

The Solution to the Sex Trafficking Problem

Unlike the typical case of individuals learning about an issue through academia, books, and/or the media, I had the privilege of learning about the issue of prostitution and trafficking from the source. Having no previous understanding of the issue, I spent day after day and night after night doing life with amazing individuals who were at various levels of transitioning out of the sex industry. Through those relationships, I’ve learned a few things: 1. Prevention begins in the home. In the United States, the average age of entry into prostitution is between 11 and 14 years old. There is a growing epidemic of absent fathers, leaving children unprovided for, unprotected, and without leadership. When the father is not in the home to

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I Never Thought I’d Find Purpose in My Pain

I Never Thought I’d Find Purpose in My Pain

I was still reeling from the shock and pain of breaking up with my boyfriend of 5+ years just minutes before. He was my first love, and I loved him with everything I had… I was sitting in the car with one of my best friends, “D and I are done. We have to go out tonight. I can’t think about this.” Going out in Austin, Texas typically means going to 6thstreet. A row of bars, clubs, and debauchery that goes on into the morning. I think this is where my shame stems from… I wanted to go out and get drunk. I wanted to forget. And not face the pain that I knew was coming. I got more than I asked for.

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How to Protect Your Children From Sexual Abuse

How to Protect Your Children From Sexual Abuse

The second the door to the light-filled room opened, she made a beeline toward the wooden shelves. Housed upon them were plastic figurines, standing upright in tidy rows. Her little hands would pause before choosing the ones that would take part in the sandbox game. Sometimes, she grabbed the impish elf first, or the medieval knight, or the boy and girl dressed in ordinary t-shirts and jeans. Without fail, she’d reach for the jovial princess whose miniature hands held the seams of her cobalt blue gown in a frozen curtsy. Next were the pegasus, triceratops, beastly creatures, and sword-swinging soldiers. For the next half hour, her therapist and I would sit beside her, dig our hands into the sandbox, and enter my

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5 Ways You Need to Protect Yourself on Social Media

5 Things You Need to Know to Stay Safe on Social Media

Social media is the new street. It’s the “mall” for Generation Z, the “park” for Millennials. It’s the new place where people go to connect, consume content, and build community. Connecting online gives us a sense of security. We can experience the world while never leaving the safety of our homes. But do you realize that while you might be snuggled up safely in your bed, your online presence can actually be putting you in danger? That’s not to say social media is bad, but we fail to realize the effect some of our actions may have. We still feel safe, so it doesn’t seem like anything could be wrong. You may remember when you were younger, all the rules you had

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This Is What I Learned About Life After My Rape and Pregnancy

This Is What I Learned About Life After My Rape and Pregnancy

In 2009, I was ending a relationship that had me completely mesmerized! I was involved with this man for the previous five years in what was called, by today’s standards, a “situationship.” In other words, I was madly in love with a man who had no intention of honoring our relationship with validity or legitimacy. Each of my close friends would ask me what our status was, and my standard answer was, “We’re taking it day by day.” In my heart, I knew this wasn’t the love that was designed for me, but I also did not want to let go of the good conversation, the companionship, the intellectual stimulation, or the familiarity that it provided. I allowed that fear to blind

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Did you Know that Women Struggle With Porn Too?

Did You Know That Women Struggle with Porn Too?

I was 13 years old when I was exposed to pornography—this was back in 1999, in the land of dial-up and dinosaurs. While researching for school one day, I found a website with small clips from videos and TV shows. As I clicked through the different videos, one thumbnail caught my eye. I clicked on it. It was a porn video. I wish someone could have warned me about how the next few minutes would change my life, and not for the better. I woke up that morning a teenager whose only knowledge of sex was sex ed classes in school and whatever my classmates were whispering about. Within seconds, that all changed. No adult content warning. No age verification. Just straight

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This Grit and Grace Life Podcast

What You Need to Know About Sexual Harassment – 014

Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Amazon Music | Android | Email | TuneIn | RSS | More Today’s headlines are filled with stories of sexual misconduct in the workplace. Whether it’s Hollywood, the news industry, politicians, or corporate executives, we are hearing about it from all fronts. What is sexual harassment and what do we do about it? Julie and Darlene take this episode to explore the current workplace climate between sexes and how to handle an unwanted advance. Viewing in an app? Full show notes here Quote of the episode: “Speak your mind even if your voice shakes.” Unknown Be sure to follow us on social media! Facebook Instagram Twitter Pinterest #gritandgracelife

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Why I Won’t Be Posting #metoo

As the #metoo movement sweeps social media, I have had a lot to think through. I am a part of that statistic, and I cannot deny that there is part of posting “#metoo” that is intriguing. Could it be that our society is finally ready to accept the ugly truth and see that your barista, the girl from your Intro to Comp class, your coworker, your friend, your cousin, was in some form sexually harassed and/or assaulted? Could it be that it is finally okay to let my guard down? Is it okay to let the whole world know that this month marks 9 years since I was #metoo’d? It could be for some. But for me it’s a no. Don’t get

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Overcoming Shame from Abuse in a Grit and Grace Life

If you were a victim of child abuse or neglect like me, you very likely have experienced or do experience some level of shame. In my case, it plagued me for many years, yet I had no idea what it even was. Shame from abuse is hard to pin down because it assumes many forms. But it has the same message. It tells us that we are inferior, a mistake, fundamentally flawed. Shame is not the same as guilt. Shame focuses on self. Guilt focuses on behavior. Shame says that “I am bad.” Guilt says that “I did something bad.” Instead of saying “I made a mistake,” a person who experiences shame says that “I am a mistake.” Think of shame as

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