Your Moments

Your support has made many remarkable moments possible in our work to heal, educate and empower. Your commitment, your resolve and your belief in change inspire us every day. We've launched this platform for you to share your own meaningful moments right here. Whether words, an image or a video, we invite you to contribute your moment of joy, gratitude, healing, change, hope, progress—anything significant to you. 

We also ask that you consider making a donation—any amount that is meaningful to you—to support Joyful Heart’s transformative work. 

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I'm not just a survivor, I'm just Katie

Almost 7 years have gone by. I blocked out what he had done for 4 years until a memory, a flashback, a realization came in like a flood. And no matter how hard I wanted...

Almost 7 years have gone by. I blocked out what he had done for 4 years until a memory, a flashback, a realization came in like a flood. And no matter how hard I wanted to, there was no going back. I had to face it. He raped me. He took my virginity and all my innocence. Right in my own bed. There are some things I will never remember. Like the day or days it happened. What exactly was said. But there are many things I do remember. It was right around my 21st birthday. I remember him convincing my sick and over emotional mind that my neighbor was a predator and that he could protect me. I never imagined that the predator would be my friend’s husband. That it was he I needed protecting from. He did everything he could to get my neighbor out of my life. He would spend the night in my bedroom on an air mattress the first few times. And then he sweet talked his way into my bed. And he sweet talked his way inside me. I don’t remember exactly what he said. It could have been something like “I’m going to show you how a real man does it” or “Sex will get rid of your headache.” He never said so, but he implied that he was protecting me from my neighbor so I needed to thank him. He never said it in those words but that’s what he did. It was soon after that. That I did my last, but serious suicide attempt. I hated myself, who I had become. That I had slept with my friend’s husband (though now I know it was really rape) and what a deadbeat loser I was. Other factors played into it. And I knew it was time to exit the world, that no one would miss me. I downed probably close to a bottle of Tylenol PM, crying the whole time. I must have gotten scared and had second thoughts. Maybe God reached out to me. Because I called myself an ambulance. I went to the ER. They pumped my stomach. Stuck a tube right down my throat and just to be safe, made me drink the gosh-awful charcoal to absorb all the poison in my system After all that, my neighbor came to the ER. He saw the EMT’s take me away and he never felt so sick in all his life. Despite the temporary restraining order my abuser convinced me to get on him, despite everything. He came to see me. To tell me that nothing was worth me dying over. He stayed with me until I was taken to the psych ward. And he came and visited me every day until I returned home. We realized we loved each other and didn’t want to live a day without one another. We knew we were going to spend the rest of our lives together. He used to hold my hand and make me feel safe until I fell asleep. But he never made me do anything I didn’t want to. I decided that summer, the summer I turned 21 (a few months after my rape or rapes that it was time to get my life together and be someone worth loving. I finally quit cutting, blocked everything out that had to do with him or pain, or my old life. Only moving forward. It was shortly after that, that I received my temporary job trial at the library which ended up becoming permanent. I put everything into becoming a new person. In hindsight, it was probably triggered or set off by the trauma I went through. I had to do anything and everything I could do to forget. Yes, I’d see him, he even showed up at the apartment once or twice. But, I pretended like we were friends and it was normal. I do remember pretending, pretending, pretending. Anything to keep that out of my mind, and my new happy life. It caught up with me a few years later. I could no longer deny what happened, and that something had to have happened to cause me this much pain and trauma. In therapy I remember talking about him and what he did and going “it’s almost like he raped me.” And after that it was like “oh my gosh. He did” So, for the past three years I have been going through what I should have right after it happened. It happened almost 7 years ago, but feels like it was not long ago. Now, I’m on the long journey of healing. To finding myself and to forgiving myself. There is no going back, only forward! I have taken great strides and have come so far in my recovery. I still border between survivor and thriver, but I’m working hard to stick with one… Thriving! I have talked opening about what happened to me with my therapist and close friends and blogging. And while I’ll still be blogging, my goals are to focus less on what he did, what happened to me and how I can actively take back my life, and be the best Katie I can be! I’m also going to focus more on my self care, and be more fair to myself. My name is Katie, something bad happened to me but it no longer defines me. I’m not a victim or survivor, I’m just Katie.

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Miracles Do Happen

2014 was a very dark year for me - probably my darkest ever - but in the midst of that darkness, several very special and beautiful lights appeared in my life. These...

2014 was a very dark year for me - probably my darkest ever - but in the midst of that darkness, several very special and beautiful lights appeared in my life. These people helped me to keep on going despite the overwhelming despair that made me not want to. Their appearance in my life showed me that the most unexpected and miraculous things can be waiting for you just around the corner, so it made me realize that perhaps it's possible that one day I will heal and that my life will feel worth living again, even though it still feels impossible right now. But maybe things won't always be this painful. And maybe the future has some more good things in store, things that I can't even conceive of yet, but I'll only experience that goodness if I remain alive. My gratitude for these earth angels who have given me this hope is immeasurable.

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I did an ice bucket challenge to raise awareness for ALS, but also in honour of the Joyful Heart Foundation and End The Backlog. So important to me to spread the word in the UK about the amazing changes you are creating. From the bottom of my now joyful heart, thank you.

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Healing

A few weeks ago, from No More's facebook page, I read a testimonial. Couldn't have been longer than 300 words, but they spoke straight to my soul. They laid...

A few weeks ago, from No More's facebook page, I read a testimonial. Couldn't have been longer than 300 words, but they spoke straight to my soul. They laid out perfectly something I have been feeling and experiencing for almost 10 years - something that I have never been able to put words to, or understand. I can't tell you how freeing it was to read those words, to finally understand. It all makes sense now, I feel like I can finally move forward in my journey towards true healing. Thank you, thank you for all the support and encouragement you give to all of us.

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Sharing the Joy with a friend

This year I've been able to share healing joy with a dear friend. And be able to support the JHF.

This year I've been able to share healing joy with a dear friend. And be able to support the JHF.

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Last day of Chemotherapy

My twenty five year old son has been going through chemotherapy treatments for almost a year. He has had a very difficult road. For 4months and 20 day he was in traction...

My twenty five year old son has been going through chemotherapy treatments for almost a year. He has had a very difficult road. For 4months and 20 day he was in traction. And going through treatment. He lost his job and he was in the Air Force. He has Ewing's sarcoma in his left femur. I bought Mark's book. I am not looking for anything I just want mark to know he was an inspiration for me and my husband. Nick is his name. His last treatment was last week. We are grateful and scared for the future.

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Survivor for 5 years

After much therapy, realization and education Im beginning to get used to the fact I didnt deserve it. I was in a same-sex relationship for 5 years, but I didnt hear...

After much therapy, realization and education Im beginning to get used to the fact I didnt deserve it. I was in a same-sex relationship for 5 years, but I didnt hear much about that type of violence. I was so emotionally blind and felt it was my duty to take care of her and make her feel better after she beat the shit out of me, I comforted her. I still keep the ring that cut up my face and affected my eyesight, although Im fine now physically, emotionally I still dont let myself believe it. I want the glbtq community to know that again, violence is violence, its wrong, get out.

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Recovery

I haven't had a hospital stay in over a year and that is a big deal to me. I continue to focus on being healthy and happy. I am grateful to have a treatment team...

I haven't had a hospital stay in over a year and that is a big deal to me. I continue to focus on being healthy and happy. I am grateful to have a treatment team that I can trust, I still have my difficult times. I have fears and doubt. I have met amazing and courageous people on my journey who have helped teach me to never give up. No More.

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Heart Opening

I was sexually abused as a child, by a girl I grew up with. I told no one for a decade. Through years of therapy, prayer and soul searching I was able to forgive her and...

I was sexually abused as a child, by a girl I grew up with. I told no one for a decade. Through years of therapy, prayer and soul searching I was able to forgive her and move on. I resigned myself at 19-20 to a life of being single, believing that I was damaged goods and no man could love me. However God had other plans. Years of therapy with an incredible counselor helped change my warped view of thinking. What truly terrified me was the knowledge that at some point I would have to share that painful part of my past. Fast forward to today: I'm in a healthy, beautiful relationship with the most amazing man I have ever met! We have been dating for over 8 months and no problems of any sort. He knows about what happened to me as a child, he's been amazing. I got to meet Mariska back in 2005. I hugged her and said 'It was so hard to survive this alone.' Her response was simple, 'But you did it.' Four words that forever changed my way of thinking, opened my heart to a world of possibilities

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Looking forward to life

It has been 13 months since I've seen my soon-to-be ex-husband. My husband and I were married for 12 years and have a 10-year-old daughter. I had moved to where he...

It has been 13 months since I've seen my soon-to-be ex-husband. My husband and I were married for 12 years and have a 10-year-old daughter. I had moved to where he lived, leaving behind my home, friends, family, and a good job. His abuse began after we were married: the isolation, mean words, subtle putdowns, pushing. I felt so alone. Where was the man I thought I was marrying? Then came the holes in the walls and yelling. It was like living with a wrecking ball. There was no moderation. I was either a saint or that bitch he married. He was either high on happiness or high on anger, and look out when the ball would swing. He broke things that belonged to me or my daughter. He threatened to hurt the dog. He would tell me to "go home". Everything was my fault. He rarely took responsibility for anything. Nothing was ever enough for him. Then he hit me. He threw me into the wall. Smashed things. Told our daughter he was going to kill himself and that she was to blame. I covered up, fixed holes, cleaned up, and wiped tears. I cried all the time. Every time I heard him drive into the driveway, I cringed. I thought: "If I just love him more, show him more respect, tell him what a good job he's doing, it will be better." I tried doctors, therapists, psychiatrists, and priests. He was fired from his job because he didn't go to work. He started to walk around naked in front of our daughter. My daughter would ask, "Is it my fault?" I am an educated, confident, resourceful woman. He started a new job but very quickly he felt the work was beneath him. One night, he put his arm around my throat, cut off my air, and almost broke my neck. I had no more to give. My daughter witnessed this. I got an order of protection and am getting a divorce. I don't miss him. I don't wonder how he is. My daughter asked: "How do you love someone you don't trust?" Good question. I have flash backs. Last week, a truck just like his passed me on the road. I jumped. I couldn't breathe. I was shaking. My eyes filled with tears. Yesterday, my daughter looked at me, started to cry, and said, "I'm having a hard time. I'm afraid he'll come back." And I said to her, "We are moving forward. We're looking for a new house. You start at a new school in the fall. Don't ever forget the past. Focus on the future, because that's where we're going, and he's not in it."

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Forgiveness

Since my attack in May 2013, I have been able to forgive myself and others who didn't support my report. I am still struggling to forgive my attacker and the police...

Since my attack in May 2013, I have been able to forgive myself and others who didn't support my report. I am still struggling to forgive my attacker and the police officer who claimed I was lying but that will come in time.

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It's a never ending journey

Since becoming aware of all the outstanding work you do, I have finally been able to accept what happened to me. I have only told a handful of people what really...

Since becoming aware of all the outstanding work you do, I have finally been able to accept what happened to me. I have only told a handful of people what really happened, but that's more than I ever would have told if I didn't find the joyful heart foundation. I haven't been able to tell my family, I didn't report to the police, but by seeing the work you do, it inspired me to open up a little and begin healing. Two years ago I was brutally raped by two men, it was awful.. And I thought the only way to take away the pain of the memories was to hurt myself and eventually end my life... But today I stand proud, still battling with all different forms of self harm, but I'm am able to say I am in the process of healing because of the joyful heart foundation. Thank you so much. You saved my life, literally!!

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$76M to #ENDTHEBACKLOG

This fall, we celebrated as the Manhattan District Attorney's office announced a $35M commitment to ending the backlog through introducing a grant program that...

This fall, we celebrated as the Manhattan District Attorney's office announced a $35M commitment to ending the backlog through introducing a grant program that would help jurisdictions seeking rape kit reform. Less than a month later, a federal spending bill including $41M to address the backlog of untested rape kits passed Congress and was signed into effect by President Obama. We are grateful for these victories and look forward to seeing how this funding will reform criminal justice response to rape, re-engage survivors and bring offenders to justice.

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