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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Finding Hope

I was sexually abused starting at the age of 3, however I also experienced physical/verbal/emotional abuse throughout my life. I had developed C-PTSD by the age of 4 and...

I was sexually abused starting at the age of 3, however I also experienced physical/verbal/emotional abuse throughout my life. I had developed C-PTSD by the age of 4 and chronic depression by the age of 10. I spent years trying to take my life and finally resigned myself to living alone in the darkness that is surviving. In fall 2013 my best friend finally sat me down and helped me contact a therapist. 18 months later I have found hope and while that first therapist has now moved, I will never forget her. My current therapist is just as amazing and has helped me grow even more. I have now started a support group in my area for others who have survived. I know now it wasn't my fault. There is hope, there is light, and there is joy in this world. I have felt joy for the first time in my life. I have hope that I can thrive now and maybe one day have a family. My story is just beginning.

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Bound by 20 years of silence

My moment, is of more than just healing, joy and gratitude, for it is a moment of all 3! I want to thank JHF and Mariska and all involved for all that they have done. My...

My moment, is of more than just healing, joy and gratitude, for it is a moment of all 3! I want to thank JHF and Mariska and all involved for all that they have done. My entire childhood I was abused both physically and sexually, I have been raped 6 times, sodomized 3, and molested, that is not the end of my abuse, I was also verbally and emotionally abused. I told no one, for 20 years I pretended it didn't happen until June 2014 I told my story for the first time. I am no longer a victim to the assault, the abuse or the worst of it all SILENCE! I am going to reclaim my life, it may take a while but if I have lived through the abuse, I will survive the recovery. Thank you all at JHF and Mariska for letting me know that my story, my feelings and myself matter. My life has been forever CHANGED! "Survivors who have been through horrific , unfair experiences, they have this will, when they get support, a chance, they can not only survive but they can THRIVE"- Olivia Benson

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im a survivor

hi my name is tia i live in Arizona and im adoppted by my beautiful family at age 4 when i was in the orphanage i was wape by a guy and girl and whould do horrible...

hi my name is tia i live in Arizona and im adoppted by my beautiful family at age 4 when i was in the orphanage i was wape by a guy and girl and whould do horrible things to me and at first i whouldt tell anybody about it because i flet ashame of what they did to me and when i was adopppted my parents where noitce some odd things about me i whould kick theam bite theam and whould not let theam touch me and act out in school then they took me to a doctor and that is when they dicovered that i had bipolar and attachment disoder and other things and they took me to a theapepist and that is whene they found out that i was sexrely abuse and i keep thinking it was my fault i had to talk about it a lot and sence i got older i relise that i didt do wrong they did i finley flet free to finley relize that it was not my fault it was there,s flet free to be out of that place and now have a great loveing parents and brother so that is why i support no more and to show victims that they are survivers

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Stronger Than I Thought

The weekend of Thanksgiving 2015, I was drugged and sexually assaulted by a college student. I woke up the next morning to find myself in a bed with him, and when I had...

The weekend of Thanksgiving 2015, I was drugged and sexually assaulted by a college student. I woke up the next morning to find myself in a bed with him, and when I had fallen asleep I know that I know, that I was on the couch. When i disclosed to my friend (after 5 very longs hours), she kept making excuses for him. I then found out that she had helped planned the events of that night and was a huge part of what had happened to me. I was not only violated, but I was strangled and it caused a lot of problems. I still have a hard time talking, because it feels like my vocal chords are still crushed. This experience changed my life forever, and I will never be the same. It changed the way I view a lot of humanity both negatively and positively. I had taken a picture the morning I woke up to document the amount of time it took for all the bruising to go away, and although I am really nervous to be sharing this with all of you, I want this to help someone. You are not alone. The one quote I turn to often is, "You survived what you thought would kill you. Now straighten your crown and move forward like the queen you are." I hope this can help someone, like it helped me. Because of what happened to me I now have a bigger heart for survivors. I want to help every person who has walked through this. I want turn change the rape culture around so much that when someone says "rape culture", no one in the room even knows what they are talking about.

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Sexual Assault at 15

I am a victim of sexual assault, but also a survivor of it. I was sexually assaulted by my choir director during a voice lesson. It has now been 14 years since that...

I am a victim of sexual assault, but also a survivor of it. I was sexually assaulted by my choir director during a voice lesson. It has now been 14 years since that happened to me. I never spoke up and so justice was never served. I live with the what if's and wonder how many others fell victim because I was afraid to speak up. I truly appreciate your founder Mariska Hargitay for starting this foundation to bring awareness to just how often this happens and to help us realize that we should not be afraid to speak up. Thank you and your foundation and foundation so very much.

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Possibilities

I cannot begin to express my gratitude for the people who gave me support and guidance through my journey of discovery and healing. A victim of childhood sexual abuse...

I cannot begin to express my gratitude for the people who gave me support and guidance through my journey of discovery and healing. A victim of childhood sexual abuse and abuse and violence in what should have been safe..my own home and my first husband. When faced with the shame and disgust I felt towards myself... I found there are people who care. It started with my therapist, my very supportive second husband of 30 years and discovering Joyful Heart. I can honestly say I love who I am. I now do everything I can to help, so children and anyone who has had to go through this familiar pain, have the tools and resources to get the help they need.

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God Restored My Health and Healed My Heart

I went through a completely dark time, a time when I felt doomed and utterly hopeless. I was depressed and anxiety-ridden. I was defeated. Worst of all, I was faith-less...

I went through a completely dark time, a time when I felt doomed and utterly hopeless. I was depressed and anxiety-ridden. I was defeated. Worst of all, I was faith-less. I was riddled by (undue) shame and guilt and felt that I couldn't even live in my own skin. I wanted to die. I wanted to kill myself. I prayed constantly but saw no change. I felt no difference. I was praying for things that were unhealthy for me. One day, against all odds, I surrendered to God. Now, six months later, I am healthy and happy. I am immensely grateful to God. I am excited about the future. I have a thirst for life. I survived.

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Grateful for the Joyful Heart community, from Mariska, the Board of Directors, the staff as well as all of the foundation supporters. Together we can make a difference.

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Justice Has Arrived

I have accepted my lack of receiving justice for my rape kit was lost in storage... But, I have witnessed thousands of survivors receive the precious chance of justice...

I have accepted my lack of receiving justice for my rape kit was lost in storage... But, I have witnessed thousands of survivors receive the precious chance of justice with the Tennessee General Assembly's approval to fund testing of backlogged rape kits.

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Healing and justice

I never received justice for my sexual assault or physical abuse. In fact, my abuser died. Finding the Joyful Heart Foundation, SVU, Mariska, has provided me with the...

I never received justice for my sexual assault or physical abuse. In fact, my abuser died. Finding the Joyful Heart Foundation, SVU, Mariska, has provided me with the justice and healing that I need. For years I couldn't share my story, I was depressed, angry, and stayed in bed all day everyday for months. I stumbled upon the foundation and Mariska and things slowly started to change. It was the first time that I learned that people care about me and wanted to help me! Thank you! Thank you for saving my life!

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This is my moment of change. Thanks JHF for helping me change into a bold and fearless survivor.

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Thank You Mariska

Mariska words cannot describe how inspiring you have been, you have given me the courage to tell my mom about how I was molested as a kid. The back story is that my...

Mariska words cannot describe how inspiring you have been, you have given me the courage to tell my mom about how I was molested as a kid. The back story is that my abuser was my neighbor who my family was very close to. I knew what he did to me but I never realized it was bad when it happened I was age 6-12 I was young I didn't know. I was friends with his niece and I told her what he did and she said he did it to her too. From then on I knew it wasn't good anymore so I kept my distance. I didn't want to tell anybody because he had a wife and a daughter and I didn't want to get him into any trouble. I'm 17 now and about a 3 months ago I told my mom I'm not sure why I waited so long, I guess I thought since I moved 5 hours away it wouldn't haunt me anymore. I use to cry about it at night because it still haunted me I felt so bad for my young self that I felt that way about him; not wanting him to get in trouble. You gave me the courage to tell my mom it wasn't easy at all but I knew if I told her a huge weight would be lifted off my chest and it did. I finally feel free and I feel like I can really be myself. I use to think of myself as worthless because someone took advantage of me I use to be the victim but now I'm the survivor and surviving feels great. It was such a long time ago but it hurt for a long time because it ruined my self esteem because I felt like anyone could take advantage of me like that. When it says "submit a moment of:" joy,healing,change, and gratitude really do apply to me. Thank you Mariska for everything you have done.

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Family Tree

My personal abuse survivor story. I hope to help others, and have created a charity which complements Joyful Heart called For Jessica, Inc. (www.for-jessica.org, www.facebook.com/forjessicaorg).

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