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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Learning to Love Myself and to Heal

I was sexually,physically, and emotionally abused from age 2 to 28, by people I heavily relied on to love and care for me. I was born with psychosis, which my traumatic...

I was sexually,physically, and emotionally abused from age 2 to 28, by people I heavily relied on to love and care for me. I was born with psychosis, which my traumatic experiences worsened. In adult life, while I worked, they kept stealing from me and continued hurting me. As a teen, I became a Christian, and felt obligated to extend unconditional "forgiveness" at the expense of my own hurt feelings. When I did this, one of my caretakers became even more abusive than before. This went on for many years. I have been married for 20 years now, and my children are teenagers. I have never abused them and have been kind to them. The abuse in my family tree--ends with Me, after 4 generations of abuse. I am in trauma therapy and seeing a psychiatrist. My story WILL be known. Keeping hurts a secret can serve to keep a person a victim and keep others from benefiting from sharing their experiences. I am now in my 50's. It's been a long journey of dissassociated memories coming back to mind.

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My life, and this work—the work that we are doing together—is a testament to the fact that healing is possible. That change is possible. That justice is possible. This captures a remarkable moment for me—one when I felt in my heart like never before that the end of violence and abuse is possible.

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It's time for a change

Recently a friend of mine posted on social media that they overheard an argument between their neighbors. My question to them was if they heard the argument turn violent...

Recently a friend of mine posted on social media that they overheard an argument between their neighbors. My question to them was if they heard the argument turn violent, what would they do. Their response was they would just roll over and go back to sleep. I would assume that is the same response many others would have, even if they wouldn't admit to it. Having been a victim of domestic violence myself, their response hurt a little bit, even though I know that was furthest from their intentions. It brought me back to the time that I was being hurt in my own home while one of my children were sleeping in the other room. I had finally had enough and went to call 911 on my phone when he snatched it out of my hands. I went to the room in which my son was sleeping and picked him up so we could leave. I knew he wouldn't hurt me with my son in my arms. I tried to leave and he blocked the door preventing me from being able to open it. I screamed for help as loud as I could over and over again until I was out of fight. No help ever came, and while I made myself believe for many years that help didn't come because no one heard it, I am sure it was just the opposite. I am sure someone heard me. We lived in a four plex unit with neighbors all around us. Like so many others, they chose not to help because they didn't want to get involved. It wasn't their business so they were going to stay out of it. We need to change that mindset. Being that woman who desperately wanted out and needed help from someone else, I know how hard it is for the next woman going through the same thing I went through. We can't just sit by and say, it is none of my business or I don't want to get in the middle of this. All you have to do is pick up the phone and report what you heard. Let an officer go to the home and do a welfare check. It could turn out to be something other than you thought it was, but what if it wasn't? What if your phone call prevented someone from getting another black eye or broken wrist? What if your call saved someone's life? The circumstances may not be your business, but what if this person was not able to get the help on their own no matter how badly they wanted to? By calling and reporting, you are opening a door for them. You are telling them someone has heard their cries and someone is there and able to help when they are ready for it. It is letting the abuser know that people won't just stand by and listen to this happen, that when they hear this happen they are going to call and report it. You may think you are going to make it worse, but to the person getting abused each day they are abused is the worst day of their life. If you don't call they will get abused, and if you do call and they make the choice to stay, they will still get abused. We need to stop standing by and pretending this doesn't exist. Pretending it doesn't exist won't make the violence go away, it will be an open door for the abusers to believe they can keep doing what they are doing with no repercussions. Be the change we need and speak out for all those people who feel they have no voice.Give them the voice they never thought they had.

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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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$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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Learning to Thrive more that Survive

As a woman who has my entire life described as strong it has taken 43 years to allow myself not to be. Being a "survivor" of child sexual abuse from the time...

As a woman who has my entire life described as strong it has taken 43 years to allow myself not to be. Being a "survivor" of child sexual abuse from the time I was 5 years old I truly have no other life experience to compare it to expect for the ones I imagined all the normal girls had. When you loose your virginty before you ever knew what it is you truly have no way of remembering a time before. I have survived these past 38 years and now I want more. I want to thrive in my life. What I finally have realized that if I allow myself to continue to see myself as an object to be used how could I ever expect anyone to see me any differently. If I can't love and cherish the little girl and woman in me I reallu will never know how I expect others to cherish or love me. I would not change my past for anything I tell my 3 boys that my past gave me super powers. I can see someone else's pain through a smile and I love how it allows me to connect to people. From this year foward I am focused on loving me through my pain and hope to Thrive!

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Thankful To Find Folks Who Care

I am so thankful to find organizations who attempt to do effective work. Violence and oppression against women is so rampant and overwhelming, yet I have hope and...

I am so thankful to find organizations who attempt to do effective work. Violence and oppression against women is so rampant and overwhelming, yet I have hope and encouragement as I seek healing and justice for myself and others. I want to establish positive and beautiful memories that will overcome the nightmares of the past. I am truly grateful.

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Survivor

I was a runner until my rapist dislocated my hip and the drs said I wouldn't run again. It has been almost 10 years and I can run 5 miles now!!! He doesn't get...

I was a runner until my rapist dislocated my hip and the drs said I wouldn't run again. It has been almost 10 years and I can run 5 miles now!!! He doesn't get to win! I am a survivor!

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Pure Joy

In August, I married the most kind, and patient man I know.

In August, I married the most kind, and patient man I know.

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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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Fifteen Years Later

The first time I was sexually assaulted I was five, then again at fourteen, again by my best friend and her boyfriend and his friend at the age of twenty after they...

The first time I was sexually assaulted I was five, then again at fourteen, again by my best friend and her boyfriend and his friend at the age of twenty after they drugged me. Lastly, around the same time as the last starting at the age of 19. For two and a half years I was not only sexually assaulted, but I was mentally and physically abused by my boyfriend. My church youth leader that I told when I was fourteen, comforted me then comforted my abuser even more because "he must be going through a lot to have done something like that." I finally saw a therapist that specialized in sexual abuse. She was sexually abused as well and projected her abuse and issues on to me as well as other patients and lost her license after my parents as well as others turned her in. I never got help after that. Needless to say, I've been emotionally stuck in my early twenties for a long time. I'm thirty-five now. Last year, I finally told my mother about the abuse at the hands of my best friend and my boyfriend after finding the courage to write Mariska an email and tell her first. Mariska was the first person I'd ever told. In this past year, I've healed so much all because I was finally able to voice my abuse. Not only emotionally, but physically as well. I've had horrible health problems for the past ten years and since I voiced my abuse! my health has improved greatly.

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Fearlessness

I was in a severely abusive relationship for about 6 months when I was dating a guy I met my senior year of high school. There were times that he beat me until I was...

I was in a severely abusive relationship for about 6 months when I was dating a guy I met my senior year of high school. There were times that he beat me until I was unconscious and times my skin was so bruised that I didn't recognize who I was. Each time, I wished that I would have died so I wouldn't have to endure the pain I was in. I thought I deserved everything he threw at me and that I didn't deserve to get help from friends and family I had pushed away in the process. I had never told anyone what had happened to me until I decided to just write my story out and put it in the mail to someone who deeply cares about what happened during those 6 months and the time I managed to leave my abuser. I'm a junior in college now where I'm studying to be an elementary school teacher and happier than ever. If you would have asked me 3 years ago if I would be standing here today, genuinely happy, I would have told you you were crazy. I'm so glad I stuck around to see today and the future.

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no more secrets

We need to learn its okay to say "no more." As abuse is safer to talk about we will have more healing. And ultimately more perpetrators facing justice &...

We need to learn its okay to say "no more." As abuse is safer to talk about we will have more healing. And ultimately more perpetrators facing justice & hopefully not able to hurt others. I was abused as a child. It feels liberating to say those words without shame.

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