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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One Day, One Moment, At A Time

When I was 18, I ran away from home. I left my house with a small garbage bag of clothing, got into the car of an almost stranger, and refused to look in the rear view...

When I was 18, I ran away from home. I left my house with a small garbage bag of clothing, got into the car of an almost stranger, and refused to look in the rear view as we drove away. I was terrified of what the future held, but I was even more terrified to spend another day in that house. I knew that if I had stayed, I would die. My Step Father started physically abusing me at a very young age, but the sexual abuse started on my 12th birthday. Over time, the abuse got worse and more severe, eventually, when I was 15, he took me out of school and kept me close to him almost 24//7. I never thought I would escape, and even a few times,I tried to take my own life. After I left, he tracked me down to the state that I moved to, harassed me for years, came to my new State that I live in now, and last year, we came face to face once more. I never believed I could work through all that happened, and hated myself for what happened to me. I blamed myself for every bruise, every scar,every broken bone, and every panic attack/flashback I had. I found the Joyful Heart Foundation, and through the stories of others, I found the courage within me to stand up and fight for myself like I never had the courage to do before. I found a courage and strength that I didn't even know existed, and I turned it around. I realized I was NOT to blame for what he did to me, and I also realized that what he did, what he allowed others to do to me, did not define me at all. It wasn't overnight, but I was finally able to look in the mirror, and not hate what I saw staring back at me. I had an amazing therapist, I found the Joyful Heart Foundation, and seeing all these other people coming forward with the "No More" campaign, I found my voice again. I am so grateful, to Mariska, The JHF, My Therapist, and all of the other people out there, who have inspired me to continue my fight, when there was a time that I thought there was no way possible I could get through this. I'm 29 now, and while I'm not exactly where I want to be, I know that one day I will be, and if you find yourself in that position too, don't give up. There's hope and healing, and I promise you, you're not alone.

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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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Light after almost ten years in darkness

How one person can change it all, but this time for the good! There's been a change in me, cause I'm not alone anymore, I don't feel alone anymore. Almost...

How one person can change it all, but this time for the good! There's been a change in me, cause I'm not alone anymore, I don't feel alone anymore. Almost ten years I kept my mouth shut about what happened to me. Shame, pain, anger... Than this year I was rehearsing for a musical in my city. One day my choreographer came up to me, she hugged me and said: I'm here, you're not alone. For the first time, I talked about it, knowing she understood. And although it was very hard to finally speak out, I'm happy that I did. Admitting it happened, helps me recover. I always said to myself that I was strong enough to do it alone, but I wasn't. And, we don't have to be strong enough to do it alone! I let people in, gave them a chance to be there for me. We're not alone in this! After all the darkness, all these years, trying to do good for everyone, except myself, now I learn how to chase back to the light, because I deserve to be happy!! :)

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Learning to live again after 22 years of abuse

This past year has been my personal best EVER. I finally stood up for my son, and myself - against my abuser. As I was having a near-panic attack in the courthouse... we...

This past year has been my personal best EVER. I finally stood up for my son, and myself - against my abuser. As I was having a near-panic attack in the courthouse... we were alone near a court elevator and he opened his mouth... the cunning commentary that came from his lips.. didn't kill me.. but empowered me! I actually FELT the SHIFT of POWER leave him and RETURN to ME!!!! Since that day, I have stepped boldly, strongly, courageously, and learned to truly lead a life of which I am so proud, and so independent, and ever so grateful that I got a second chance to live a happy life outside the confines of abuse. I am honored that I have stood up and now speak out, as living testimony that you, too can not only survive on your own, but BE that example to your child why you shouldn't stay in an abusive marriage! I got me back, and love myself again!!

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No More Loneliness

My moment of healing, of awakening, of actually acknowledging what happened to me as a child and then again in college began when I realized that not only was I not so...

My moment of healing, of awakening, of actually acknowledging what happened to me as a child and then again in college began when I realized that not only was I not so alone in everything I was feeling stemming from my sexual abuse, but that there was an entire community of support out there because there were lots of people who were hurting just like me. Although the numbers are unfortunate, there was healing in knowing that I was not alone when I became acquainted with people I connected with through JHF and through just being fans of the show. Sometimes I still have bad days or find myself triggered by things but I'm energized, strengthened and inspired when I see people like Maile Zambuto, Peter Hermann, AnnaLynne McCord, and Stephanie Chard continue to speak out and banish silence into the darkness and create their own light. Makes me want to do the same.

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stop silence, stop suffering

My name is Manon. I've 18 years old and i'm french. And here, you have my story: I was sexually abused when I was 12 years old. I kept silent three years,...

My name is Manon. I've 18 years old and i'm french. And here, you have my story: I was sexually abused when I was 12 years old. I kept silent three years, but during those three years, I became depressed, suicidal , anorexic. I was dirty, shameful , ugly. This guy was my brother's bestfriend . And my friend too. I saw him often , he had the opportunity to hurt me , and he put me lower than the earth . I was just a child. And one day, after having lost 13 kg, during the medical visit at my college it's the nurse who became aware of my anorexia. Everything went very quickly. she made me talk . I was delivered , finally. Police, judge , everything. it was considered , but not guilty. police considered "an teenage experience" , because at the time it was no older to 16 years. When he rape me I said " no", "stop ", " you can't ", he doesn't stopped . It was not considered rape as such. And the police considered it not an sexual assault. Drug, addiction, no friends, no love, destroyed at only 15 years. I have not been a teenager, I grew up too fast. more quickly than others. others do not interessaint me. I was alone, harassed by others and by my past. Besides that , my brother went to live with my mother because my father hit him violently. He left the house. And my father hit me at me . He hit me once . Then two. Three ... five ... ten times. growing stronger each time . He said it was my fault that he hit me . child beaten and raped, it's me. I moved with my mother 5 years after my brother , I suffered because of my father for 5 years after my brother left home . more rape. more the rejection another. more my scarification . live in silence , yet. When it will finally stop? And then there was this sudden change in my life. I met some wonderful people who give love to my life , who guiding me has a very good psychologist, who made ​​me regain confidence in me, who showed me that I had a values ​​and I was not "nothing" or " a shit " or "good for nothing " or " dirty girl ." I started to change , I have my confidence back . I found a second family , this family? Scouts of France . they me saved . They know that my history is realy difficult. But they have always supported me. Today, i myself am. I live again. I have my history, and i live with. My life is much joyfull. I've changed, I would definitely never again the same, but I grew up , I am a good person and I do good around me. An part of my life is also engraved in my skin. I made ​​ tattoo the phrase " our best " in french, because I always wanted to get me by , I have doing my best to get me by , and they have helped me to get myself out , so together we do "our best " . I'm these children affected by the violence of a father and victim of the sexual crime of a teen judged not guilty, but i'm alive. No more.

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Thankful

In 2014 after seeing all these brave persons through the No More program, I collected my thoughts and emotions and I was finally able to open up to both of my siblings...

In 2014 after seeing all these brave persons through the No More program, I collected my thoughts and emotions and I was finally able to open up to both of my siblings that I was sexually molested by a "dear uncle" during my childhood from the age of 4 yrs old to my early teens. Being able to share my fears and thoughts was a huge relief. Every day is an improvement and slowly I have made progress into breaking the silence and stop blaming my self.#NoMore#thankful#noexcuses#nomorefear

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"Good Progression"

The moment that stands out in my mind is the moment I felt I "mattered". My best friend & I not only had the opportunity to meet the woman we call our...

The moment that stands out in my mind is the moment I felt I "mattered". My best friend & I not only had the opportunity to meet the woman we call our hero, Mariska Hargitay, but to also share our own personal stories and idea for the "No More" campaign with her. She LISTENED to us. She HEARD us. She told us we MATTER. That moment is what I'm most thankful for. After years of being silenced by fear and shame, we can finally break that silence with the help of the Joyful Heart Foundation and all its supporters and advocates. From the bottom of my (joyful) heart- I thank you!

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one moment at a time

I am about to turn 30. I am just now accepting that I was abused. That I did not ask for, deserve, agree to the things that were done to me. A friend, a therapist, 2...

I am about to turn 30. I am just now accepting that I was abused. That I did not ask for, deserve, agree to the things that were done to me. A friend, a therapist, 2 strangers, an acquaintance, and my supposed best friend. A span of 15 years. I have blamed, shamed, hurt, hated myself.I have used and misused and given up food. I have struggled with drugs. I have contemplated suicide. I am healing. I am determined to not only live but to thrive. I am working towards the day where I can proudly say that I have been a victim, but I am a survivor. I am still learning how to love myself. I still have night terrors. I still hear them behind me. I still smell them. I still feel them. I still have daily panic attacks. But I am getting stronger. I am still here. They did not defeat me. The night I was tied to my bed and raped by a friend I ended up pregnant. I decided to keep my daughter. I lost her at 7 months. I have been through hell and I have kept going. I will not give up. I am a survivor!

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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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no justice, but I've moved forward

When i was four years old I was sexually abused by the babysitter son, she was supposed to keep us safe protect us but i guess that was asking too much, my brother at...

When i was four years old I was sexually abused by the babysitter son, she was supposed to keep us safe protect us but i guess that was asking too much, my brother at the age of6 knew what that boy was doing to us was wrong he told my mother and she immediately took action, she talked to the judge and was informed the boy was too young to prosecute, he was 13 yes he was 12 years old we never got justice, but because of JHF we have a voice and together we can raise awareness thank you JHF victims all you do.

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Justice is coming

Arizona is finally changing their ways. Its long over due. Holding test kits because a victim was not able to get her abuser to admit what he did on a recorded phone...

Arizona is finally changing their ways. Its long over due. Holding test kits because a victim was not able to get her abuser to admit what he did on a recorded phone line is UNACCEPTABLE. It is no surprise that so many victims do not come forward after being assaulted. Its another assault to ask someone to "pretend to have liked" what happened just to get a verbal confirmation from an assailant. http://azcops.org/arizona-law-enforcement-revising-stance-on-rape-kits/ Hopefully the 4000+ test kits to be "reopened" bring justice to the victims in Arizona.

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Educating

I work as an elementary school teacher and sadly I'm confronted with sexual abuse and especially domestic violence against children on a regular basis. Thank you...

I work as an elementary school teacher and sadly I'm confronted with sexual abuse and especially domestic violence against children on a regular basis. Thank you all at JFH for your educational work, for being an inspiration and for your unending compassion towards survivors. Here's to hoping that you might consider going international in 2015 so light could be brought back into even more people's lives.

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I'm grateful I'm able to see such an amazing level of awareness being spread in my lifetime. Seeing this kind of change from ignorance, by-standing & blind excuses to support, understanding & love is what a powerful movement is made of. I want to support survivors and change for many years to come.

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