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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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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Blossoming to Healing

MY moment...can be characterized as a healing process. Being the 21 year old former foster care youth, former cutter, and being a abuse victim I look at my life as a...

MY moment...can be characterized as a healing process. Being the 21 year old former foster care youth, former cutter, and being a abuse victim I look at my life as a healing process. I look at my life as a butterfly, right now i am in my cocoon but in the final stages before i blossom into a butterfly. I came to a realization a couple of months ago when i stopped cutting that everyday wont be perfect but on the other hand everyday wont be filled with flash backs and nightmares. Everyday is a chance to forgive that person that has committed the ultimate betrayal and hurt me, everyday is a chance for me to achieve my goal to make it to 1 year old not cutting, everyday is a chance for me to achieve my goal of finding somewhere i can call home, everyday is a chance for me to be able to get a degree and be a trauma therapist. See healing can be hard, every hard but as long as you wake everyday and say to yourself "You are special and Your past is what makes you the wonderful person you are.

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The Woman Who Saved My Life

She is my third therapist. They've all helped in some way but Jennifer is different. She gets more than anyone I've ever known how much it doesn't matter...

She is my third therapist. They've all helped in some way but Jennifer is different. She gets more than anyone I've ever known how much it doesn't matter how many years have past since my rapist - my father- died. The trauma is still fresh. He started raping me when I was four and sold me to other men as I got older. I didn't start dealing with it until my thirties. Everyone thinks I should just be over it by now. Not Jennifer. She knows I'm not. She lets me call her in the middle of the night when a flashback wakes me up. She holds me in therapy and lets me cry. She is my angel. My salvation.

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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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Meeting Mariska & Maile outside the NASDAQ opening, thanking them for saving my life, and getting a hug from them that put a piece of me back together, a piece that had been broken for far too long.

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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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I learned to be fearless in many areas.

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Why Me

From the age of 9 until i turned 14 years old I was constantly rapped by my older cousin. We are 5 years apart in age. My parents would let him come over and babysit me...

From the age of 9 until i turned 14 years old I was constantly rapped by my older cousin. We are 5 years apart in age. My parents would let him come over and babysit me and my younger bother. I would try to think of every reason for them not to go out. I would act out tell them lies about what him hitting my younger brother. A lot of people will ask " why didnt you just tell?" I didn't tell because I had a friend who was going through the same situation and her mama never believed her. So i kind of felt my mom would act the same. I also didn't want to mess my family up. But one night my mom walked in on him during the act. Yes, he called the police had him put away. My whole reason for this story is just to say, Dont wait get help. If not from parents go tell someone else. It took years before I became myself. I had to think about it as I wont let him mess up my life. I dont dwell on the past anymore. I have to do whats right for me and only me. I have forgave him but I will NEVER FORGET.

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HELPFUL HEALING

As a young girl I was sexually abused, and when I told people they never believed me and I felt like no one cared enough to help me. I decided that I wanted to help...

As a young girl I was sexually abused, and when I told people they never believed me and I felt like no one cared enough to help me. I decided that I wanted to help children so they would have to never feel like they didn't matter. Today I work in a crisis unit that deals with sexual abused children. In helping these children I have helped my own self. I can look back on my childhood and I can say what started out as evil has made me stronger and I am able to help others.

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Changing the conversation

These issues are hard to talk about. I am so inspired by the incredible people who have stepped forward to share so openly. Join the conversation. #NOMORE

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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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Forgiveness

I'm learning to heal with time, and it's hard, but it's worth it.

I'm learning to heal with time, and it's hard, but it's worth it.

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Becoming a voice

Mariska Hargitay and the JHF have encouraged me to tell my story and to nit be silent anymore. I have committed to saying no more. I even sent in my abuse survivor...

Mariska Hargitay and the JHF have encouraged me to tell my story and to nit be silent anymore. I have committed to saying no more. I even sent in my abuse survivor story. Thank you for the courage.

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