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This post contains descriptions of child sexual abuse.

“Close your eyes and think back to your very first memory. You might remember playing dress up; riding your bicycle; or opening presents on Christmas morning. The very first memories I have are of being sexually abused at my daycare until sometime before my fourth birthday. I remember trying to hide in the playhouse or under my cot during naptime so he couldn’t find me. I was one of at least six children encountering sexual violence at that daycare.

I am considered one of the “lucky” survivors of sexual violence because my perpetrator went to jail. According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, less than 3% of perpetrators will ever be incarcerated. The man who raped me was sentenced to 18 years in jail for his crimes – while there is no world in which that would be enough time, it was a plea deal that didn’t force several little girls to face a trial.

Sexual violence follows you

I was in emotional shock during my freshman year of college, after hearing the news that the man who abused me had been released from prison on good behavior  – my body went into survival mode. I couldn’t eat; I couldn’t sleep. Every time I closed my eyes I would see him, hear him, and remember what happened.

I left every light in my apartment on at night and tried to drown out my thoughts with the blasting noise from the TV or by finding the bottom of a liquor bottle. By the time the sun was rising, I finally had reached the point of exhaustion and could get a few hours of sleep.

I would run, not walk, to my car even during the day. I was so irrationally paranoid that now that he was out of prison, he would come find me. I stopped going to class. I stopped going to work. I essentially stopped living my life and was very much in the throes of complex post-traumatic stress disorder.

The time and space it takes to heal doesn’t happen in a vacuum.

Healing is a process

My healing was messy and occurred in front of my family, my friends, my coworkers…but I had to keep moving forward. I did several years of support groups and intense individual therapy.

Eventually the fears, the nightmares, the disassociation…they started to go away, and I felt present in my life. It took me seven years, but I graduated from college with Summa Cum Laude honors at the top of my class. The power I felt like he had over me disappeared.

The thing that irritates me the most about being a sexual violence survivor is that it never truly goes away. The minute you think you’re healed for good; something will trigger you and send you right back to that therapy couch.

I’m a survivor who focuses on continued healing.

I’m able to recognize when I’m struggling and need additional support. I am also at a place in my healing where I feel ready to find my voice. I am proud to partner with MOCSA to bring you this story of hope and insight into the life of a survivor.

The community I grew up in didn’t have a place like MOCSA, and I can’t help but imagine how differently my life could have looked if we had. MOCSA could have helped my parents through that legal process. They could have helped us apply for Victim Compensation and get us signed up for therapy. MOCSA could have just been a caring voice to tell my parents it wasn’t their fault. The holistic view of victim support could have set my entire family on the path to healing so much sooner. But we didn’t have MOCSA then.

The Kansas City Metro is so blessed to have MOCSA and access to advocates that will show up to the hospital in the middle of the night for sexual assault exams; to have people staffing a crisis line 24/7 for anyone who needs support, to have educators teaching age-appropriate material to students of all ages, and to have other survivors brave enough to share our stories offering connection.

The two biggest avenues of healing for me have been support groups and therapy. MOCSA offers both of those things for absolutely free to the whole community!

MOCSA is the reason I have been able to find my power and my strength, and the reason I am a strong survivor.

Sarah Noble

Sarah Noble

MOCSA Volunteer & 2022 Night Out With MOCSA Survivor Speaker

Sarah began volunteering for MOCSA in 2021 and has been actively involved in the speakers bureau and the Sexual Assault Awareness Month committee. She was the survivor speaker at Night Out with MOCSA and this is her speech which elicited a standing ovation after and helped MOCSA raise more than $330,000. Sarah’s passion, voice, and commitment to survivors is invaluable and we are grateful for her contributions.