Our messages to survivors

Message 3

I want to tell you that no matter what you have been through, your experience is valid and important.

The crimes of child sexual abuse and CSAM do not always have the same outcomes for the victims. You might not have felt safe enough to disclose to anyone yet. That’s okay. You might have disclosed and not been believed. Your experience is valid. You might have disclosed or been identified and are now dealing with the justice system. Your experience is important. What I have learned in my own journey is that a fellow survivor does not need to have gone through the exact same experiences as I did to understand how I feel. This realization was a really important part of my healing. I spent most of my life feeling alone and believing that no one could understand me even if I tried to explain, but this wasn’t true.

As survivors we all know what it feels like to be scared, betrayed, hopeless, helpless. We all know what it feels like to not know who to trust, even with people who have given us no reason to doubt their trustworthiness. We know the experience of hiding our pain so that we aren’t viewed as vulnerable, but also wishing someone could see how fragile we feel. You are not alone no matter how lonely you may feel. When I do this work, it is you who feels unseen that I’m fighting for. You matter.

— Phoenix 11 Member