Amber is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and currently works as an advocate for a domestic violence shelter in Colorado. She shares her story of being groomed and sexually abused by her best friend's father for several years, and how she was afraid to speak up. Eventually, with the help of a friend, she disclosed her abuse but wasn't believed at first. Years later, her partner encouraged her to go to the authorities, and she was able to get a confession from her abuser and bring him to trial. She emphasizes that not everyone is able to go to the authorities but offers the idea of healing and helping others through sharing our stories and supporting each other.
Hi my name is Amber I currently work as an advocate for a domestic violence shelter here in Boulder Colorado and I also work as a speaker and um you know I do a little Consulting for different non-profits on Abuse Prevention.
Um if you've come to this website we might have something in common I'm a Survivor of childhood sexual abuse and I just want to share a little bit of my story with you.
So at about the age of eight I had two best friends that I got really close with and even closer once their mother passed away and then I started going to sleepovers at their house. At first it started out very normal I thought they were kind of this very ideal family. Their dad was very involved they played games and and they just did all the stuff that I didn't really see in my own home.
Once I got really comfortable there and I kind of felt like I was part of of the family their father started to groom me. What started as a game of tag would end in him holding me too close or touching you on parts of my body that were inappropriate but not quite long enough for me to really like know what's going on but long enough for me to know that just something wasn't right.
Those little instances grew as time went on and he started to get me more comfortable with letting him maybe rub my feet. Um and you know I thought this was something normal because I would see him doing this with his own daughters and then it progressed to trying to rub my shoulders and once it got to there you know it quickly began to escalate to where I was being molested by my best friend's father and that went on for a few years mostly because I was so afraid to tell.
I thought I had done something wrong I thought that I was going to get in trouble for some reason and I also just loved my best friends and I knew that they had already lost a pair here and I didn't want to take another away from them.
So in eighth grade I had a friend that I was confiding in every weekend after I would come back and this abuse was happening and after one weekend she just decided like enough is enough you have to tell and she told me either you tell and we'll go together or I'm gonna tell for you.
So we went together I disclosed my abuse and like many people um I had a really rough round with the system and I wasn't believed and it was just kind of swept under the rug and it was something that I just thought I would have to pretend never happened.
Fast forward to about when I was 19 I had my first serious relationship where someone you know was talking to me and we would talk through it and he he said you know why don't you go and file charges again and this is something that I really just didn't want to deal with.
It's something I buried and I thought you know I could just pretend like this thing never happened um and then he said the one thing that truly made me want to do something about it and he said well what if it happens to somebody else and I just couldn't live with that.
I couldn't live with the idea that another child might go through what I was going through so I went and I met a trooper who believed me the first words he said to me after telling my story is I believe you. Um I actually ended up talking and working with this trooper and their team and we ended up coming up with a plan for me to go and meet up with my abuser and wear a wire and I was able to get a confession out of him and then we ended up taking this to trial and I'm happy to say that my abuser will spend the rest of his life in prison.
Um you know I was able to get Justice through the system um you know even though you know a lot of people aren't able to get that same thing right not everyone's able to go and file charges you know maybe a lot of time has gone by maybe that person isn't alive anymore there's many reasons why you may not be able to do that.
Um but what I want to offer to you is you know being able to have you know a site like this and use it there's so many different ways that we can heal from this and be able to not only share our stories.
Um but be able to learn how we can grow from this and be able to help other people through the things that we went through.
Um but I'm so happy that you're here and I hope that we can work more together to heal and grow from being survivors together