Survivor Stories


Story 1:
Why I Became an Advocate!

A year and half ago, I went to train to become a domestic violence and sexual assault advocate

What brought me to decision to this in my mid 40’s?

When I was 9 yrs old I was sexually abused by my biological father for 2 years.  I was told not to tell anyone or he would kill me.  I finally told my mother when I was 15 years old.  Counseling was suggested but at that age I was way too smart and didn’t need any stinking counseling.  I was fine and went on with my life.

How did I handle Life?

At home I stayed in my room and to myself out of fear.  The sexual abuse was over but not the physical abuse.  At school, I was known as a class clown.  I did not want people to know about what was happening to me at home.  I was so ashamed!


One time in the 7th grade I was talking in class (imagine that) and my teacher made me write 50 sentences which read, “I will not be boisterous in class.”  Not only did I have to write the sentences, which I thought was punishment enough, but the teacher called my father, which the school was told never to do by my mother due to his temper.  I went home that evening with a straight “A” report card and ended up thrown into a wall face first and belted several times because my father received the call.


Life went on.  I dated and always shared my sad abusive story with the boys I dated because they would feel sorry for me and want to take care of me, so I thought.  I played the victim for several years.  For most of my adult life, I told people my story as I was given sympathy for what had happened.  I was not meant to share for this reason but it took time to realize this fact.


At 22 years old I was divorced with 2 children.  I decided it was time to try that counseling route I kept avoiding.  Boy did that bring up a lot of ugly memories, feelings and the most important thing the Healing Process.  It truly stinks to have to go back and revisit those terrible things that had happened, the emotions and the reality as I at this point in my life just wanted it to go away.


I married my second husband after 5 years of dating.  six months into our marriage, he came home drunk and threw me into a wall, choking me and threatening me.  I got away and after he sobered up later that day, I informed him that I had been abused enough and no man would hit me again.  He did not touch me again until about 11 years later.  Some of the things he did were pushing me off a stool while hanging pictures, threw a phone at me while sitting in a chair, and breaking the picture over me with glass flying all over in my hair and down my back. But the scariest was when he locked me in our bedroom with a loaded shot gun and kept hitting me as I was trying to get out.  My kids were in the living room and called a friend who was able to get him calmed down and let me go.  Even after all of that, it took me another year to realize if I stayed with him he was going to kill me.  I finally left this man and again started counseling.


What I have learned is that I am a beautiful person on the inside, and kind of cute on the outside.  I know it takes more energy to be sad, play the victim, be angry, and resentful than it does to be happy, joyous, and FREE, but most of all Grateful.

I now take calls from victims of domestic violence.  I get calls at all hours of the day and night for sexual assault victims, which means I go to the hospital to support the victim and/or the family and friends of the victim.  I do this usually in the middle of the night in rain or snow and travel to Sparks for the exam and support.  This is all voluntary.


Why you ask would I do this voluntarily?

I am a domestic violence and sexual assault survivor who can share her experience, strength, and hope with other victims and show them that you can take the bad things which have happened and make their life a GREAT one.  I truly feel as if I am giving back by helping someone else who is going through what I have already gone through and survived.  It gives me pride to be able to share with victims and help them know they too can be a survivor and have a wonderful life.  I am also able to help families and friends understand the process so they too can be there and help.  My journey is to help and I am thrilled that I am able to do this.
I am Tamara, daughter, sister, aunt, mother, grandmother (Granny Smith), friend, and Yes the most important, a survivor and that is why I am an advocate!


Story 2: 


My parents told me that if I didn’t like the rules of the house I could leave, so I did. I was a run-away at the age of 16.   My older and younger brothers could do anything they wanted “because they were boys”, but I was supposed to be the pristine role model for my three younger sisters.  I couldn’t do it.


The sun was just going down on a Thursday, and I was walking (with my paper bag of clothes) between friends homes just south of the local community college in a wooded area when I was struck from behind with a piece of wood.  I was stunned and fell to the ground.  My attacker dragged me into the woods and as I fought, he raped me.

When it was all over, I was crying and he kept apologizing.  He said he wanted to see me again on ‘better terms’ so I gave him one of my girlfriends’s phone numbers and told him to call. (That was the only way I could be sure to find out who he was and have him arrested.)


He called two days later and we met at the local donut shop.  I asked to see his driver’s license so that I could be sure he was giving me his correct name.   He was there, I was there, and so were my father and another police officer.


When the detective approached him, he bolted to his car and ran.  The detective chased him, but lost him in traffic.


Luckily, I still had his driver’s license in my hand and he was later arrested at his house, while his wife and children watched.


He was acquitted by the judge because, during the late 1960’s, a young girl being raped wouldn’t have the sense to ‘make a date’ with her attacker.  She must be lying.


Anyway, that happened to me over 40 years ago, and I still cry when I talk about it.  I will never forget what happened or his name:   Roger Allen Dowdy. 


I will leave vengeance to the Lord.