Something I wanted to share with everyone
Hello MOCA Friends & Members,
This is something I wanted to share with everyone. MOCA met at SafePlace on Tuesday, May 12, 2015. Several members joined us and heard the story of a young lady, Crystal. Before Crystal spoke, my contact at SafePlace, Candace Lopez greeted us and told us a little about what SafePlace does and how MOCA has helped. MOCA has sponsored SafePlace for over 12 years and has donated more than $40,000.00 from the proceeds from the car shows we have every year. I'm so PROUD to be a member of MOCA and that SafePlace is our charity of choice. It was good to hear all the things they do to help the victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Please read Crystal's story - it's very moving and emotional.
As a MOCA member, you should be very proud of the way MOCA has been able to help.
Hey there! My name is Crystal, and I am here to share some pretty personal and - for me - empowering information about myself with you guys today. I can only hope that each one of you will take something out of it that will encourage growth in your lives, and that I can even discover something new about myself by sharing my story with you all.
So - I have 2 boys: a seven year old and a two year old and they are just absolutely obsessed with anything that has to do with.... Dirt. And anything that makes a gigantic mess. Any of you with boys will understand what I mean when I say my house is literally never clean. I stumble across the occasional roly poly family they've collected in the sink, or the muddy shoes they took off on my freshly mopped wooden floors... :) they love sports and being outside, and they truly are my heart and soul. They lead fairly peaceful lives actually, and I'm so intrigued by that! Even the little things just still fascinate me. The reason is because I never really had a peaceful childhood. In fact, I had no idea what "peace" was. It was not something that came to visit me in my life, and I thought that maybe I wasn't worthy of obtaining it. Often, I thought peace was maybe a lie, something that didn't actually exist.
By age 2, I was a child of divorced parents: my mother – a stripper, my father – a business owner. My father was awarded custody (imagine that) and began working two jobs to support us. By age 6, I was a victim of sexual abuse, at the hands of my uncle who watched me most of the time, and told never to say a word. I was so ashamed, that I held that burden for nine years. I decided at age 12 that I would rather tell my father that I didn’t want to live with him anymore, than tell him of his brother’s actions, so I did. I moved in with my mother, who seemingly had a family and secure job. Quickly, I found that she was a raging alcoholic, and her marriage was sinking. At 15, my mother had run through 3 or 4 men, and found one she really liked, so I was tossed to the curb – literally. I dropped out of school, struggling to support myself, and took on 2 or 3 jobs at a time.
The jobs offered to me at fifteen were mostly shady, and I met someone and started a “relationship,” in hopes of making sense of my world. Pregnancy followed by the young age of 16, and domestic violence set in. With my mother in her own little world, I hadn’t much of an option on where to go. I wouldn’t dare tell my father I couldn’t stick up for myself. When he found out I was pregnant, he asked if I was going to get married. I hadn’t thought about it, but I figured that was the right thing, so I did. The abuse worsened.
My thoughts remained that it was “supposed to be this way,” and that maybe if I have another child he would stop. I had another child, and he did not stop. It seemed like he hated me, but he told me he loved me. He never abused the children, and I thought maybe I just needed to sacrifice what I want so that they would have a family. The sacrifice I received was nothing like I planned.
On August 17, 2009, I got in the shower with my son, leaving my two and a half month old daughter with my husband at the time. By the time I got out of the shower, my daughter was dying. He said she fell asleep and wouldn’t wake up. I rushed her to the hospital that dreary night, and she passed away at 11:00 p.m. The next day, the autopsy showed that she was murdered in the ten minutes I was “allowed” to take a shower, and he was arrested. What emptiness I felt, what grief. The courts indicted him for Capital Murder, but the jury cut him some slack because he was a nineteen year old boy. He only got 20 years in prison, even with his clean cut confession. He was not a nineteen year old boy to me – he was the man that killed my little girl.
In the latter part of 2009, I became a part of Safeplace. I walked into a room full of women I was SURE would meet me with judgment and accusation based on my thick and terrible past. That is not what I encountered that life-changing day. I was introduced to love, compassion and understanding. The environment here fostered my self-awareness and self-esteem. The ladies surrounded me and lifted me up. They constantly reminded me I was worth so much more than the life that had destroyed my childhood and my daughter's. Safeplace introduced a vision that was greater than my past. They helped me, many others, and continue to do so. By coming to here, I was given the opportunity to accept that I was in this world to be happy, and that it is possible to surround myself with people who empower me. With so many misconceptions about violence in the world today, Safeplace was the one voice in my life making sense of what happened to me, and convincing me that I was truly radiant and beautiful, inside and out.
Before I came to Safeplace I endured a lifetime of violence. I am here today, enrolled in a community college in the Honor’s Program and the President of a Lab Tech Program. I am here today, living a life absent of abuse and full of happiness. I am here today, because of Safeplace, speaking out against the violence that once consumed my life and promoting the peace I once knew nothing of. I am here today, and because of Safeplace - I know peace.