The idea that I should be afraid of my abusers (yes, both of them) seems absurd to me now. I live in my own apartment, in a secure neighborhood, with a rifle for home defense. But when you’re five years old, you’ll believe anything an adult tells you. I didn’t tell anyone for fifteen years, and the first time I told anyone, I vomited from panic and nearly passed out. Over these last few years I have slowly chipped away at the amount of fear and control my abusers spent so much time cultivating, each in his own way. My therapist tells me that male victims are generally less likely to come forward, and that is a trend I would very much like to see reversed.

Thank you to the reader who submitted this. If you have an image you would like to submit, please email me at grace@50extraordinarywomen.com.. And if you’re in NYC, MA, NJ, or Washington DC then I would potentially be able to photograph you in the near future - just send me an email.

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