I may fall, but I’ll always get back up
With the hell I’ve lived through, nothing could stop me from chasing my dreams. 45 – 105 years without the possibility of parole was my Dad’s sentence for what he did to me and my brother until I was 10 years old. He finished serving his sentence last year when he died of COVID in Mount Olive penitentiary. I was born with a disability. I have experienced severe sexual, physical, and emotional abuse. I have been raped, beaten, silenced, and abused in about every way possible time and again by men. It is true that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Despite missing most of middle school, I graduated high school with high honors on time and had 13 poems published by the time I turned 18. A ward of the state until the age of 18, I was never adopted. My childhood home and only safety and stability in my childhood was the group home I lived in. Blood is not always thicker than water. Family is who truly loves and cares for you and shows it in their actions. Family is who you make it. They enrolled me in college when I said I didn’t think I was ready. I went on to graduate from Marshall University with honors and obtain my bachelor’s degree in social work. My senior thesis of over 400 pages was sent to the president of Marshall. I later obtained a pre-apprenticeship manufacturing certification in manufacturing as well. Give me hell, I’ll rise to the challenge. I may fall, but I’ll always get back up and keep fighting. I will RISE. I am insatiable fire. I not only survived my past, but I overcame it. If I can, you can too and do even more. You are not alone.
What advice would you offer to encourage others?
I want to empower, inspire and encourage people to not only survive but overcome and thrive despite the adversity they face and chase their dreams, using my life story as an example of what can be done and more. It’s easy to tear someone down, it’s harder to build someone up, but much more rewarding. The best way I have found to overcome and thrive despite adversity is to flip a negative situation into a positive one and use it to help others, which enables you to RISE above it.
Never give up and if your voice is not initially heard, keep talking, keep sharing with anybody who will listen until somebody gives you the help that you need. Don’t lay down and take it. It’s not right and it’s everybody’s business. Trauma impacts everybody. Abuse impacts everybody and it can happen to anybody. You can RISE above it.
- Jessica Green Brown, Survivor
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