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This Ebony’s story, #HerSurvivalStory.

I survived a brutal rape by a serial rapist at the tender age of 15-years-old. I screamed for help as bystanders stood by and refused to step in to stop the rape. My rapist, who was in his mid-thirties and a stranger to me, told the bystanders that it was a “domestic issue.” I pleaded with them to help me yet they all watched me get raped and did nothing.

The rape was a defining moment in my life. For years I internalized my pain and suffered from low self-esteem. I felt that I didn’t deserve to be loved and that I didn’t have a voice.

I eloped and married a man 13 years my senior when I was 21-years-old. After one year of marriage, my husband became abusive and I had to flee my home in the middle of the night. I was in the United States Air Force at the time and lived in military housing. My husband was a civilian. I went to the police station because I was afraid for my life. The military police officers told me that because he was my husband, he was my problem. The civilian police refused to get involved because the incident happened on a military installation. My military leadership had to press the military police to file formal charges against my husband. He plead guilty to the assault. I divorced my husband after a year of separation.

Later in life, I found myself once again in an abusive relationship. I fought through the disappointment and hurt when the courts failed to hold my abusive boyfriend accountable. He was law enforcement and I was asked by his defense attorney, “Why do you want to send him to jail?” I was the victim but was made to feel guilty for holding my abuser accountable for his actions. They sought to protect him because he worked in law enforcement and failed to protect me the victim.

Through all of the trials that I have faced, I never wavered, and instead I continuously fight back. I survived and this is my survivor’s story. I founded The Next Chapter, Corporation, a 501c3 non-profit, dedicated to empowering victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. I also launched my second business Success Creators to provide career coaching and employment readiness.

My purpose in life is to serve others. I use my voice to empower those who are survivors. I hope that my story can give strength to victims who feel alone. I want all those who are suffering in silence to know: You are beautiful. Your life is valuable. You deserve to be loved. You can survive.’

Do you have a survival story you’d like to share? Email with #HerSurvivalStory in the subject and your story may be published.
Written by Ebony Johnson. Ebony is the Founder and CEO of The Next Chapter, Corporation, a non-profit organization committed to empowering veterans and survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence.

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