Meet Abi.

As a child, Abi was raped by her stepfather almost daily. When her mother would leave for to work, Abi’s stepfather would close the blinds and lock the door; Abi would cry and close her eyes until it was over. Each time she was assaulted, Abi said

“I felt myself slipping away more and more.”

Eventually, Abi’s mom divorced her stepfather and moved the family to Bellingham. Although the abuse had stopped, Abi’s feelings of worthlessness continued to grow.

Upon entering middle school, Abi got connected with Claudia, a DVSAS advocate who runs trauma support groups for teenage girls in schools across Whatcom County. It was in this support group that Abi began to understand that the abuse was not her fault, learned how to cope with and face her past, and started loving herself.

Abi continued attending a prevention action group in high school and developed close friendships with other girls in the group. Through the continued support of her peers and DVSAS advocates, she is learning to heal and move forward with her life. Abi is transferring to Western this year to pursue a degree in Criminal Justice. These days, Abi cannot wait to see what the future holds because, she says “my story isn’t over.”