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There are four common perceptions that make it hard for us to recognize the extent of abuse.

1. We would like to think abuse, especially sexual abuse, happens outside the circle of people we know.

That’s not the case: 1 of 3 women have been sexually abuse and 1/ 4-5 men have been molested.

2. We would like to think abuse happens in a certain kind of family. That’s not the case.

Abuse happens across every line of education, economic status, professional status, nationality, culture, and religion. For sexual abuse, studies have only found one consistent, common trait among perpetrators: they lack empathy.

3. We would like to think abused children look and act a certain way. That is not the case.

Many abused children looked like me: well-dressed, healthy, socially active, excelling in school, and always smiling – because my smile was my shield. People meeting me after reading Spirit Unbroken: Abby’s Story are consistently relieved that I am “normal” and “doing well”.

4. We are inclined to see abused children as victims. More often than not, they are amazing survivors.

It’s important to remember their stunning courage, inspiring, resilient spirit, and amazing resourcefulness. That’s what truly defines survivors of abuse.