Who Am I?
My name is Adrienne Sharee McGowan. I am a daughter, a sister, a niece, an aunt, a friend, a college graduate, an IT Analyst, an Army vet, but most passionately I am a survivor. Like many survivors after the plethora of emotions caused by what happened wore off, I was left with the harsh reality that this was real. It really happened; it happened to me and nobody knew it or could tell just by looking. For five years, I went about my day, business as usual. I finished boot camp, AIT school, college, etc. all on time. These things allowed me to be so busy that I didn't have time to think about what happened or to deal with how or what I felt. I had learned, mastered and perfected the art of pretend. I wore the mask of a broken little girl.
However, I wanted to live a life without the mask. I didn't want to pretend to be okay any longer. In order to heal, I had to remove the mask and for the first time I had to admit and accept it as my personal truth that's now apart of my story. I had to face the reality that these two events changed every aspect of my life. It changed how I saw the world and the people in it. It affected my relationships even my relationship with God. It left me with more questions than answers. But one day my parents extended the invitation for me to talk to someone, I accepted and it was the best decision I could have ever made in my life. It was then that the journey to healing began and here I am today.
I've been on this journey for some time now. I'm able to talk about it and most importantly I'm able to help others. As I started my journey, I had many of the same questions that other survivors had. "Why Me?" " How could God let this happen to me?" "Who's going to want me?" I promised to protect myself and that it would never happen again. Some questions, we may never get answers to but one I got a very clear answer to. "How could a loving God allow this to happen to me? Where were you when this happened????" His reply was simple, "I was there and when you cried, I cried but there's something I need for you to do." I have embraced that "something".
Over 15 years later, here I am. My heart breaks for anyone who ever experiences sexual abuse. No one should ever have to go through this. Unfortunately, that's not the world we live in. Thanks to the #MeToo and #TimesUp Movements, sexual abuse is getting a prominent voice and exposing the secret lives of many. However, with open confusion also comes the insensitive and sometimes quite ignorant responses. I want every survivor to know that they are loved and wanted. They can walk with their head held high knowing that they didn't cause this. They can live a full happy life without fear. I accepted the call that God placed on my life to support, educate, and advocate of behalf of survivors and out of it this group was born.