Shawna "Silent No More"

Shawna-025.jpg

I am a survivor of emotional, mental and domestic abuse. I endured sexual abuse as a child, and me and my siblings watched our own mother be abused. I have had many hardships in my life, including learning disabilities. I’ve tried so desperately to overcome the struggles to make something of myself, and also struggled with low self esteem and no self-confidence. I have lived through poverty, and seeing my baby brother taken away and adopted out in foster care, then to finding him years later - finding out that he served for our country. I’ve endured divorce, disabilities and hardships one after another which resulted in me getting behind in college and owing money and having to put it off.

I have felt like I was at a standstill in my life. I desperately wanted to reach out and help others like me, who had been through so much and encourage them to find strength to never give up...to keep going and to find their voice. Through many obstacles, each time I desperately tried to get back into college and pay what I owed, something came up. I would hear good news thinking I would get a second chance or a redo in life and to change my life, only to be let down when it came to help with funding as I had exhausted all my Pell Grant. Despite the let downs, I prayed a lot and never gave up. My passion was to become a nurse because I love helping people and I love anything in the medical field. I was younger at age 24 when I made my first attempt to try to get into a very competitive nursing program. I was turned down and feel a lot had to do with my learning disabilities. I was offered a surgical tech position as an alternative but turned it down as my heart was set on nursing. Now, years later, I regret that decision. I was impatient and started st another college in a field that my heart really wasn't into. I was close to obtaining my bachelor's but got behind from legal issues, separation, a house foreclosure and more. Fast forward 8 years and into the past year, as I've been trying to transition and heal from a very abusive relationship that my kids and I fled from. It did a lot to me. I realized after reaching for help that so many others like me were suffering in fear and silence about abuse and drug issues. In my community sadly there is no safe haven for victims, and very little resources for counseling and help. There is very little funding or awareness. The only shelter was 25 miles away and there was no guarantee, as it is always pretty full.  

Shawna-022.jpg

I saw the problem with this in our community and wanted to do something good. I wanted to get attention and awareness about these issues my small community faced with victims suffering. I finally got the courage to step up and write my story for our local newspaper in hopes of inspiring and giving other women courage to step forward and share their story, to find their voice, let it be their power and be silent no more. For safety my name was left out of the paper, but I had shared my story and many woman reached out to me sharing their stories. That is just a small step in bringing funding, help and awareness for these issues.

As of now, with lots of praying - I was approved for a pell grant and hoped and prayed it will pay for all of my nursing prerequisites and for my nursing program in which I'm was so desperately praying and trying hard to get accepted into. Just when I was about to give up, some way, somehow - hope surfaced and as of now by the Grace of God, I am back in college taking my nursing prerequisites and grateful for the funding. Despite all the obstacles in my life I am not giving up on my dreams to become a nurse and to help other women who lived through abuse to find their voice and never give up. I just want people to see that no matter how hard life was or what you’ve been through that there is always hope. I have managed to find good despite all the bad things that have happened.

Shawna-014.jpg

I am currently back in college working on my pre reqs to one day become an RN. Helping people has always been something that I wanted to do, but it's not been easy. Although I've been through a lot, I almost gave up as financial hurdles has been an issue for college. I feel fortunate as I have been blessed to be able to take some of my classes and I have worked hard and maintained good grades; something I never thought possible. I am very strong minded and although things may look impossible or tough, I refuse to give up and I will keep on until I find a way to make it through or find resources that can help with college. I am working on getting my finances back in order and my life. The biggest struggle I had was learning to love myself, to believe in myself, and to accept myself. I’ve learned that no matter what life throws at you, no matter how impossible something may seem, don't give up and don't ever stop fighting or trying to make something happen. Anything is possible and if you are determined  enough and don't give up, you can make things happen no matter how hard it may seem. I am a completely different person now and I try to take one day at a time and live day by day. I'm very cautious and guarded. It's not an easy transition but I'm slowly healing and learning to love myself again. My words of wisdom are learn to love yourself, believe in yourself and never give up no matter what. Take it one day at a time. There is help and there is hope.

Shawna-031.jpg