Hello. I’m Mel. I’m 25 and single. I hold an Associate’s Degree and am currently studying for another. I am the co-founder of the Not At Fault Project.
I am also a survivor of childhood sexual abuse.
In a way, I am more fortunate than some victims of abuse. From the time my abuse was discovered, I have been supported by people who made it clear that it was not my fault. I have never felt like I had to blame myself for what was done to me.
My role in NAF is not so much as a survivor of abuse, myself, but more as one who has been there for somebody else who has struggled to recover from the damage that sexual abuse and misplaced guilt can do to a person.
Tina is my best friend in the whole world - my sister in every sense that matters. She is the kindest person that I know and having to watch her struggle with insecurity, poor self-esteem and worth, fear, and guilt… honestly, it makes me angry and sad, especially when sometimes I feel like I can’t even do much for her. I can be there, but a lot of times, that is all I can do.
NAF is really Tina’s brain child. I just pitch in when and where I can. She’s really the genius behind all of this.
When we first started discussing the idea, I had literally just woken up. I think I had rolled over in bed and she came into my room and said, “I’ve been looking all morning for something like It Gets Better for sexual abuse victims, but I couldn’t find one.”
“Then, make one, Tina,” I mumbled back.
She had no idea how proud her response made me - of her, of all the progress she has made, because at that moment, she responded, “I’m going to.”
NAF is a simple message, not only to victims of sexual abuse and assault and other forms of abuse, but also to society and abusers themselves: abuse victims are not to blame. No one has the right to hurt another person.
I was not at fault for what happened to me, neither was my friend. Neither are you. And that is what NAF is all about.
You are not at fault.