I decided I didn’t want to just survive, I wanted to live.

My name is Elsa and this summer I turned 27 years old, it may be the first birthday of my life that has not been loaded with resentment, sadness and disgust.

This summer wasn't perfect at all, but at least it's mine. 20 years ago many things were taken from me, one of them was the summers.

I remember how the teacher asked my classmates, how was your vacation, what have you done this summer? I had answered that question other years, with hope, I would talk about the sea, games and food, but that year I kept quiet, waiting for another child to say "Well, this summer a man abused me".  And I just stayed quiet, waiting for 20 fucking years.

Some of the survivors can affirm that yes, I survived, I studied, I worked, I had a "normal life" but this year, when I decided that I couldn't take it anymore, I also decided that I couldn't.

I wanted to survive, I wanted to live. It wasn't a conscious decision, 20 summers of grudges hit me one day, without warning, I had managed to turn open wounds into demons, without realizing it. Some say that "pressure turns coal into diamond" I believe that pressure can turn you into your worst version.

Thanks to Crisálida I discovered that I didn't have to remain silent at my desk, frozen in the fear of 7 years and in flames of 20 years of anger, it was a state of perpetual malaise. I met other people I had never seen and scandalous percentages. How could I walk alone in a world where one in four children is abused?

I never cried with my story and now I cannot write these lines without crying, but before I had to cry for others, cry for reality and finally cry for myself.

That thing that stole my summers was a man who rented a vacation home to my family, he had a wife, son, and granddaughter.

Gradually, with absolute premeditation he began to play a game of pressure, lies and blackmail to end up abusing me, kissing with his tongue, touching me and could
to have followed to the end, if there is any end in the minds of these monsters. The end begins when they decide to touch a boy or girl and that is the beginning of our deep abyss. The data of my abuser is the only thing I have of a crime that was never reported and whose penance only I have paid.

At the moment I told my parents, we left and it was over.

I would like to say that it really is over, I used to think so, society, family, everything pushed me to fall into the role of a strong, indestructible woman, capable of overcoming that and much more, it is what is expected of us, do not bother. The problem was never treated and although on occasion I tried to get it out and the symptoms: night terrors, anxiety... fill my childhood, it never seemed serious enough.

It worked for a while, when I was proud, alone at my desk on fire, thinking about how strong she was, but watching others talk about their strengths, their achievements, their pains and overcoming it. And I couldn't talk about my demons.

To this day I still haven't spent a day in my life without remembering what happened, that may never change.

I was never aware of how all that had turned into a huge leech, full of blood and hatred, alcohol abuse, drugs, tremendous smoking, bulimia at times, social anxiety, concentration problems, relationship problems... All of it well made up and masked, subtle, it's not that bad, others are worse… Always excuses, don't bother.

For so much or so little, I discovered which things I want for me and which I don't anymore. Now I am working on knowing what is mine and what is not, to ask for respect, not to fall a thousand meters underground just for stumbling, not to let myself be consumed by self-destruction and to live with all this.

I hope that my family and those around me continue to open up to the issue, even though it is a complicated task, in which I often give up and which falls to the survivor. In this society child sexual abuse is taboo. Abuse destroys us as I have tried to convey to you, but when we finally take the step, silence, rejection and lack of support sink us.

Abandon the egotistical self-deception that leads you to hide our pain. I have expressed to him, I have opened up, they were years of denial but when I took the step, even with my family more close empathy lasted a breath. We are not exceptional actors, you are true emotional censors. I am surrounded by two types of people. Some love me but don't want to know, they encourage us to tell it, to share, to express our pain...until you do and they see that this is not a movie, that telling it is not the end and that taking care of ourselves is not just a pat on the shoulder, sometimes their ignorance makes us feel guilty, that it wasn't such a big deal and pushes us back to the previous state, don't bother. Others, normally also survivors, bother to understand our suffering and some, exceptionally, without having suffered it, are capable of being a support.

This testimony is dedicated to the survivors who share despite their great pain, to  those who can no longer decide to leave this world, to the Crisálida team and to those people who are the definition of empathy, capable of understanding us without having to to go through the same thing, in my case, the only one, my partner, the man who got me to break the silence.

I love you, wherever you are, your existence is the reason not to lose hope.