CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A Charlotte woman found healing after being abused, and she is encouraging others to do the same by sharing her story.

What You Need To Know

  •  Every 98 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted, according to the Rape, Abuse & Incest Network

  •  One local survivor is speaking out, hoping that her story inspires others to do the same

  •  Help is out there. If you are a victim of abuse, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233

Sharon Jordan survived years of abuse and struggled with addition. 

“The abuse started when I was 6 years old and last until my junior high school year, and so the impact of that abuse was devastating," Jordan said.

Jordan says a trusted family friend violated her and after that night, her life took a dark turn.

"I lived a life of self-destruction and destruction of others," Jordan said.

Growing up, there was a full house, and Jordan lived with seven siblings and a providing mother, but her father was never really in the picture.

She says that if he was around more, she may have felt safer, and there was less of a chance for her abuse to happen.

"When I used to look at this picture, it used to break my heart... but because of healing, I'm able to look at her and show her so much love and compassion without breaking down,” Jordan said. 

Kindness was something she wasn’t able to show herself after the years of abuse.

"So I’m really blessed to be here today, because I should be somewhere under the ground because the life that I chose to live, it wasn’t good," Jordan explained.

After years of therapy - and support from family - she learned to forgive and no longer allow the trauma to define her.

"So what people don’t realize about the power of healing, I mean it can change your life. It takes you from a life of pain, to a life of love," Jordan said. "It's difficult, then you have to take all of those lies that you believed about yourself because of what you went through, and you have to acknowledge that they’re all lies.”

Now, she takes her truth and helps others find theirs as a mentor in an organization called Brave Step.

"I'm so proud of myself, things are happening in my life that I never thought could happen. I’m able to help others in their journey, and I never imagined myself in this place.”

It's a place where she encourages others to be the authors of their own stories.

"I see me. I see life. I see Sharon. I see who God created me to be... because before I looked in the mirror, I saw ugly, I saw guilt, I saw shame."

And as a survivor, her message to other victims is simple:

"Talking about it brings light, talking about it brings hope, talking about it brings healing. To open my mouth and tell the story over and over and over again, because I know if one person hears my story, they will be inspired and they will be encouraged.” 

According to Rape, Abuse & Incest Network, every 98 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted. Help is available if you are a victim of abuse through the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.