Hey, and thanks for stopping by!
I’m Nicolette, the Founder of No Longer Silenced Movement. If you were abused or are currently being abused, I want you to know that there are people who do and will care about you, even if it doesn’t seem like it because those who should have cared about you the most don’t. While I can’t promise you that life necessarily gets easier, I can promise you that it can get better if you’re willing to put in the work. You’re going to have to accept that life is not fair, and sometimes, you may not be able “fix” something. Sometimes, the best you can do is play the cards you’re dealt to the best of your ability. I want you to know that there are people who will believe you, care for you, and love you.
I grew up in two abusive homes, one with an addict parent. Due to the fact that some have chosen to accuse me of lying, I have included verifiable documentation at the bottom of this page. I experienced child abuse, domestic violence, and poverty. At the age of 15, I began working two jobs, stashing all my money from one job into a little plastic wallet that was hidden in my bedroom. I was determined to move out and start a new life for myself as soon as I turned 18.
When I turned 18, I ventured out on my own. It was no easy task. I suffered from depression, anxiety, and panic attacks, and I felt incredibly alone. For the longest time, I felt like I carried around this giant secret that no one could ever know about because everyone else’s life seemed perfect, and I didn’t think anyone would like me if they knew.
When I was 20, I realized that this thought was absurd. I thought “There are like, 7 billion people on this planet. Someone else has to have gone through this, too.” So, I started exploring the internet. Disappointed that I didn’t find what I was looking for, which was inspirational stories of people who had been through it and succeeded, with tips on what helped them, I decided to go about it on my own. Reaching out to as many internet avenues as I could find, I started posting and searching for people who would want to compile our stories in order to inspire each other and others.
Shockingly (*que the sarcasm*), no one wanted to jump on board.
I was angry! How could no one want to help?!
Again, I decided that I would make it happen, but I just wasn’t quite sure how.
My Junior year of Undergraduate, I was enrolled in a technical writing class. For this class, we had an assignment to create a blog. Since it was National Children of Alcoholics week, and I love efficiency and purpose, I decided to blog about my experiences growing up as the child of an alcoholic. No Longer Silenced was born.
Surprisingly (*actual surprise*), the blog started to take off, and people from all over the world were commenting and messaging, connecting about their experiences.
In my opinion, one of the most beautiful aspects of the human experience is our ability to connect through common experience.
For the next few months, I ran my blog as The Fashionable Philanthropist, where I wrote about my passions for volunteering and finding amazing bargains. That blog began to grow, and I was asked to conduct multiple interviews about it. That’s when I really started to see the bigger picture.
I looked around, and I felt like there was a help resource for everyone except me. I’m sure that isn’t true, but that’s how it felt. By no means am I attempting to downplay the importance of helping all child abuse survivors; however, I noticed that there seemed to be a lot of attention for babies, toddlers, and small children, and then there were a lot of support groups for grown adults.
…But someone was missing.
What about the teen and young adult survivors? What about the kids who left their abusive homes or aged out of foster care at 18?
It seemed like they were just dropped on their a**es and left to fend for themselves!
…I had to do something about it!
No Longer Silenced Movement was born.
It started with a large community walk for National Child Abuse Prevention month and continued with multiple community events in collaboration with various local organizations.
Moving out and figuring everything out on my own was incredibly stressful, and I thought it was silly that hundreds of thousands if not millions of others were suffering the same issue.
Why hadn’t someone created a solution to the problem?! Why were we all still suffering over and over again?!
While I knew that I couldn’t necessarily end child abuse, I figured that I could do my best to make it easier for those who come after me, and that it what I set out to achieve.
Following Undegraduate, I took a year off of school. Countless people expressed their concern for me because they thought I was ruining my life. Sometimes, you have to risk it for a dream that only you can see.
During that year, I worked multiple low-paying jobs, and I slept on an air mattress in a friend’s spare bedroom with about 5 outfits to my name.
Any time possible, I was writing. I would go to the University library after work and write until it closed at nearly midnight.
Let me back up a bit.
I don’t remember exactly when I began, but I think it was my Junior year, I started writing my story into a book. Multiple times, I quit because I was afraid about what would happen to me if I spoke out.
That summer, I wrote my book, One, which is self-published on Amazon and CreateSpace, as much as possible. The purpose of my book was to tell my story in order to reach out to and relate to other survivors of child abuse. At the end of the book, I included a survey questioning them about what they wished they would have had to help them and advice they would give someone in the same position. During my first year of graduate school, I published my book and wrote my initial research on what resources child abuse survivors want to help them in life after abuse.
During the summer between my first and second years of graduate school, I conducted even more research, and during my second year of graduate school, I conducted laboratory research to discover what learning resources survivors of child abuse desire for independent adult living. The findings of that research were presented at several conferences and were published in the Journal of Psychology Research.
In addition to presentations and publication, the findings of that research, No Longer Silenced: What Resources Do Child Abuse Survivors Want? (Winn and Stenmark, 2017), were utilized to create the learning resources included on this website.
This website serves as a resource database which can be used anonymously as a tool to help teen and young adult survivors of child abuse succeed in independent adult living.
I understand that many of you may not have someone to turn to who can help you with these questions, so I hope this website can help fill that gap.
Again, let me tell you that it’s not going to be easy, but it can definitely be worth it. You may have to put in more work than others, and this can be incredibly frustrating; however, it can also show you your true strength and capability as you fight through every fear and smash every goal.
You are cared for, and you are loved.
Remember, you are NEVER alone!
PS, Please note that while I shared my story with you, I would also like to express my most sincere gratitude to the countless individuals who donated, whether their time, money, or both, to this mission to serve you. Without them, none of this would have been possible. They will continue to be a driving force in our mission to serve in the future, and for them, I will forever be thankful.
PPS, Are you interested in checking out any of my books? If so, please click here.
PPPS, Are you interested in checking out No Longer Silenced Movement’s Journey? If so, click here to access past articles, interviews, event photos, etc.!
This image is of my DCFS case from when I was in high school. It was reported by my high school guidance counselor, who was a mandated reporter. Although my life didn’t necessarily get easier after it was reported, this documentation helped me build my future.
If you’re unable to clearly see the image, you may download it for better viewing.
This image is of winning my case so that I could attend college as an independent student due to special circumstances, specifically the events of my childhood. I provided the college with my story, proof of independent living, my DCFS case, and a list of people, including professionals such as counselors and a police officer, who could verify.
If you’re unable to clearly see the image, you may download it for better viewing.