Ilse Merlin

This month we are so excited to share 4 survivor stories.

You will have the opportunity to listen to 4 brave individuals share their experiences and their healing. The overall goal of all of them is hoping that sharing their story can help others.

With that said, we are excited to introduce Ilse Martin.

Ilse shares her story of being an undocumented person who experienced sexual abuse. She shares the struggles and fears she faced as she tried to move forward and heal. We discuss the process to get a visa, and where she is in the process. She shares with us different steps in her own healing. She is an incredible individual and so brave for wanting to share her story.

Why do you want to share your story?

I was ashamed of being me. I, just like other girls, am important, and my story and testimony makes the difference for others.

Tell us your story, as much as you are comfortable with, and tell us about yourself. (This can include any struggles or wonderful times you have experienced)

My husband is great, however the way I met him was not the best. We went from our first time meeting to living together. My abuser was still coming after my mom and I so he was the man who could help us, in a way. We have since then, made it a point to improve ourselves and make this relationship different. We break poverty, educational, abusive, and fatherless chains together. My favorite thing about my husband is the fact that I can reveal my whole self to him.

How did what you went through affect your life and your family/friends lives?

My mother and I are constantly aware of other girls that are going through what went through. Our relationship is stronger but we do not talk to each other about what happened, too much pain, we just walk with each other. My marriage is affected sexually, and sadly there has been infidelity. 

What were some steps that you took to heal? What does your healing journey look like?

At the age of 15-16 I rebelled a lot, and did things with boys that I thought were love or that I thought I needed to do. I read the bible, after attending a youth group, and fell in love with Jesus. Almost 10 years ago I began my walk with him. I read many books (the gift of fear) but many are of personal development, haven’t read many on abuse. I attend therapy when needed, bring perspective to my problems. 

Do you still have trauma or triggers that affect you?

I deal with watching pornography and wanting to see things that I am not supposed to. I do not have triggers that bring me back to the time and place as I think my consciousness has suppressed these. Recently, applying for a U-visa, talking about what my mother experiences with my abuser, brings me anger and hatred

This is a learning journey for me, and I know you wanted to provide how what you went through was different due to being an immigrant? Can you tell us some of the challenges that you face because of this?

Yes, fear of deportation, citizenship, loneliness. I thought that if we got in trouble we would be sent back to Mexico where my family was but there was not a good way to make money and an abundance of violence and crime. These, along with feeling like I didn’t belong, made it hard for me to go through school. I always wanted to be accepted by someone and I think that’s why I pride myself in being a good student. However, school became more difficult as the lack of a social security number prevented me from getting my financial aid, which discouraged me from going to college.  If you could say something to someone who has experienced trauma what would it be? 

You are worth more than what you think. You don’t have to endure the pain alone, share it with the right people that can help. Things will get worse if nothing is done about it. 

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