Hello! Welcome to the Survivor's (and Protector's*) Mark Tumblr.

My name is Sandy, and I am a childhood sexual abuse survivor. The Survivor's Mark is a tattoo I came up with one night in a moment of clarity and inspiration after somewhat of a breakdown brought on by a trigger. (You can read all about that night via the "Sandy's Story" link in the header.) My Mark means, "Abuse is bullshit, and I am not afraid to talk about it or hear someone else talk about it.”

The morning after the meltdown I called my Mom and told her all about my idea, and she loved it so much she got a Mark of her own. We were tattooed together on April 27, 2008. Now we use the Mark, and the perspective behind it, to try to change the world. That's what this page is for. It's a place for survivors to share their stories (plus Mark pictures, fan art, helpful links, and inspirational quotes and images.) It's a place for hope and love and joy and comfort and facing fears and taking back what was stolen from you. It's a place for healing.

My message is this:
No one has to stay a victim.
We can all be Survivors.
Abuse doesn't have to be a death sentence.
It doesn't have to control your life.
You can live happily after abuse.
I know, because I do it every day now.

To anyone who is struggling to believe they are a survivor: Just keep swimming! I understand. I know it's hard, but it's worth it. And you are not alone. Not EVER.

If you're reading this thinking, "Wow, I wish I could be like that!" or "What can I do to help victims/Survivors?" Submit your story. If you think about it, that's all I ever really did. (Feel free to submit anonymously or openly, that's completely up to you, but please specify which you'd like. If no discernible choice is made, your name will not be posted.)

*The Protector's Mark was dreamed up by Mom and I and Sam, our tattoo artist, while we were getting inked. The PM was originally to be white, but we all decided it was too pale so Sam, the genius he is, made it the colors of the sun. The light to fight the darkness.

The Survivor's Mark is for those who have been abused, the Protector's Mark is for the people who love Survivors and stand with them in solidarity, fighting against abuse of all kinds. Some wear the SM, some wear the PM, some wear both. You can see all the pictures I have received of Marks via my tattoos tag, but please be warned the stories attached to some of the images might be triggering, and there are some images there that aren't Marks at all. You can also see them in the photo album on the SM Facebook.

fitty-bitty-body:

This just blew my mind and I’ve never seen forgiveness in this way.

fitty-bitty-body:

This just blew my mind and I’ve never seen forgiveness in this way.

(Source: befree99)

Hi Sandy, I'm really confused... About 3 years ago I spent the night at a guys house that I had started seeing, it was a good night, we had consensual sex & ended the night with Dr. Pepper & movies. We went to bed, & next thing I know I'm woken up in the morning by him having sex with me, before I even realized what was going on he was finished. I didn't know how to feel since I just willingly had sex with him the night before, but it still kinda freaked me out. Was what he did okay? Thanks! ❤️
Asked by Anonymous

What he did was absolutely NOT okay! What he did was rape. Consent is not never-ending. Saying yes once doesn’t mean you’ve said yes forever, and besides, he didn’t even bother to ask! When someone is sleeping or incapacitated by drugs and/or alcohol they are incapable of granting consent; when someone is talked into something because they’ve been made to feel terrible about saying no, that is coercion, not consent. Consent is not just “yes” but an enthusiastic “yes.” (And, ideally, yeses that keep coming; body language and verbal cues go a long way to determining what someone is and isn’t comfortable with in the bedroom, but it’s up to us as partners to look and listen for them.)

I am so sorry this happened to you, and I’m more sorry it has to be clarified by an Internet stranger, but it’s my greatest hope that now you know the truth you can begin to heal.

Much love and hope,
~Sandy

supersandys-space:

Forgiveness is: letting go of the hope that the past could have been any different. It’s releasing the anger and the pain that you carry inside you because it’s poisonous to you, not because it’s bad for “them.”

Forgiveness is not: being “okay” with the harm done to you by others, allowing toxic people back into your life, moving forward like your past didn’t happen, keeping someone else’s secret, “getting over it.”

(But that’s just my opinion, of course.)

Hey Sandy! I'm not on my tumblr account but it's i-ndividual-ity! I'm not sure if you remember me, but you helped me so much! I REALLY want to get the survivors mark but the thing is that my mom, and her bf are both very against tattoos, and my dad is very "traditional" about things. How should I go about this? Did you get your mark before you were 18? P.S. I'll be 17 this 4th of may.
Asked by Anonymous

I was 24 when I got my Mark, so no parental approval was necessary, though I more than got it—Mom actually got her Mark before I got mine, and Dad got the world’s first Protector’s Mark.

As far as I know, federal law in the US states that no one under the age of 18 can get a tattoo, unless they have parental consent. (This of course varies, based on where you live.) ((This Wiki page has a list of all the state’s laws.))

I think you have 2 choices here; sit your parent(s) down and really let them know how important this tattoo is to you, what it means, and why you feel you need it….or, wait another year.

(I feel like that’s uber unhelpful, but it’s all I’ve got. Sorry! <3)

findingmyrecovery:

You are not going in circles

You are making progress in a spiral. You do come back around to where you were at the start, since recovery and healing take time, but every time you come back around to that point you’re a little higher up because you’ve got more experience, more knowledge, and more strength.

You ARE making progress

lumpy-pizza-princess:

The elephant never forgets. Butterflies symbolize transformation. I’ll never forget what you did to me, but you lost. I’m a different person and I won’t let what you did get to me.

&lt;3&lt;3&lt;3

lumpy-pizza-princess:

The elephant never forgets.
Butterflies symbolize transformation.
I’ll never forget what you did to me, but you lost.
I’m a different person and I won’t let what you did get to me.

<3<3<3

Sometimes I am asked, in reference to speaking about my abuse, “Why do you talk about such personal things in public? Don’t you think that’s something you should keep to yourself?”

This is an example of why I refuse to keep someone else’s secret:

"I found your Mark online. That was the moment I knew I can’t be ashamed anymore. It happened and there’s nothing I can do about it. It made me who I am today. Your story inspired me. It made me not want to give up. Thank you.

I’m now ending my sophomore year at college and for my ending report I had to chose someone who inspired me. I chose you and your story. Then I’ll tell mine. It’s not for attention, it’s to raise awareness. Sexual assault is a real thing and happens everyday. More people need to realize this. And when I walk around people will see my Mark maybe as about it. And I will tell them my story. My story of strength. Thank you.”

Miranda&#8217;s Mark.

Miranda’s Mark.

Hi, I'm a long time abuse survivor & recently a survivor of rape who suffers from PTSD as a result. From my own and other's experiences I've realized there is a lot of stigma and misinformation surrounding the subject and have started a Facebook page (facebook. com/abusesurvivorsawareness) where I am posting images and facts to try raise awareness about abuse and its effects on survivors. I was wondering if you would post this to help get the word out? Thanks very much :)
Asked by Anonymous
In the beginning, it’s going to feel wrong, like self-indulgence. But it’s not indulgent or weak to be self-compassionate. It takes a lot of strength.
Carolyn Costin on recovery. (via a-recovered-life)
I am 28 and I don't know if I can call myself a survivor I feel as if I am trapped in my own fear.... I was sexually abused and raped at 13 or so I cant really remember but I know it was around that age (my mind has blurred events) I was forced to have sex until I was 15. I still think about it dream about it and sometimes smell him . I am in a relationship now and its going fine its my kids I worry about I constantly fear when they are out of my sight that someone is harming them HELP!
Asked by Anonymous

I’m not a mother, but I would like to pass on the best teaching of my mother: make sure your kids know they can trust you with anything.

In my experience I think it’s also important to make sure they know about consent—both getting and giving. Make sure they know they don’t have to ever be around someone that makes them uncomfortable, even family members. Make sure to give them room to learn and grow and explore, don’t lock them away from the world because you’re afraid of what’s out there. Being a parent means being afraid, but it also means a chance to break the cycle.

Truth be told, part of the reason I’ve decided not to become a mother is because I worry I wouldn’t be able to take my own advice. I understand if you find it hard to digest and even harder to enact.

Much love and hope,
~Sandy

Mady&#8217;s Marks.

"I wanted to share my tattoo with you. I got it on my wrist so I can see that I can always remember I am stronger than the hurt. I love the idea of the tattoo as a sign we are not alone. I changed the color to blue and green to show the rebirth of self after such a horrific act."

Mady’s Marks.

"I wanted to share my tattoo with you. I got it on my wrist so I can see that I can always remember I am stronger than the hurt. I love the idea of the tattoo as a sign we are not alone. I changed the color to blue and green to show the rebirth of self after such a horrific act."

I'm a survivor, and I know that I am. But I don't remember anything. Just a few words that were said. My abusers have confessed, I have been through therapy to heal the aftermath, if you will, but I cannot remember anything of what happened. I don't know what to do. When I'm "triggered" (or I assume that's what's up), or I tell someone, I feel like a liar. Help?
Asked by Anonymous

My advice? Stop dwelling on what you don’t remember and take what you do recall as enough. I lived over a decade feeling exactly as you do before someone passed that tidbit onto me. You know what you know, and that’s plenty. Your brain is protecting you from the rest. If your body ever decides you’ll be able to handle more, it will be revealed to you—that I learned all on my own, as time has passed and I have healed.

You are not a liar. That voice in the back of your mind is simply trying to convince you that what happened to you, didn’t. Sometimes the truth is so awful we can’t help but deny it, even to ourselves.

Much love and hope,
~Sandy

Bernice&#8217;s Mark.

Bernice’s Mark.

Sarah and Rachel&#8217;s Best Friend Marks.

"My best friend and I just got matching Marks on Friday! I have the one with the stars around it, one star for each person I know who is also a survivor. We decided that green was a better color for us, not only is it our favorite color, but it also symbolizes growth. I like thinking of it like it is the growth that you see in the forest after a wildfire. We grow, and become stronger. I plan on getting as many stars added on as needed."  &#8212;Rachel

Sarah and Rachel’s Best Friend Marks.

"My best friend and I just got matching Marks on Friday! I have the one with the stars around it, one star for each person I know who is also a survivor. We decided that green was a better color for us, not only is it our favorite color, but it also symbolizes growth. I like thinking of it like it is the growth that you see in the forest after a wildfire. We grow, and become stronger. I plan on getting as many stars added on as needed."  —Rachel