A woman shared her powerful story as a survivor of sex trafficking at the hands of her own father, who also raped her, as part of Wilmington University's Human Trafficking Symposium.
Lockey Maisonneuve was the keynote speaker Thursday at the symposium which spanned two days. The daughter of two alcoholics, Maisonneuve and her older sister were sent by their mother to live with their father when they were very young.
She was a victim in her pre-teen years, and said she blocked out the horrific memories as she got older. She moved in with her grandparents, who took care of her through her high school years. She said she never told them about the abuse she had gone through, which included being raped by her father--abuse she said continued even after she moved in with her grandparents.
Through it all, she continued to block out nightmares of rape by strange men who paid her father money to be with her, she told the audience.
Eventually, she met her husband, and they had two kids--a boy and a girl. It was the birth of her second child that changed things for the positive, according to Maisonneuve.
"I personally believe that my healing journey started with the birth of my daughter," said Maisonneuve.
That was 16 years ago.
Maisonneuve said she went though therapy, and it was there, where she realized she was being so protective of her daughter because she was trying to prevent her from going down the same path. She then went public with her story and felt a great sense of relief.
"The single most healing thing I ever did was own my story, was to share it and own it," said Maisonneuve. "Once I did that, my entire life changed."
Maisonneuve wrote a book, A Girl Raised by Wolves, which details her life story.
Now, she helps others getting over trauma. She does trauma informed yoga at a prison and school in Newark, New Jersey.
She has one important message about healing to those getting over any trauma.
"Healing has to be on their timeline, and it has to be the way they want it to be," said Maisonneuve. "To say to a trauma survivor 'You should be doing this, or you should be doing that' is not serving them."
"Be kind to yourself, it's really hard to let this stuff go, it's really hard to share it, and it's really hard until you make it not hard, until you decide that it doesn't have to be hard anymore. And that takes time. It took me what 15 or 16 years," said Maisonneuve.