Stories of Faith: Ashlynn Mitchell

September 10, 2014


Faith is knowing that healing will come.

One day my daughter came home telling me she no longer liked school and asked when it would end so she didn’t have to go back. The next day, December 11th 2012, my 4 year old told me her vagina hurt. I asked her if she had fallen on it or sat funny at school. She hesitated and said she fell on it. Then she told me what had happened with some boys at school and I asked if she had told her teacher. She said no.

Later that night I called my father-in-law, an LCSW (licensed clinical social worker) and he suggested I use dolls to have her role play what had happened at school. The next day I got dolls and my daughter showed me what happened at school. It matched exactly what she had said the day before.  But then she went on telling and SHOWING me what happened when someone comes into her bed. My heart sank, hearing more information than I was prepared for.

I asked her to tell me more. Was her sister with her?  Yes. I asked her if she remembered who it was. She told me the name and I asked if it could be someone else. She said no. After she answered the question, she stood up and walked out of the room saying she didn’t want to talk anymore.

My husband was out of town for work, so we got in the car and started driving 4 hours away to my parent’s house. Literally thirty minutes later she was sick. We didn’t sleep all night and by 5:00 am I took her to the ER with 104 degree fever. After she was treated and sent home, we spent the day snuggled on the couch with my parents watching movies.

I had called the police from my parent’s house and scheduled the interview at The Children’s Justice Center. The interview went well but my daughter did not disclose. Soon she began having fits of horrible anger. She would tell me she wanted to die so she would not have to think about bad things in her brain. It killed me to hear the pain and anger coming from my little girl.

Once we found out who had done this, we immediately limited our contact with those associated with the abuser.  That was hard on us and it was hard on those we loved. They were left in the dark, hurt and worried but I wouldn’t do it any different. We wanted time to figure things out before the accusation came out publicly. We HAD to focus on ourselves. We had to protect our girls and make them feel safe.


 This time of isolation was one filled with pleadings to God – asking for guidance and using our faith to get us through each day. I didn’t want my daughters to see me weeping, but that is exactly what I did. I wept for my daughters’ innocence, for their fear, and for the anger that filled my body. I cried every day after daughter told me about being abused. Finally, I asked the leader of our church group to come give us all a blessing. I stopped crying. My husband and I truly felt Heavenly Father wrap his arms around us, guiding us with patience and love. Our home felt one step closer to happy.

I remember pleading with God for the power of healing for my daughter and for my heart. I didn’t wait for my prayers to be answered; I used the tools around me. I felt guided as I got to work and researched what needed to be done to help my children, now a “parent of an abused child.” I reported the abuse, had my daughter interviewed, found a therapist who was awesome for our daughter and found a group therapy for all of us.

On December 18th my daughter started play therapy with a professional therapist who specialized in child abuse. She really enjoyed going and went 1-2 a week. Soon the healing came, in fact our therapist was pleased at how well our daughter did moving on and not feeling broken. Our prayers were answered by the help of professionals who helped us sort our feelings and learn skills to cope.

I remember seeing my daughter progress quickly in therapy while I was still trying to truly accept that a person I loved had done this to my daughters. Our abuser was a loved one, close to us all, loving, sweet, totally normal. She … yes it was an adult woman … showered my girls with gifts. When I offered to get a babysitter so she wouldn’t have to stay home she insisted on babysitting the girls herself as a favor. She always volunteered to put our girls to bed and it always seemed to take forever. The signs and promptings I had were there but shadowed by the trust and love we felt.

In February the doctor said that we needed to make a decision. We needed to decide if we would ever see the abuser again. We took a weekend to pray and think it over but kept coming back to our gut answer. NEVER AGAIN. What does never again mean when it is a loved one?  It means you miss weddings, parties, funerals, holidays, any gathering. It sounds harsh but our immediate family took priority over our extended family.

February 4th, just days after we told our daughter she would never have to see the abuser again – that she would always be safe – she disclosed to her doctor and to the police. She just needed to know she was safe before she told anyone else. The state had no choice but to press charges. On February 20th the abuser was arrested on 3 counts of felony sodemy of a child. It was a whirlwind of emotions. Our loved ones quickly became aware of WHY we had been so distant and quickly rallied around the abuser and abandoned us for months. We were heartbroken to say the least. However, rehashing the events brought bad spirit into our home, contention and anger, which we wanted no part of. We spent holidays with neighbors and extended family who supported us and found peace in the love we were offered.

She was released and refused a lie detector test. We were devastated but learned that child abuse cases are the worst – there are no wins. So rather than fight it civilly we chose to alert those who came into contact with her so they could choose to protect their children or not. We forced no one to believe us or to side with us.

My heart softened as time went by, and when the abuser was released without charges I got over it. My prayers are still being answered as my heart softens to forgive those who abandoned my children and us, and one day, for the abuser. People are outraged when they hear this is how it ended but it is what it is. Our life is good and for me that is what is important.


We decided to focus on healing and move on. We had to. We were carrying such heavy burdens. What did we do to heal? We started marriage counseling in April and also started family group therapy. Two weeks after finding out in December, I joined a gym. I used fitness as my drug as I punched, pedaled, and lifted my way through the pain. I became stronger mentally, emotionally and as a bonus physically. This saved me. This is how I coped and how I continue to cope.

I prayed personally, often in the shower with silent prayers to God asking for comfort, guidance, and to keep going.  I wrote down my story each week in a journal, which helped me to stop venting to my husband about old and new events over and over. Again, we found that rehashing how things happened did not help but hurt the spirit in our home.

Finally, three months after we found out about the abuse, I had a very strong feeling that in order for me to heal I needed to help others.  I didn’t know how to do it, but I knew I had to be a voice.  I found out child abuse awareness month falls in April and I decided I would post our story.  It was scary and I got a handful of “unlikes” on Facebook. but for the hundreds who responded positively it was worth it.  For now I share our story on my social media accounts. My hope is to let others know there is life after abuse and it can be a happy one.

I feel so blessed that my then little 4-year-old was brave enough – in the 10% of abused children who tell – actually told me what had happened.  She has a tender heart and wants to be good and choose the right. I feel blessed when my girls wake up and tell me they had good dreams rather than fear filled nightmares. I feel so blessed seeing the change the blessing from my church leaders brought to my family. We have all felt such comfort and peace in our home. My daughter has that light back in her eyes … she is becoming more outgoing again. It is still on her mind but now she tells me and we talk it out.

I am blessed with a now 6-year-old daughter who knows she has a Heavenly Father who can help her, comfort her and she has pure faith that if she asks He will heal.


I remember wishing I had someone to talk to during the early stages and not knowing who to turn to who would understand.  Now that I am here, I am willing to listen and to offer friendship if you need it.  Feel free to contact me via email @ You can also connect with me on Instagram and Facebook at

You Might Also Like


  • Reply Ashlee September 10, 2014 at 7:32 am

    Wow. Thank you so much for sharing your story. We have had similar experiences in our extended family and I am always grateful for people who are so brave to share their stories. I truly believe it is a huge way to “bear one another’s burdens that they may be light” because people don’t feel as alone with their experiences when they learn there are others out there who have similar ones. It is so inspiring to see how you are getting through it, able to forgive and heal through therapy and the gospel. Thank you again for this powerful story.

    • Reply Ashlynn November 19, 2015 at 11:11 pm

      Ashlee thank you for taking the time to read, comment & send us your virtual support & love. Speaking up has been a huge deal for our entire family. My girls are always willing to share with others what they have learned. Huge win

  • Reply Kim September 10, 2014 at 3:02 pm

    Thank you Ashlynn! This is such a powerful way to break the silence. Love you and your family for being so brave!

  • Reply Tiff September 10, 2014 at 3:18 pm

    Ashlynn, Thank you! Thank you for your testimony of faith, hope & healing. This topic is dear to my heart and I’m so thankful when I hear stories of faith, hope & healing such as yours. Hugs to you and your family!

    • Reply Ashlynn November 19, 2015 at 11:09 pm

      Tiff thank you for taking the time to read, comment & send us your virtual hugs!

  • Reply Jesika Harmon September 10, 2014 at 8:40 pm

    Thank you so much for being willing to share this Ashlynn. As a parent of daughters this is honestly one of my greatest fears. It is so comforting to hear that there has been so much healing and that your family has truly been strengthened through this trial. You are amazing.

  • Reply Saras Pimsakul September 11, 2014 at 11:05 am

    Thank you Ashlynn for sharing so others who have small children can be more aware,cautious and observant of people around their children including very close family members and loved ones. Your girls are so beautiful and you’re a wonderful Mom!!!

    • Reply Ashlynn January 28, 2015 at 11:25 pm

      Saras I love you – thank you!

  • Reply Jocelyn September 11, 2014 at 10:57 pm

    Others will experience this same horrible thing. Thank you for sharing your story. Your courage is strong, you are your children’s rock and you are their advocate. I am so grateful you listened to their story and let the Spirit direct you in the right path. You have beautiful girls, and what a great mom you are to of acted fast. So many sweet children do not have a mother who will protect them, and believe the words they say when they are crying out for help. Your girls will never forget, that you stepped in and saved them. What a inspiration you are to all.

    • Reply Ashlynn January 28, 2015 at 11:25 pm

      Thank you for your sweet words & taking the time to write them Jocelyn

  • Reply Heather@Women in the Scriptures September 13, 2014 at 7:57 pm

    Wow this really touched my heart. What an incredible story. I so appreciate you sharing it. I loved how you said you had to focus on the healing and let the anger go. That is SO hard to do, but like you said it makes all the difference. What you went through is every parent’s worst nightmare and it is so encouraging to me to hear you talk about healing… and hope. That is so powerful!

    • Reply Ashlynn January 28, 2015 at 11:24 pm

      Thanks Heather. I am still working on the forgiveness but so much of the anger is gone. I had anger for all those who abandoned us – not just the abuser. It was so much more productive in our healing process to let go & seek God. It sounds simple but it took me a LONG time!

  • Reply Nicola Bridgwater September 14, 2014 at 1:06 am

    My heart bleeds when I hear experiences like this. You have handled such a dreadful situation so well and so bravely. It is always doubly difficult when it’s a close friend or family member. Having witnessed friends going through a similar situation I have a question. How do we help people believe and understand the abused, rather than rally round the abuser? I assume it’s a case of not wanting to believe it, but not believing the family who is experiencing such a traumatic event makes the pain worse. Your transition from raw pain to healing has been inspirational to read, thank you.

    • Reply Ashlynn January 28, 2015 at 11:22 pm

      Nicola, I wish I had the answer honesty. When I attended group therapy it was more common to have our same experience than to have the family support the abused. The only thing I can think of is that it took ME months before I could accept WHO it was. I accepted it happened the moment she told me, but WHO it was … that was much harder. I think it takes those who are family to both sides a long time to make sense out of something that will never make sense. They feel they must pick sides when no such thing is needed. Truly the best thing is to love them both & offer help & ask how they are doing.

  • Reply Liz September 19, 2014 at 11:52 am

    I had a very similar experience to you (except I was the one abused)–right down to losing support from family as they rallied around the abuser. As a kid it really confused me. As an older teenager it made me feel bitter. But as I started to remember the person my abuser was, and imagined the trials that must come after a humiliating exposure of your bad choices catching up with you, and all the social stigmas and consequences that come with abusing a child, all the opportunities that were lost for them—in short, I felt a lot of sympathy for my abuser eventually (and still do). I’m glad there was someone there to rally around them and help them recover from the addictions that led to such terrible choices. They needed to know that they could overcome this sin and still have people love them–not a lot of sinners to that degree have that, and I’m grateful my abuser did.

    That’s not to say that I don’t still wish someone had rallied around me–I do, I still very much wish somebody had. But since society really can’t see molesters/abusers as anything but a sub-human predator rather than someone who needs love and help, I’m glad my family could give them the hope and support they needed.

    • Reply Ashlynn January 28, 2015 at 11:20 pm

      Liz thank you for sharing. Honestly you are much better than I am! I struggled for so long to see that our abuser deserved the same support we wished for. She didn’t get any help & has moved on with her life without us – no harm done right? 😉 I do worry about her at this point in my life. I hope for her to find peace & seek help for what she did to my girls. I can’t make sense of what she did & why & I may never but I do believe one day I will have pure forgiveness. That is my goal. Hugs to you my friend. <3

      • Reply Em October 30, 2015 at 9:17 am

        Not to sound grim, but the reality is, she may not get the help she needs until the people in her life realize what happened was real and that she did what she did! That may mean she does it again to someone else and then gets accused again. Secondly, I can’t help but wonder if she too was abused, which is commonly and very sadly the case. I guess this is why we are admonished to pray for our enemies! Maybe praying for her will help the trauma from continuing on to another child. Or the prayers may help bring it all to light. Only our wise Heavenly Father knows for sure and His son simply commanded us to love our enemies. We are still going through the process of healing for my husbands daughter. The court process is drawn out. Her abuser is in hiding. Her own mother and grandparents have shunned her. We know the Lord has a plan. Right now we are holding the space of healing for her because we are otherwise helpless. We are also praying for the abuser. For him to be found by the police and put to trial. To prevent the continuation with another child. Love and support to you from us. Thank you for your story.

  • Reply Jen November 2, 2014 at 5:11 pm

    Your sorry saddens my heart. My son is a victim of sexual abuse by his grandparents on my exhusbands side. It was reported last aug. 2013 a lot has happened since we found out. The abuse started at the age of 4 & didn’t stop till I stopped my son from visiting his dad. The grandparents were arrested in aug. 2014 the grandma past away in jail sept. 2014 waiting preliminary hearing & the grandpa is in jail waiting his trial that start dec. 8 2014 on 5 counts. 3 CSC & 2 aiding & abedding. My son has been in counseling since may 2013. So many things have changed in our family. My son lost grandparents, a dad, aunts & uncles, cousins. It’s just so sad bc the so called grandparents have done this to there own kids, nieces & nephews. It’s been going on for 40 plus years. I blame myself for not teaching my kids about bad touches & good touches. I blame myself for not seeing the abuse. But now after he has told & the way his dad was when we was married I now see the big picture & it all makes sense. I know my exhusbands was abused & I can’t believe that he is siding with his dad (abuser) & not his own son. I can’t believe that he didn’t protect his own son from the horrible people. Now I have cps involved for failure to protect so they will list my
    Exhusbands name on the child abuse registry & take his rights away to our son. My son is almost 15 & he sees that his dad isn’t on his side. I will send many prayers to you & our beautiful family. God bless you

    • Reply Ashlynn January 28, 2015 at 11:17 pm

      Jen I am so so sorry. I have no words for your hurt & the loss of so much. I can understand in a small way how you have felt & my heart goes out to you & your son. Sending you lots of hugs!

      • Reply Jen February 9, 2015 at 12:27 pm

        Ashlynn I just wanted to update you on my sons case against his grandparents. We had court today and his abuser (grandpa) took a plea of a minimum if 7years. A part of me feels relieved that it’s over. I feel so much better that he can’t hurt another child. He gets sentenced on March 12, 2015. I have a little over 3 weeks to write a victims impact statement (a letter of a lifetime) I’m ready to put this part of our lives behind us. Thanks for listening God bless

  • Reply Christie Sorden February 24, 2015 at 8:22 pm

    What an Amazing Moman you are. To not have any idea where to start or what to do but as an amazing Mom you just did. You supported and protected your child. This is how it should always be…but unfortunately isnt. God bless you and the example you are. How lucky your children are to have such a bravery strong Mother… have showed them that NO matter what you will always protect them. That is a extremely special gift that you have given them. God Bless you, your husband, and your beautiful babes.

    • Reply Ashlynn April 2, 2015 at 8:13 pm

      You are sweet Christie. It always makes the negative of our situation fade when I am reminded how important it is for my girls to move forward with strength. I would do little different in how we handled things – I am grateful for your support & love.

  • Reply Christie Sorden February 24, 2015 at 8:23 pm

    What an amazing Mom you are.

  • Reply tony March 6, 2015 at 10:47 am

    hola,disculpa que te escriba en español,vi tu pagina atraves de instagram, yo soy mexicano, y soy pequeño empresario, pero aunque no soy celiaco, tambien tengo una dieta libre de gluten, me gustaria que me mandaras datos, o consejos, por tu atencion gracias.

    • Reply Ashlynn April 2, 2015 at 8:11 pm

      Hola – usted puede enviarme un email a y podemos charlar. Yo no hablo español pero he usado google traductor.

  • Reply Taylor April 3, 2015 at 7:57 am

    Wow. Thank you for your amazing story and sharing your guys strength with the rest of us. As a father of a 5 year old daughter I feel so protective of my girls (wife and daughter). I sometimes feel I go overboard in my protectiveness, but realize there’s nothing wrong with that. I am so happy you guys were able to, with the help of the Lord, find peace. Even when our legal system did not, you were able to move on and be better for it. This world will only get better because of strong people like you and your family. Thank you again and your story will stay with me and my wife as we continue to raise our children. Yours is a voice of strength and you will be blessed for sharing.

  • Reply Leah Bergmann April 3, 2015 at 10:41 am

    your story was so heartbreaking. It touched home with me. I had children, yes plural, that were abused when they were younger, and only found out about it when they were grown. It is heartbreaking and indeed takes a toll on the family. I am glad you have found your peace. Heavenly Father is so wonderful, His warmth and love blanket us and give us hope. Thank you again for your courage in sharing this with us all.

  • Reply Cris April 3, 2015 at 9:23 pm

    Thank you for sharing! This is very honest and inspiring. I love your willingness to take something incredibly difficult, and often all too private, experience to give victims hope and a voice. Statistically speaking, the abuser is more likely someone that we know rather than a stranger. I know this first hand and have had a difficult mountain to climb. I have overcome many obstacles and now train Military Troops about family violence to include domestic violence and child abuse. I can’t change my experiences so I use them to help others, hopefully prevent these experiences or through something they may already have experienced. I know it is only through the atonement of Jesus Christ that I am where I am at today. I love the gospel! I grateful I have been able discover who I really am. A child of God.

    “I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.” Carl Gustav Jung

  • Reply Roma Atkin April 4, 2015 at 8:07 am

    I was abused as a child. I lTer in life learned that my mother had also been abused by the same person. So much water under the bridge from the last 40 years. I am changed forever. The way I think, feel and respond to life had been altered. I swore I would protect my daughters from ever experiencing what I did. My world was rocked to its foundations when I found out from a daughter away at college that I had NOT!! Even with my warnings and questioning of my children, it happened under my nose. The abuse of my children far outweighed the pain of my own abuse, because I felt such blame!! How could I HAVE MISSED IT!!! I still struggle with that! I could not face life without the gospel and the knowledge that the savior suffered for all out afflictions and not just our many sins!! Our lives are altered forever. To what degree and weather it is positive or negative is up to us! I pray constantly for continued healing for all!!
    Thank you for sharing your story! Part of healing is the revealing!! God bless you and your family

  • Reply Jenny April 9, 2015 at 10:19 pm

    I was molested at age 6 my my dad’s cousin. My sister was as well. I’m not sure how long it took us but we finally told our parents. telling and having them protect us was a comfort and I often think of how horrible the expierence was but how much worse it would have been if we never told and never felt validated for what we went through. Now in my 40s I have a daughter of my own. Your journey is a blessing to so many. Don’t ever stop sharing it. Your daughter trusted you enough to tell you. In the long run her life will be so much better for telling and trusting that you and her Dad would protect her. God bless you and your sweet daughter.

  • Reply Stephanie Bennett April 10, 2015 at 7:33 pm

    I really appricated your story. Thank you for sharing. It has inspired me to be more proactive in this area of educating my own children. You and your family are truly amazing. 🙂

  • Reply Sam April 10, 2015 at 10:41 pm

    Thank you for sharing your story. I was sexually abused by a neighbor as a child and I was one of the 90% who didn’t tell. It has been 20 years since it happened and I finally told my dad about it a few months ago. Your girls are so blessed to have a relationship with you where they are comfortable sharing things with you. Abuse is such a scary thing and it can destroy your whole life if you let it…I am so inspired by the way your family is dealing with this awful thing that has happened. Again, thank you for sharing your story!

  • Reply Treena April 26, 2015 at 11:31 am

    Your story made me cry and also felt like I got punched in the stomach… As a mom of two this is my worst nightmare but you sharing your story opened my eyes to being that much more aware and asking the right questions…. Thank you for opening up about this and making families more aware!

  • Reply Stacey June 19, 2015 at 8:10 pm

    This breaks my heart… I was abused as a child by my Sunday school teacher. My parents phot for many years on my be half he was sent to prison and tried killing himself within the first week there got paralyzed and was released to his parents in California …we “won” settlement but he never paid my parents kept fighting but when I was old enough I stopped it, I was done, I wanted to move on! I recently found out that last year he flew to Europe to have himself euthanized. I had mix emotions about this, but ultimately makes me feel bad for him. What a sad life he lived.

  • Reply Cyndi July 18, 2015 at 1:25 pm

    I put a family member in prison whom abused two of my four children, we lost so much, family, innocence, the list goes on. But I Won she’s been there for three years (yeah) thanks for sharing but knowing and being where you are I will let you know my children are now teenagers and would be mortified and victimized all over again if I Posted there photos and a gave a face to the horrendous abuse that happened to them. I’m not saying not to share i think you should I’m just saying in my experience with my children being teens they only want the people closest to them to put a face to they’re abuse.

    • Reply Ashlynn November 19, 2015 at 11:21 pm

      Oh believe my we thought about that a million times & talked it over with our therapists & daughters. Our daughters actually choose to be open about it in school & to those who reach out. We have taught them with a lot of hard work that there is no shame in what happened to them. They view it as being strong & I stand behind them. Thank you though.

  • Reply Mandy Kongaika September 2, 2015 at 1:20 pm

    Thanks for being so brave. This is so powerful! Would you consider joining the effort to get SCream Run Tell into schools in your area? If you’re interested please email me or Aloha Mandy Kongaika.

  • Reply Kasey October 30, 2015 at 7:31 pm

    This makes my heart break and swell at the same time. I am so glad you, your daughters, and family were able to find healing and love through the atonement of Jesus Christ. This is something I have nightmares about happening to my girls. I was wondering do you have any posts on prevention? How to talk to young children about things that should not be done to them? If you don’t would you consider writing one?

    • Reply Ashlynn November 19, 2015 at 11:17 pm

      Thank you – I am working on it. I post on my fitness & personal IG & FB accounts everyday during April every year since this happened. I talk about prevention more than just awareness. I am working on getting it all in one place for my readers to be filled with knowledge. Until then go to – such a great website!

  • Reply Sarah Gardner November 4, 2015 at 9:12 pm

    As many have said, thank you for sharing your story. The stigma around sexual abuse needs to go away and its needs to be talked about more openly. Maybe if it weren’t such a hush hush topic, and people understood how often it really happens and more about it, they wouldn’t choose to side with the abuser. I just wanted to commend you for doing the best thing for your daughters and your family. I’m sure it has been heartbreaking. But coming from experience I can tell you that YOUR love and support, and the fact that you protected her and chose her, is one of the biggest tools you can/have given her to heal. I was sexually abused from about age 3-10 by my grandfather. I remember telling my parents several times and them saying things like, “this just happens to girls” and lying to me telling me I would be safe and to be quiet. I can tell you that the hurt and pain from their betrayal/denial hurts and has caused as much if not more damage than the actual abuse.
    Thank you for loving your daughters and giving them a safe and happy home. That love and support will be a foundation for their future healing and overcoming life’s trials in general. You are a strong woman!!

    • Reply Ashlynn November 19, 2015 at 11:16 pm

      OH that breaks my heart! Sending you lots of love for what happened to you. I fully agree that choosing to talk more openly about such a taboo topic is a step in the right direction. The statistics are outrageous & if people stopped believing “it won’t happen to me” then I think they may pay more attention to how often it really happens.

  • Reply Mandie November 4, 2015 at 10:53 pm

    Ashlynn- thank you for sharing. I’m so sorry that you and your family had to go through this. I am so appreciative of your openness of such an horrible thing. As a parent, I get sick worrying about this very thing. I feel like I cannot trust anyone which is so sad- but in stories like yours, you cannot help but wonder! Do you have any advice at all or warning signs to watch for?

  • Reply Mandie November 4, 2015 at 10:56 pm

    Ashlynn, I am so sorry. You are a strong woman! This is a huge fear as a parent- do you have any warning signs or tips on how to talk to your kids about this?

    • Reply Ashlynn November 19, 2015 at 11:13 pm

      Thank you for taking the time to read & comment. Yes there were signs but when I googled the behaviors it was always a parenting folly. It finally broke when my daughters rage turned into thoughts of dying. My 4 year old wished she was dead & I knew something was wrong. Also trusting your gut. If something feels off – don’t hesitate a minute. Hurting someones feelings means NOTHING compared to what could happen if you don’t act. I had those gut feelings & I did react but just not enough.

    Leave a Reply