***Trigger warning: child abuse, sexual abuse
Just before 2023 ended, Michelle Madrigal made a brave revelation. On Instagram, she opened up about her experience as a sexual abuse victim at a very young age.
"Those close to me understand that I'm a survivor myself. To be completely transparent, I endured sexual abuse at a tender age for a number of years, a time when my innocence was cruelly taken, leading to a tumultuous adolescence," she wrote on Instagram.
Michelle revealed that she was only able to seek professional help for her trauma at the age of 20. "Unaware I was experiencing PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) For nearly a decade, I held onto something that was finally released when I opened up," Michelle said.
For the longest time, Michelle shared how she attributed her frustration to her teenage angst or what we can call a rebellious phase—until she underwent therapy for it. "I was angry, indifferent, seeking solace in drugs, and alcohol to escape the overwhelming emotions, unworthiness, and fear. I often questioned why it happened to me," the former actress noted.
View this post on Instagram
ICYDK, Michelle left showbiz in 2016. Since then she has been focusing on her simple and quiet life in the USA with her daughter, Anika. In her post, she mentioned that she had found her new purpose in life. She offers a helping hand to sexual abuse victims and survivors.
"My purpose is clear: to support survivors," Michelle firmly stated. She also divulged that some victims are scared to confide their experiences to their parents. As a mother now, Michelle aims to be the best support system not just to her kid, but to other survivors out there.
She furthered, "I'm determined to change the narrative, to extend a helping hand, and foster an environment where openness and support prevail."
Along with her testimony, she has put up a donation drive that will be given to the National Sexual Assault Hotline in the USA.
Experiencing sexual assault is an incredibly difficult and traumatic experience. However, it is important to remember that you are not alone, and support is available to help you navigate the path to healing and seek justice.
If you feel that you need counseling and/or legal advice for yourself or anyone else, please contact the Violence Against Women (VAW) Desk of the Philippine Commission on Women at (02) 8735-1654 or (02) 8736-5249. You can also reach out to the Philippine National Police (PNP) Women and Children Protection Center (WCPC) to file a complaint by calling (0966) 725-5961 (Globe) or (0919) 777-7377 (Smart). Here is a more complete list of hotlines you can reach out to for further assistance.