Survivor Stories
Jaron Winder

Jaron found the inner strength and the external help he needed to overcome childhood abuse, adult trauma, and discrimination, and he still smiles infectiously.

Given the many challenges that Jaron has faced, it is fairly remarkable that the most common expression you will see on his face is an infectious smile. Growing up Mormon in Utah, being gay was simply not acceptable. Being sexually abused, for years, by a neighbor, was unmentionable. Being sexually assaulted as a young man in Dallas by three thugs had to be quickly buried with all the other traumas.

But somehow a life force in Jaron would neither be crushed nor silenced. He had married and fathered three children to whom he was deeply devoted. When the pain of the accumulated traumas became unsustainable, he faced a crisis. He realized that he could not escape either the traumas or the pain, so he began to confront them.

He searched online for help and resources – and he found them. He sought out counseling, and he persevered until he found the right therapist. Small step by small step, Jaron worked his way out of his long silence. Step by step, a Jaron who could be true to himself emerged. His marriage could not survive these changes, but his relationship with his children is stronger than ever. Their response to his disclosure that he was sexually abused: an outpouring of love and hugs.

Today, Jaron and his partner, Graham, are looking forward to a future together, a relationship sealed in marriage.