Let Me Introduce Myself...
My name is Kelly Brennan. I am 36 years old that was born and raised on Long Island in New York. I am a sexual assault survivor and mental health advocate. Most notably, I was assaulted by Jeffrey Epstein in 2003, and if you're willing to listen, I'd like to share my story and what I've learned throughout my journey of recovery. In doing so, I hope to ensure that no one else goes through what I had to endure.
Despite growing up in a loving environment with my family doing the best they could, I had endured abuse and neglect none-the-less. I started being molested at around age five by someone I trusted, only to have the behaviors reinforced as normal when a second abuser entered my life, continuing the sexual abuse. Not aware that about a quarter of children that are molested go on to repeat the behaviors with other children, I learned to hate myself for doing just that. As I continued to grow, the atmosphere in my home became toxic due to a loved one's mental health and developmental disorders. As I grew, I reached out to trusted adults for help. However, instead of helping me, they only took advantage of my vulnerable state; I now recognize their behaviors as statutory rape.
Meeting Jeffrey Epstein
After graduating from high school I traveled to upstate New York to attend college in 2003. While participating in freshman orientation, I met a girl who later befriended me and introduced me to Epstein at a restaurant in New York City. While at that restaurant, Epstein and others presented me with the opportunity of a ‘paid modeling audition,’ and then, using that as a cover, Epstein sexually assaulted me, testing to see where I drew the line. Unaware of his deception, during a second encounter with Epstein at his Manhattan residence, he brutally raped and tortured me. To make sure I didn't cause trouble for him, he later had me stalked and threatened, making it impossible for me to tell authorities or even seek proper medical treatment.
The decades of abuse that I endured by Epstein and numerous others had a drastically negative impact on my mental state. Because of this, I have felt inadequate and like I didn't belong for as long as I can remember. Starting at around age five, I was molested by someone I knew. That was followed by experiencing statutory rape as a teenager at the hands of people in positions that children have been taught to trust, like educators and coaches. After my experiences with Epstein, things only got worse. Yet, because of his threats, I could not get help and have unknowingly struggled with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), depression, and anxiety for almost two decades. I have typically felt like I was failing to manage the everyday responsibilities of life. Most of the time, I was drowning, barely coming up for air, falling more and more behind while I watched everyone else pass me by. With each failure, I became further convinced that I was broken or lazy and that it was my fault. I was on a path of destruction, set for a life that I couldn’t call my own because I wasn’t the one in control. That role was stolen from me years ago when Epstein forced me to choose survival over free will. I was just a passenger along for the ride, and I probably would have continued to live life as a muted, lesser version of myself if it weren’t for what occurred during the year 2020.
My Heroes & Road to Recovery
Luckily, unbeknownst to me, my heroes were already on their way. Several brave women, each on their own journey, gave me the strength to free myself from my cage of isolation, self-deprecation, and denial, essentially saving my life and allowing me to tell you the story that I'm prepared to share with you. Every day, I continue to thank them for saving me because a life ruled by fear or filled with guilt and shame is not truly a life at all. They’ve allowed me to be myself, to finally find my voice, and to, at last, after all these years, use that voice for good. And that’s precisely what I intend to do. It's clear my heroes need a rest, and they truly deserve it, but the quest for justice needs to continue. I genuinely believe the only way we'll find it is through knowledge, and to get that, survivors need to be willing to open up. However, even now, after the MeToo movement, that’s easier said than done. People shouldn't have to be brave or strong to obtain justice or help.
Mental Health & Sexual Assault Advocate
For years I've been embarrassed and ashamed of what happened to me, and lately, I've started asking myself why. The assault caused enough damage; sharing what happened with others shouldn't cause more harm. Yet, it does. Going to the authorities, sharing your story with the public or even getting the medical resources you need often causes additional damage along the way. Plus, as a society, we've made talking about sex and certain body parts taboo; adding assault into the conversation makes it nearly impossible. So, I offer myself and my story to you all, hoping that I help even just one person out there. You'll learn lots about me and the trauma I endured throughout my life. I hope for your support as I continue my journey because I'm tired of being embarrassed and ashamed or feeling guilty and like I did something wrong because criminals decided to make me their victim.