Brandon began the Humans of New York project as a visual display of NYC’s inhabitants. However, he relates that several months into the project the people’s quotes and stories  began to emerge and joined with their pictures. The result is now a vibrant blog and a New York Times best selling book.

Survivors of relationship and sexual abuse often wear their scars inside; we see neither how they were  were damaged nor how they overcame the trauma  and healed. It’s interesting to read just a few sentences next to a photo that tell us so much about that journey to freedom from abuse.

Every day at Wellspring  we  hear survivors struggling with decisions that are similar to this woman’s story of confusion, self-blame and wanting to do what’s best for her unborn child.

“He put me in the hospital when I was pregnant with her. The next day he started crying, begging for forgiveness. He said: ‘I’m so sorry, I was drunk, I need you so much.’ So I took him back. The next time it happened, he managed to convince me that it was my fault. He said that he wouldn’t have gotten so angry if I had paid more attention to him. So I started thinking that I could be better. Then it happened again. Honestly, I stayed with him so much longer than I should have because I was afraid of becoming the stereotype of a single black mother.”

This woman’s 120 lbs of solid muscle represents her path to rebuilding her confidence and support system.

“My children’s father was physically and emotionally abusive, so by the time I left him I had very low self-confidence. I needed something to boost my ego. One day I saw some firefighters handing out recruitment material on the street so I decided to give it a try. All the female recruits trained together, because we had to work harder than the men to pass the test. We trained for six months, three hours a day. I’d go straight from my job to the training sessions. I’d bring my kids with me, and when it was my turn to do the drills, the other women would take turns passing them around. At the end of the six months, I was 120 pounds of solid mass, and I passed the test easily. I never became a firefighter, but those women are still my friends.”