Skip to content

Two Different Worlds – EP. 15

Share on twitter
Share on facebook
Share on pinterest
Share on linkedin
Kirsten Palladino struggled to forgive herself for being vulnerable after sexual abuse



Top Takeaways From This Episode:

  • Trauma doesn’t have to hold us back from living a full life
  • One helping hand may be all someone needs to get out of a bad situation
  • Connecting with others who have shared your experience can be a pathway to healing

Show Notes:


Kirsten Palladino, this guest on this episode of The Brave Files, shares the story of how she turned her life around after years of sexual abuse and trauma.

For a long time, Kirsten was living in two different worlds: by day, playing the part of a happy teenager, and by night, being subjected to horrible abuse. As a young girl, Kirsten was molested by a family friend. In high school, she was victimized by several classmates. Somehow, Kirsten found the courage to tell her story, allowing her to begin the difficult process of healing and putting herself back together.

Today, Kirsten has risen above the traumatic events of her young life to build a successful life and business. Together with her wife, Maria, she founded Equally Wed, an online magazine and digital resource for same-sex weddings. She also authored a book of the same title (Equally Wed).

Kirsten's first book, Equally Wed

Kirsten’s #MeToo story is also a story of #WhyIStayed. The interview sheds light on how victims of sexual abuse can wrongly blame themselves.

Kirsten’s three words say everything about this brave woman. Despite the horrors she has experienced, she chooses to live a life that is brave, joyful and full of love. There are so many gifts in this episode.

Today, a successful business owner, author, wife and mother, Kirsten Palladino had a rough start in life. The Brave Files Podcast

Today, Kirsten is a successful business owner, author, wife and, mother.


My story may be unusual and I love telling how I am working through sexual trauma. But I also believe that we are all brave. When people hear my story or even segments of it, I'm often told “You're so brave” or “You're so strong.” And yes, I am. I will own that. I can be humble and still proud of how far I've come. I've been close to death. I've been locked up in a mental institution on suicide watch. I've held my dead baby in my teenage arms. I've wondered if I'd ever make it out of houses alive. I have wondered if I'd ever be able to make love without feeling fear. I've wondered if I would ever be able to forgive myself for being so vulnerable, for being such easy prey, for simply being a child. 

But I also love Emily Dickinson's words of wisdom that essentially say that we are all brave:

We never know how high we are
Till we are called to rise;
And then, if we are true to plan,
Our statures touch the skies—

The Heroism we recite
Would be a daily thing,
Did not ourselves the Cubits warp
For fear to be a King—

A teenage Kirsten Palladino hid the trauma and abuse from her friends and family. The Brave Files Podcast.

As a teenager, Kirsten hid the trauma and abuse from her friends and loved ones.

Giving is Good:

The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) operates the National Sexual Violence Hotline (800-656-HOPE) and works to prevent sexual violence and help survivors.

Kirsten is also active with Georgia Equality, which supports lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people throughout the state of Georgia.

Kirsten Palladino struggled to forgive herself for being vulnerable after sexual abuse
The Brave Files is supported by:
The Brave Files is supported by Audiuble

Audible is the premier provider of digital audiobooks. Audible has over 180,000 titles to choose from in every genre: thrillers, business, romance, comedy, sci-fi and more. Audible titles play on iPhone, Kindle, Android and more than 500 devices for listening anytime, anywhere.

Grab your Free Trial and FREE Audio Book Now!

For you, the listeners of  The Brave Files podcast, Audible is offering a free audiobook download with a free 30-day trial to give you the opportunity to check out their service. Give it a try now!

About Your Host:
Heather Vickery
Heather Vickery
Heather Vickery is an award-winning business owner and global leader with over 20 years as an entrepreneur. She leverages her entrepreneurial skills and expertise to coach individuals towards greater personal and professional fulfillment by helping them leverage their fear into intentional bravery. Heather says “When we choose bravely, on purpose, we choose bigger, have bigger successes and it’s contagious” A celebrated public speaker, Heather inspires audiences and empowers attendees with the tools they need to live bold and successful lives through creating balance, time management, mindfulness, as well as countless systems, strategies, and boundaries. She’s the author of Gratitude Journal: Shift Your Focus and Grow Grateful: A Gratitude Journal for Kids and Families. Heather is also the host and executive producer of The Brave Files Podcast.
Receive the Brave Journey Newsletter?