Incest Survivor Shares Her Story 

The bond between a father and daughter is a special one. That’s why the story of Kayla Garriott will be difficult for many to understand.Last May, the 20-year old father was sent to prison for sexually abusing her.A jury found Kevin Cobb, of Lamoine, guilty on 18 counts of gross sexual assault.Joy Hollowell recently sat down with Kayla, to hear how the young woman is doing now, and why she wants to help other victims find their voice.=======”My junior prom was the first time that he ever used penetration and he drugged me then, but I clearly knew that something had happened and it wasn’t right.”Kayla Garriott was 15 then, and had already endured five years of sexual abuse by her biological father. Kevin Cobb and Kayla’s mother were divorced at the time. Kayla says the assaults happened during visits to him.”Obviously, at 10 I didn’t know. I’m supposed to love my father and as I got older I started to realize this wasn’t the relationship I was supposed to be having.”Kayla kept the abuse a secret.”I wanted to hide it as much as possible, I guess in a way I was protecting him because that’s what you’re supposed to do as a daughter. I thought I could stop it myself, I thought, as I got older, I knew that it was wrong, if I go there I could eventually tell him no,” she says.Instead of talking about it, Kayla wrote about it, in a secret diary she kept hidden underneath her bed for years. But when Kayla turned 17, her mother found it. “I went to strip her bed and a journal come flying up from the sheets. And the reason why I started reading it, was because the title was ‘welcome to my life, welcome to my nightmare.,” says Robin Garriott Bouchard.Kevin Cobb is now serving 12 years at the state prison in Warren. He has never taken responsibility for abusing Kayla, something the judge took into consideration during sentencing.”I don’t consider him to make me who I am. I choose that in my own mind. And he might have molded me, but I definitely don’t think that he made the concrete of me,” says Kayla.”This has done nothing but consume my life these past three and a half years. I don’t really sleep anymore, I wake up thinking ‘oh my gosh, how could I not know this was happening to my daughter?'” says Robin Garriott Bouchard.Robin has learned how to forgive herself and with the exception of being a bit over-protective, mother and daughter are closer than ever. As for Kayla, she’s doesn’t call herself a victim. “Definitely, I’m proud to say that I’m a survivor,” says Kayla. “Obviously, if I could go back and this couldn’t happen, I would definitely choose that road, but because I didn’t have a choice, you have to choose to make the best of it.”+++++++++Kayla Garriott recently participated in a Skype interview with Oprah Winfrey on child molestors.No word yet on when it will air.Kayla is now in the process of setting up a non-profit group for survivors of rape, sexual abuse and incest. She’s also hoping to publish her journal and poems about her seven years of abuse.If you’d like to get involved in Kayla’s support group, she’s started a Facebook page. It’s called Breathe the A.I.R.You can also contact Kayla at [email protected]