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‘Pushing through’

Middleburg’s Martin survives young betrayal to be empowered to succeed

By Don Coble don@claytodayonline.com
Posted 4/27/23

MIDDLEBURG – Aspyn Martin’s story is difficult to hear, but the Middleburg High senior said telling is empowering.

She was raped by her stepfather when she was 11, and she had his baby when …

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‘Pushing through’

Middleburg’s Martin survives young betrayal to be empowered to succeed


Posted

MIDDLEBURG – Aspyn Martin’s story is difficult to hear, but the Middleburg High senior said telling it is empowering.

She was assaulted by her stepfather when she was 11, and she had his baby when she was 12. Then she bounced between more than a dozen foster homes before finally finding a loving family three years ago.

She is also the Student Council’s President and the Senior Board’s Treasurer. She’s about to graduate from high school and three classes away from earning her Associate of Arts degree.

Martin won’t hide from her past. Secrets have been replaced by resolve.

“Having a child when you’re 12, of course, sends up a million red flags,” she said. “Going into my ninth-grade year, I was in foster care – in foster care trying to raise a child. It was hard because I was a child trying to raise a child, so it wasn’t easy to stay on my academics.”

Aspyn has disdain for many in the foster care system. She said older children often are considered housekeepers and babysitters, not family members. Betrayed by someone in her original family, she struggled to find a family who accepted her as their own.

“It was terrible,” she said. “When I was removed (by the state) from my home, my daughter was old enough to know I was her mom. I knew I couldn’t return, so I bounced from home to home.”

And yet, she not only survived, she flourished.

“I honestly wouldn’t change it for the world,” Aspyn said. “Even though I went through these difficult times, I would just push through. I mean, honestly, your struggles don’t define who you are. Your challenges don’t define who you are.”

Martin wants to earn a degree in business marketing. She already works as a student manager intern for VyStar at the school.

“I already have it in with VyStar, so I guess it’s my biggest motive for continuing through and not just giving up,” she said. I want to be the person to share my story and say it’s OK. First, you have to learn it’s not your fault. Second, you can come out above it and push through and just do what’s best for you.”

On Oct. 2, 2019, a jury found him guilty, but the case was closed a month later. The case is now listed as “inactive.”

“I ended up going to trial against him,” Aspyn said. “I just wanted to make sure I was all done with him. Back then, I thought it was my fault, not my family’s fault, but my fault.”

She found solace in her schoolwork and social activities at the school.

“You name just about any club, and I’m in it,” she said. “Academics became my main focus because I learned to put my heart into anything I do.”

Her daughter is now in pre-kindergarten. Both mom and child now embrace a happy future.

“Sadly, there is a lot of bad people in society,” Aspyn said, “but there’s a ton of good people out there if you search for it. Being happy is a decision, and I’ve decided to be happy.”

And empowered.