Rebecca’s nightmare started when she was just 14 years old. While playing outside and looking for her friend, she found herself on the front steps of a neighbor’s home. He was in his 50s and known throughout the neighborhood as the one to go to if kids wanted to sneak beer behind their parents’ backs. He welcomed Rebecca in, saying her friend was inside. Once inside, he padlocked the door, and Rebecca knew something wasn’t right.
Though Rebecca told herself everything was fine, that nothing happened and that it wasn’t that bad, she immediately began down a dark path only trauma could pave. At home, Rebecca’s parents faced illnesses and her brother lived with autism, leaving her to grow up quickly and handle problems on her own. Once she accepted what had happened to her was wrong, she tried to handle it herself. She went to a payphone and called the police. They drove her past the neighbor’s home which she identified and immediately notified her parents, despite her protests. Her parents brought her to Family & Children’s Place, known then as Family Place and for the next ten years she received counseling and support services to help her recover.
After over 2 years in court, her abuser was sentenced to just 9 months of counseling.
Rebecca’s neighbors didn’t believe her and she didn’t feel like she had the right to share her story. Therapists at Family & Children’s Place helped her to recognize her worth and understand that she didn’t do anything wrong. At age 24, Rebecca stopped therapy and started the next phase of her life. But at 27, her mother fell ill which lead to her return to Family & Children’s Place. She started therapy again for a few years to help her cope with the changes in her life.
Rebecca’s trauma followed her and in her mid-30s, she found herself addicted to drugs and in a domestic violence situation. At one point, she said she had lost everything except for her son. She found the strength to leave the situation she was in and while in the shelter, reached out again to Family & Children’s Place. Worried for her son, who had witnessed domestic violence, she returned to a place she trusted and asked for help. Family & Children’s Place therapists saw her son but to her surprise, saw her as well and further aided in her recovery.
Today, Rebecca says she’s doing better than ever and works hard to be an advocate and support system for other women in dangerous situations. She says it took a long time for her to realize her trauma was significant but is grateful to Family & Children’s Place for always being there for her. Rebecca says she has never been able to afford treatment but received it because Family & Children’s Place cared about her.
To ensure families like Rebecca’s are always believe, always heart and always helped, consider making a donation today.