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'One step at a time': Sexual assault survivors tell their stories of trauma and healing

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month
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Posted at 9:20 AM, Apr 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-26 09:20:04-04

JOHNSON CO. — April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and WRTV is hearing from survivors. They tell us how they got out of their situations with the help of a local non-profit in Johnson County.

You won’t see her face, but you will hear her story.

A sexual abuse and domestic violence survivor told WRTV her story of getting out and the organization she credits for helping her get through it.

“I was 9 years old when I was molested by a family member,” said Amy as she sat down to tell her story of trauma from sexual abuse as a child to domestic abuse in her marriage.

“I felt alone as that little girl that I was ... then even being a teenager ... (and) an adult, you know, you feel alone,” said Amy.

The day she filed protective orders for herself and her kids against her husband, an advocate with "ASSIST Indiana" reached out to her, and she hasn’t felt alone since.

“I was extremely scared at the time. I didn't know what was going to happen next or what to do next, and they were there every step of the way helping me (make) sure I felt supported making sure that the kids had what they needed,” said Amy.

ASSIST Indiana is a non-profit located in Franklin. They help anyone who has directly or indirectly experienced sexual, domestic and physical violence in 10 different counties.

Their motto: "We believe, we support, and we heal."

“Immediately I felt supported. I felt like they understood many times, you know, when you talk to people or you talk to counselors there's somewhat of a disconnect like you just feel like they don't get it and everyone at ASSIST I felt like they more than got it, they helped me understand,” said Amy.

Now with the support of ASSIST, she and her family are on the path to healing.

“I can look back at myself, remembering walking through the doors the very first day, to the person that I am now and there is a difference in who I am. And I am stronger than what I was then,” said Amy.

Her advice to anyone who’s experienced sexual, physical, or domestic violence is this:

“Seek the help and support, don't remain quiet. That's what our society has taught us, you know. People have learned to victim shame, to not support someone, and just don't remain quiet. It's important to find the support and heal to prevent. You have to heal yourself in order to not have it affect so many other facets of your life,” said Amy.

Telling her story was a big step in the healing process for Amy. She said healing the wounds of her past will take a long time, but she is getting stronger every single day.

ASSIST covers 10 counties, and all their services are free and optional. Here’s a look at those counties:

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ASSIST Indiana covers 10 counties including: Johnson, Morgan, Shelby, Rush, Monroe, Brown, Bartholomew, Decatur, Jackson and Jennings.

WRTV spoke to one of the trauma counselors at ASSIST about what the healing process looks like.

She said she wants anyone thinking about reaching out to take the leap and know they will meet you where you are.

“You have full power and control over what you want to talk about, and (what) you don't want to talk about, we will respect where you are. We meet people where they're at, we realize what they're ready for and what they're not ready for, and so just knowing that when you come in it's up to them what they're ready to talk about and what they're ready to process and go through,” said Melissa Sichting, a trauma counselor at ASSIST.

If you need help or someone to talk to reach out to ASSIST right now. You can reach them online at assistindiana.org or 317-739-4456. If you are in an emergency call 911.

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