Kristen WoolleyMany have told me I must tell my story, the story of how Turning Point was created. I have shied away from this request, I have thought, “How do I tell the story of Turning Point in a few paragraphs? How do I tell how this center was created in a brief synopsis when there are so many things I feel and want to share? How do I put words to it all?” I will try.

My vision of creating this nonprofit, healing center took residence in my head several years before I ever took steps towards making it a reality. I am a survivor of child sexual abuse; I understand the pain that comes into one’s soul the moment the touch of violation is felt. I understand the feelings of shame, guilt, the pervasive message that I must have done something wrong for this to be happening to me. I understand the message and belief that it must be my fault. I understand the feelings of being stripped of your power, having no control, and feeling so very dirty.

I also now understand the feelings of being free of those horrible messages, being free of the shame and guilt, and I now understand that my abuse was truly not my fault. I have dealt personally with my abuse periodically and at various developmental stages and times in my life. I have had people in my life fail to protect me, fail to report my abuse when I was a child; I had many people not do the right thing. I understand what it feels like to not feel and be protected, to not feel safe to speak up and tell an adult the pain and horror of being violated, I understand the embarrassment and humiliation that comes along with the moment the violating touch is felt. I understand what it feels like to not be believed and to not be heard. I understand.

I also understand what it feels like to have people step up and help me as an adult. I have been blessed by good people helping me get to this level in my life, really good people standing behind me, offering their help, whether it simply be listening to my story or helping me personally or professionally with the creation of Turning Point. People helping to guide me toward making this center a reality. I could not have taken this dream, this vision that lived in my head for so long, and actually have it become a reality without many people working behind the scenes to make this a center and my dream come true. I had the gift in my healing journey of one person telling me, “I believe in you.” It took just one person to offer me this gift, this gift of being seen, this gift of believing my potential. This gift of belief slowly cancelled out the negative messages I believed about myself as a result of enduring sexual abuse. Slowly, with the words of, “I believe in you” my healing journey began, and slowly person after person came into my life at the right time as the steps to creating this center began.

This center is my way of giving back. This center is my way of taking an exceedingly horrible wrong that I endured and trying to make it into a positive. Inside the walls of Turning Point I hope you will feel safe. I understand the pain and sorrow of feeling intense fear, feeling unsafe, feeling no control. Inside Turning Point, you will be surrounded by highly trained and skilled professionals who care, who want to hear your story, who will believe you and will believe in you, professionals who want to hear your truth, who want to walk with you on your journey of healing.

Inside the walls of Turning Point you will be able to take your control back. You will decide exactly what your journey towards reframing your mindset from victim to survivor looks and feels like. The professionals in this center will walk beside you and help to give you the tools and safety to make this happen. You will not have to do this work alone. You will no longer have to suffer and endure your pain alone. I will not pretend and tell you the work and steps toward inner healing will be easy, I will not pretend and tell you that going back and feeling the pain and trying to heal your inner child is easy, I will not pretend and tell you that feeling the anger is easy. I will tell you it is possible. I will tell you that you have my promise you are not alone. I will tell you that I promise Turning Point and all that is stands for will help you. I will promise to offer you the same gift that was offered to me. I believe in you, I believe in your pain, I believe what you feel is real, I believe you matter, and I believe you can be healed.

We opened our doors in November of 2012 and began helping adult female survivors. After approximately one year we were able to begin to help adolescent female survivors. In October of 2016, with the financial assistance from Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, we were able to begin helping adult and adolescent male survivors.

I would be happy to answer any of your questions as you try to decide if Turning Point is the right fit for you as you decide to embark on your inner healing journey. Your story matters, you matter and I would be honored if you allow my colleagues and me to help you in any way we can.

—Kristen Pfautz Woolley