Sara Everhart, a York County resident, called Turning Point in MAY 2013 to schedule her first appointment. She experienced the negative feelings felt by a victim of sexual abuse including fear, shame, and guilt. In the beginning, Sara could not make eye contact with her therapist. But today, Sara is strong, confident, happy, and proud. She is no longer a victim, Sara is a survivor. At the age of 53 Sara Everhart found Turning Point and her voice. It is with her permission that we share her story…..
Sara was sexually abused at the very young age of three by an elderly man who lived in the same apartment building. He was not a blood relative but all the kids called him “grandpa.” As is normally the case with children, Sara knew and trusted her abuser.
At the age of nine on her way home from a trip to the store, a man called to her as she was hopping on her bike. When she stopped to see what he wanted, he grabbed her, dragged her out of sight, and raped her. Sara had been abandoned by her mother and was being raised by her single dad. She told her dad about the rape but he didn’t believe her.
Four years later, at the age of thirteen, the unimaginable began; sexual abuse at the hands of the one person she trusted and admired the most; her father. He said that if she told anyone she would be sent away to a foster home. Sara was frozen with fear and chose to cope by turning inward and trusting no one.
Sara ran away from home when she could no longer endure the abuse. Over several years she lived in six foster homes, before being returned to her father’s home at the age of seventeen. In order to escape again, at the age of 17½ Sara got married.
Sara tried through several marriages to live a normal life. But no matter how good her life looked on the outside, on the inside her past continued to haunt her. After carrying the burden of her horrific childhood for nearly fifty years, Sara found her voice.
There are too many women like Sara Everhart who are stuck in their past and don’t know which way to turn. Although one of every four girls will experience sexual assault before they reach the age of eighteen, the average age of disclosure is not until forty two. Child sex abuse is a life-long sentence.
November 1st marked the second anniversary for Turning Point Women’s Counseling and Advocacy Center. We are thrilled with the success we have achieved in two short years. It takes enormous courage for women who were victims of childhood sexual abuse to walk through our door. But every week more women come to tell their stories, shed their shame, and find their voices. At Turning Point we have proven it is never too late to heal, but we need your help. Please consider making a contribution today to assist women who have endured childhood sex abuse in reclaiming their lives!
Founder / Child Sexual Abuse Survivor