Healing for rape victims
BATON ROUGE - After the repeated rape of a 12-year-old girl by several adults, child advocates have come forward to offer guidance for all sexual abuse victims on their road to recovery.
Racheal Hebert, the Executive Director of the Sexual Trauma Awareness and Response (S.T.A.R.), has seen many victims of sexual abuse come through her agency. She urged that a major step in recovery from sexual violence is placing the blame in the proper place.
"So this victim, like all rape victims, deals with issues with feeling like they were to blame," said Hebert. "So usually where we start with everyone is reinforcing it wasn't their fault, and there wasn't anything they could have done to prevent it from happening."
Social worker Toni Bankston recommended group therapy for victims who are looking for a place of understanding.
"Particularly in a group setting, one of the key pieces of group is the installation of hope," said Bankston. "There's so much power being in a room with other people who have gone through what you're going through or have been through."
Both Bankston and Hebert have witnessed the struggles of dealing with sexual abuse, but they offered words of encouragement and hope for the future.
"That the future is bright. Your future is what you make it. And that things can change in an instant. And to not give up. That's probably the most important thing," said Hebert.