With the accusations that have emerged about Harvey Weinstein, sexual assault and abuse has been front and center in the news cycle lately. While Hollywood stories can be salacious, and the media gets very excited about high-profile celebrities and scandal, our position at Shades of Hope is that the focus should be on survivors. If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted or abused, there are resources available to you. Tell someone you love and trust about your experience, and report it to a medical professional and police.
My name is Tennie McCarty, and I am the founder of Shades of Hope. I am also a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, and I have no shame. I haven’t always been able to say these words out loud. For many years, I held the secret deep inside me under layers and layers of excess weight and shame, shame so dark and heavy, I could hardly breathe or say my name. I was shut down completely for fear that if I told the truth, no one would believe me. The pain of living got so hard I had to find help, and I did.
By the grace of God, and help from caring, loving therapists, I began to find my voice and to speak my truth. I didn’t get sick overnight and I didn’t get well overnight, but little by little, the layers of shame came off my body, as did the pounds. Today, I am free and I have been for 35 years.
Remember, you are not in this alone. You are strong as a survivor, and the Shades of Hope team is here for you. Lean on family, friends, mentors – anyone you trust that can be supportive during a difficult time. Our mental health professionals are trained to address sexual assault and abuse. There is no shame is seeking help or going to therapy.
If you want help coping with your experience with sexual assault or abuse, call Shades of Hope at 1 (800) 588-HOPE.
Here are a few other resources available to survivors: