Sexual abuse survivor steps out of the shadows ahead of Boston’s Walk for Change

Boston resident Hillary, a survivor of sexual abuse, is helping raise funds ahead of the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center's annual Walk for Change. Photo: Contributed photo
Boston resident Hillary, a survivor of sexual abuse, is helping raise funds ahead of the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center’s annual Walk for Change. Photo: Contributed photo

After enduring sexual abuse at the hands of the mental health clinician she turned to while recovering from an abusive relationship, a Boston woman is speaking out to empower and support survivors who are suffering in silence.

Hillary, who asked that her last name be omitted, is one of the hundreds of people pushing to raise money for the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center by helping organize this Sunday’s Walk for Change.

Hillary became involved with BARCC after moving to Boston after college.

“I think just participating in it last year was a really positive experience, but sort of got hooked on the feeling of being around people who care. It felt really good,” said Hillary.

The organization estimates that every two minutes, someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted. Once acclimated to a community that made her feel safe, Hillary noticed that it was liberating to open up about her experience, and help other survivors of sexual abuse find comfort.

At first it was hard for her to share the harrowing story, which began when she was just a sophomore at a college in New York. Her boyfriend at the time was both emotionally and sexually abusive.

“Abuse just erodes your self esteem. I was in such deep, deep denial,” said Hillary. “I reached out for help in an effort to repair things.”

She sought solace at the college’s mental health center, only to be caused further pain by her  mental health counselor.

“I was in a very vulnerable position, and he took a predatory leap and began to sexually abuse me after that,” she said. “It took me a very long time. I’m happy to say that my college was amazing, and treated me with dignity and care. [The college] and my family are the two biggest reasons I’m able to talk about this publicly, but not all people are met with help and support.”

Hillary said she felt safe after moving to Boston. Having experienced the loneliness of enduring sexual abuse, she now strives to deliver a message of solidarity to fellow survivors.

“When a lot of people think of sexual abuse, they think of strangers – that had been the idea in my mind too, which is why I was in denial. It just didn’t compute. But speaking as someone abused by a clinician in a mental health facility, I want survivors of all backgrounds and stories to know that they are not alone. No matter who you are, at the end of the day, you still deserve love and care.”

Hillary stressed the importance of BARCC’s free and confidential services for helping survivors and their loved ones.

“When survivors feel isolated, having that as an option is sometimes the only way they can seek help. By coming to the Walk for Change, people are supporting the idea that everyone deserves to be cared for and supported while still respecting their safety and dignity,” she said.

The Walk for Change kicks off at 8:30 a.m. Sunday at DCR’s Artesani Park in Brighton. Registration is $30 for adults, $10 for youth under 12, and $5 for pets. Rates increase by $5 per person on the day of the event.

Those interested in registering may do so at www. barcc.org

More details are also available on the website.

Follow Morgan Rousseau on Twitter: @MetroMorgan
Follow Metro Boston on Twitter: @MetroBOS



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Apple says its systems not to blame for…

By Edwin Chan and Christina FarrSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The week before a crucial launch of its new iPhone, Apple Inc said intimate photos of…

Local

Tallest residential building planned for lower Manhattan

A residential tower planned for lower Manhattan will soar 1,356 feet in the air -- just 12 feet shy of 1 World Trade Center. When…

Local

Bronx man commits suicide by decapitation

A Bronx man committed suicide Monday morning in the Hunts Point area of the Bronx by decapitating himself. According to the NYPD, the 51-year-old man…

Local

Top cops enroll in Twitter course at John…

NYPD officers are reportedly getting a lesson on the best way to use 140 characters or less. The New York Post reported Tuesday top officers…

Arts

Pop culture and prostitutes: New Toulouse-Lautrec exhibit at…

Henri Toulouse-Lautrec documented the cult of celebrity and the rise of pop entertainment in his prints, posters and lithographs — now on display at MoMA.

Arts

PHOTO: Extreme artist Eskil Ronningsbakken balances unicycle on…

Extreme artist’ Eskil Ronningsbakken balances on the edge of a cliff face at 4,600 feet – on a unicycle. The Norwegian travels across the globe, balancing over vertiginous ravines, tall…

Music

Hear two previously unreleased Adele songs

Missing some Adele in your life? Two previously unreleased songs from the singer have appeared online.

Music

Lincoln Center just made 'Lord of the Rings'…

Middle Earth already has sweeping vistas, a hero's journey and technology-revolutionizing special effects. But next April, the Lincoln Center will add another dimension to Peter Jackson's…

NFL

10 storylines to watch for the Giants this…

The Giants rebounded from an embarrassing 0-6 start last season, but not well enough to make the playoffs.

NFL

Michael Vick set to be weekly guest with…

Mike Francesa may need to backtrack from his harsh commentary of Michael Vick now that the Jets backup quarterback will be a weekly guest on his show.

NFL

Jets expect to make playoffs after sitting on…

The same pundits who predicted the Jets would be woeful a season ago are now eying the playoffs for this revamped team.

NFL

Antonio Allen returns to practice after concussion

Antonio Allen was cleared to practice again following his concussion two weeks ago.

Parenting

In defense of making a mess during playtime

"Recipes for Play" authors Rachel Sumner and Ruth Mitchener think playtime should involve the five senses and making a mess is part of the fun.

Wellbeing

Jason Hope helps push anti-aging efforts forward

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article When it comes to age-related illness, the direction of modern medicine seems more reactive than proactive. In…

Wellbeing

Today's Doomsday preppers: a closer look at survivalist…

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article. The term “Doomsday prepper” is often associated with the paranoid, anti-government stereotype of the 1990s. The truth…

Education

These college students think breakfast is the most…

  It should be no surprise that the city that never sleeps is also home to the most students who like to order food in…