For three years, Ashley was sexually abused. But now she has her smile back.
When Ashley first visited us she was scared. Arriving early she waited to see her counsellor. As time went by, the more scared she became. Then a little girl came out of her appointment. While her mom spoke with the counsellor, she waited in reception and played with the toys. The little girl looked up at Ashley, and made eye contact. Ashley realized that this little girl was here for the same reason that she was.
At that moment she knew she was not alone. For the first time in a long time, Ashley smiled – at her new friend. Ashley had confidence that her counsellor believed her and understood her specific needs. They developed a relationship of mutual trust and respect.
Ashley’s counsellor helped her to understand why she was feeling so many different and sometimes confusing emotions about the abuse. The abuser didn’t give Ashley a choice, and so Ashley’s counsellor helped to restore power by respecting Ashley’s decisions and giving Ashley the time that she needed to recover at her own pace. For Ashley, that might mean coming back for counselling services at different stages in her life as she grows into womanhood. It is a great comfort for Ashley to know that the Elizabeth Fry Society will be there for her when she needs us.
Ashley’s abuser betrayed her trust and took away her sense of safety in the world. Through the Sexual Assault Counselling Centre at E.Fry, Ashley regained her trust and dignity. She learned that she didn’t do anything wrong. She learned that she isn’t alone. She now has strength and hope for the future.