Meet Amanda: Finding Safety After Abuse

Imagine what Amanda was feeling. When she was 14, Amanda moved from a large, public school to a small, private one. It wasn’t an easy transition. “I was shy and it was hard to talk to people,” remembers Amanda. She felt special when her science teacher began complimenting her work. “He became my mentor. He was helpful and was always around. My parents thought he was looking out for me.”

What no one knew was that the teacher and Amanda were in a relationship — one that began with talks about science and moved slowly to talks about how much he cared about Amanda and their “special relationship” — and then led to physical and sexual abuse. From April of 9th grade through Amanda’s high school graduation, the teacher continued to abuse Amanda. She couldn’t end it.

“He told me not to tell anyone because he would kill himself. He said he loved me.”

When Amanda began college last fall, she thought she would finally be free. She wasn’t. The teacher approached her at college and would not leave her alone. At Thanksgiving, Amanda told her parents. They brought her to CHANA. She wasn’t to blame, we told her. As you might imagine, her parents were devastated. Together, our clinical and legal professionals worked to help Amanda and her family pick up the pieces. We also worked with law enforcement and the high school to bring the perpetrator to justice. He is now serving a seven-year sentence.

After some time off, Amanda returned to college. She’s pursuing a chemistry degree, hoping to go to medical school. She continues to see a CHANA counselor. “My healing began when I realized I was not responsible for what he did to me.”

Because of you, CHANA is able to recognize and respond appropriately to sexual abuse in our community. CHANA offers counseling, legal advocacy and support to help victims like Amanda rebuild their lives.

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