03 Jan 2012

One Page is Not the Whole Book: S.T.O.P. in Action in Alabama

In a previous blog post, we gave a brief introduction to the S.T.O.P. in Action booklet. The book highlights the effective implementation of the S.T.O.P. Program in each state and territory. We will post one of these success stories weekly. Check back each week to see if your state is featured or follow us on Twitter for these and other updates!

The first story comes from Alabama, where S.T.O.P. funded counseling helped a survivor heal from rape trauma:

After several years of living in another state, Alice* moved back to her home town in Shelby County, Alabama.  Soon after, she contacted SafeHouse of Shelby County, Inc., because she was experiencing flashbacks, sleep disturbances, and was having difficulty trusting people in her relationships.  She began seeing a counselor that is contracted by SafeHouse with STOP Grant funds.  In her counseling sessions, she revealed that five years earlier, when she was seventeen, an older man at her workplace sexually assaulted her.  At the time, she was too ashamed to tell anyone what happened, and he repeated his offense more than once.  Rumors were spread that she was “messing around” with the perpetrator, and her parents heard the rumors.  She felt shame about what had happened to her and could not bear to tell them that she had been raped.  Her parents moved her to a relative’s home out of state to keep the perpetrator away from her.  She remained out-of-state for several years where she attended college and married.

Five years later, she found herself back home with her parents, divorced, and still carrying memories of the rape.  Every time she drove past her old workplace, it was as if the assaults were occurring again.  She learned of free counseling services at SafeHouse and used all the courage she had to break her silence while attending individual counseling.  She confronted the reality of her experience – that what happened to her was not her fault – and she gained courage and the skills to tell her family what had occurred five years earlier.  Her family became an important support system as she continued to process and heal from the trauma and impact of the sexual assaults.  Alice is employed and working successfully, is active in community organizations, and continues to use new coping tools of journaling, self care, and confrontation of irrational beliefs (i.e., holding herself responsible for the rapes). 

STOP Grant funding made counseling services available at SafeHouse.  Alice received four months of intensive weekly counseling and worked hard to heal from the trauma of sexual assault.  She says now, “This is just one page in my book now, not the whole book.”   

View the S.T.O.P. in Action film to take a deeper look at the promising S.T.O.P. funded work. For more information on ALSO’s STOP Technical Assistance to Administrators Resource (STAAR) Project, click here.


*Not her real name.