HOPE Center offers counseling, healing to survivors of sexual assault

HOPE Center offers counseling, healing to survivors of sexual assault

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - It took weeks for two teenagers, who were allegedly raped by the same man in north Toledo, to report their crimes.

But those at the HOPE Center understand the reason why.

"It's really very difficult for many people to come forward and report that they've been assaulted," said director Deborah Stoll.

Stoll says many sexual assault victims never come forward and those that do are often afraid to report their crimes.

She says some victims wait because of fear or shame. Many of those victims are deeply traumatized.

"Rape victims suffer all sorts of consequences," Stoll said. "Psychological. They can be physically ill. They can be afraid to have a sexual relationship, and conversely they can become hypersexual."

Advocates at the HOPE Center hope more victims will open up and connect with counselors to start the healing process.

"Part of the healing is for a victim to be able to believe that they can feel better," Stoll said. "They won't always be hurting, they won't always be traumatized."

Many of the volunteers with the center have a person connection. Some of survivors of sexual assault while other knew someone is was assaulted.

Their biggest goal is to help other survivors heal and move forward.

"We want rape victims to know that there can be a good, happy life out there after an assault," Stoll said.

Stoll says telling anyone whether it be a friend, doctor or pastor is always an important step.

The HOPE Center has a 24-hour confidential hotline to connect people with counselors and free resources. The number is (866)-557-7273.

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