Paying it Forward

Elizabeth was sexually assaulted in the spring of 2012. "It was pretty violent, pretty scary. I had a lot of problems after – post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, I was even afraid to leave my house." After the assault, attending one-on-one and group counselling sessions helped Elizabeth recover. She did two rounds of group therapy at the Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton, and then took part in one-on-one sessions with one of the facilitators. This process lasted for almost two years.

When she felt strong enough, she decided to share her story with others. “I wanted to be able to use my voice to help other people find the help that they need.”

“I thought that people needed a face and a name that they can relate to. Once I went public with my story then I’m someone that people know – I’m the friend, I’m the friend of a friend – it humanizes it because it’s easy to feel so far removed from the faces in the public.”

There were a lot of people along the way who pointed me to the Edmonton Sexual Assault Centre, but it took a little while for me to actually be ready for it.
— Elizabeth

You can help people like Elizabeth.

United Way funds the Sexual Assault Centre’s client services so Elizabeth was able to access therapy for free. “I was in an okay financial place before this ordeal but I had to quit one of my jobs and I went through all of my benefits very quickly because I needed therapy three times a week, and it adds up so fast,” says Elizabeth.

Elizabeth speaks about her recovery saying, “Edmonton is such a good place and I feel that the community came together to help me out in a big way, and I really want to pay it forward.” She commends the wonderful police and detectives, the intake nurse at the hospital, the people at her work, friends and family for their support. And she thanks United Way saying, “This organization really impacted my lift.”

As a Community Impact Speaker for United Way, Elizabeth travels to organizations and groups that are doing fundraising and shares her story to show firsthand some of the work that United Way supports.

What does your donation look like?
It looks like me.