NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) —Life after a sexual assault can be a difficult battle for many survivors, but there’s a new nonprofit that’s working to help by providing free access to mental health services.
“I still remember the day that I first disclosed to my husband,” said survivor Bethany Lawson.
Lawson has survived a lot.
“To be here now…to be able to help other people is just–it’s amazing,” she said.
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Ten years ago she went on a date with a man who locked her in his house and sexually assaulted her.
“I one point I thought, ‘Okay, I’m never going to get out of this house alive; like this person is not going to let me go,'” Lawson said.
She was able to escape and months later took the steps to go to therapy.
“It was amazing to sit with somebody and to talk as little or as much about my experience as I needed to in the moment,” said Lawson.
Therapy and music also helped her confront past trauma she had worked to lock away.
“I was sexually abused as a kid,” said Lawson. “I didn’t talk about it until I was 25 years old.”
Now Lawson is working to help others get the help they need.
She works as an advisor for a brand new nonprofit called Help; Hear; Heal. They’ve partnered with a mental health company called Thriveworks to provide six free therapy sessions for survivors.
“We are all very unique, and it takes a lot of compassion and understanding and a professional to help you sort through that trauma,” said Lawson.
The nonprofit is nationwide and can help survivors find a mental health care provider in person or online.
Lawson says she is in a much better place now and knows other survivors can get to there, too.
“Having a professional who understands those feelings can help you sort through and realize, “There’s nothing wrong with me; I’m not the one to blame,'” she said.
The nonprofit officially launched last week.
If you are a survivor interested in obtaining free mental health services, you can sign up here.