Many people have a built-in desire to help others. Sometimes, ways to help are obvious. Supplying food, water and clothing are all ways one person can reach out to another person in a show of support and care. There are times, however, what a person really needs isn’t as obvious as a warm coat or sandwich. Sometimes what a person really needs is to be heard and understood.
Everyone has a story and sometimes those stories are horrific and unthinkable. Sometimes those stories are never shared. Sometimes they are, but they aren’t believed. And sometimes, the victim has the courage to share their story with the right person, someone who can help them overcome the lingering effects of what happened to them with the intent and desire of creating a positive, constructive future for themselves. Being equipped with the right tools to learn to manage their future instead of trying to “get over” their past can be a challenge, but with the right kind of help, can be a reality for so many.
At Bird of Pray Foundation we know that equipping people with the tools they need to succeed will have a long lasting and positive effect. This is why we have partnered with Dawn Dungan, a licensed counselor here in Billings, Montana. Through Dawn, we’ve had the opportunity to reach out to victims of sexual abuse and human trafficking. Dawn works with individuals everyday to bring healing and help them gain trust in themselves and others again, leading to productive, successful lives for themselves and their families.
With the rise in awareness of sexual abuse, many more people are opening up and coming to grips with life altering abuses in their past. Many times the victims are not obvious. They are told to never talk about it, or that it never happened or that it’s normal so these women and men try to forget or get over these atrocities. Trying to forget about something is not the same as learning how to deal with something. If someone’s parent is killed in a car accident, you don’t comfort the child by telling them to forget about their parent. Instead, they are given tools to be able to cope with their grief and loss and be able to move on with their lives. The same works for victims of sexual violence. A part of them has been taken away. Their ability to trust has been shaken or destroyed. Their version of reality has been skewed, tainted by the abuse they received. This plays out in their relationships with family, spouses, children, jobs, etc. This affects everyone differently.
We would like to help those who are interested in helping themselves. We realize we can’t force people to want help and that not everyone wants the tools they need to overcome their past. Bird of Pray Foundation has set up a scholarship-type program with Dawn Dungan for those individuals who recognize the importance of being helped on their journey to recovery and success. For more information about this program, please free to contact Chantelle Biscoe at (406) 861-8060 or Dawn Dungan at (406) 876-2164.
Helping the Helpers is very important to us. Helping individuals find the strength they need and to be equipped with the tools to help themselves, is part of our mission. Sexual abuse and assault happens more than most people realize. It seems like just about every other day in Billings we see yet another sexual abuse report. Victims have to come forward and tell their stories. If you or someone you know is a victim of sexual abuse, please talk to someone about it. Please seek the help you need to be able to find the peace and healing you need. It will only happen if you have the courage to do something about it.