VIP/Rape Crisis Center

Center provides strength, hope to victims

After a 10-year struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and anxiety, 23-year-old Lindsay snapped. Cruel treatment by a family member had taken its toll with sleepless nights, paranoia and panic attacks. Lindsay didn’t have her driver’s license, wasn’t in school and could barely get out of bed. She asked her mom for help and ended up at the Parkland VIP/Rape Crisis Center.

“When I first came to the center, I was a total mess; I didn’t want to be alive anymore,” said Lindsay. “Things were so, so hard.”

The VIP/Rape Crisis Center specializes in helping victims like Lindsay find strength and hope. The center provides emotional support, safety planning and referrals to more than 4,000 victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or any other violent crime each year. The need for the services is tremendous.

“If the center didn’t exist, there would be thousands of people who would go without any treatment, without counseling, without knowing their rights after they’ve been victimized, and knowing how they could get restitution, press charges or get assistance with medical bills,” said Robin Harp, crisis counselor at the VIP/Rape Crisis Center.

Lindsay began seeing Robin on a weekly basis to share her story and develop tools and techniques for coping with her PTSD and anxiety.

“Our goal in counseling is to help clients not be triggered by their past,” said Robin. “They are never going to forget what happened to them, but we want them to be able to live their lives without always wondering what is going to make them feel like the past is happening again.”

For Lindsay, the counseling has literally been a life saver.

“I had been at a point where I wanted to die, but it’s been a complete turnaround for me since coming to the center,” said Lindsay.

Today, Lindsay is in college studying to be a veterinarian technician. The girl who needed a protector is now a guardian of animals, rescuing everything from puppies to possums. Lindsay has an appreciation for how far she has come.

“If I had continued down the road I was going down, I would still be at a standstill in my life,” said Lindsay. “The support I’ve received here has helped me be able to move on with my life.”

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