Sherry and Cathy, Finding Hope
Sherry and Cathy* are disabled twin sisters who cannot speak. It was one of their classmates who spoke up for them when he witnessed another student sexually abusing the defenseless girls on their school bus. He bravely told his teacher about what he had seen, and his teacher reported it. That is how Sherry, Cathy, and their mother arrived at one of Safe Horizon’s Child Advocacy Centers.
Each year, Safe Horizon’s four Child Advocacy Centers handle thousands of cases in which vulnerable children are victims of physical and sexual abuse. It is often a difficult job for our staff to perform, and one of the most difficult parts of our work is the first step of getting a child to talk about what happened. Yet Sherry and Cathy could not talk – so our work became even more challenging to give them the help and the healing they needed.
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We turned to their mother, who told us how she struggled to keep her daughters safe after the abuse. She had stopped sending them to school on the bus and instead used private transportation – at a cost of $20 per day – to get them there. Yet the cost strained her family’s already-stretched budget. She desperately needed support to continue to help her children.
Thankfully, Sherry, Cathy, and their mother had come to a place where we thrive on partnerships. In addition to working with law enforcement, legal, child welfare, and medical partners who help provide abused children with care and justice, we also work with community partners whose services would, in this case, create a stronger net for Sherry and Cathy during their time of crisis.
Sherry and Cathy’s mother did not know about services for children like her daughters. With our help, she learned about one of our community partners who could not only help her care for her children, but who had a bus service that could take Sherry and Cathy to and from school. With the strain on her budget, Sherry and Cathy’s mother told us she also needed help covering basic items such as food and clothing. We reached out to another partner to provide them with groceries, and thanks to the generosity of our supporters, we had a closet full of clothing where Sherry and Cathy could find what they needed.
Sherry and Cathy’s mother was extremely grateful for all the help we gave her, not only for her daughters’ immediate crisis, but to change their lives and give her family the brighter, safer future they deserved.
Thanks to kind-hearted people like you, Sherry and Cathy and their mother received important gifts - gifts of safety, protection, and the possibility of a better future.