Wednesday, April 23, 2014 - 7:49:19 AM

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New Group Helps Adult Survivors of Sexual Abuse

(Source: Jason Weinstein)

Amy Petrick suffered sexual abuse from the ages of five to seven. It took years for her to remember and years to even begin to heal.

"I spent about four years in a dark room crying. I was completely non-functional. Prior to that I was a workaholic and worked constantly, and neglected a lot of my family and other responsibilities," said Amy Petrick.

For Kim Walter, she was abused beginning at age four, at the hands of strangers and family.

"I acted out throughout my adolescence, my teenage years, just self-destructive behavior," said Walter.

"45, 46 years later and I still have problems. So we need this," said Healing House board member Jodi Herold.

Living proof of the need for adults to work through issues of sexual abuse, Petrick began the Healing House in March. Her goal is to
offer free support to victims.

"Mental anguish covers every aspect of our lives. So we will have cooking and nutrition classes. We will have meditation classes. We'll have yoga classes. We'll have self-esteem classes. And we'll have sexual abuse support groups as well," said Petrick.

Petrick says response to the Healing House has been overwhelming. Business owners have volunteered services and even office space. But the most intense response came when the group had a display at Spiedie Fest.

"I had multiple people per day walking up to the table and breaking down in tears saying, 'Thank you so much for being here. This is such a needed service and we've been looking for you for so long,'" said Petrick.

Petrick, who says one in four girls and one in six boys will suffer sexual abuse by the age of 18, has an ultimate goal of having a house dedicated to serve these victims. The first women's support group will be Saturday morning at St. Patrick's Church in Binghamton.

"I can't change the fact that it happened but I can change my reaction to it and the outcome. It doesn't have to be an unhappy ending and that's what I want people to know," said Walter. 

For those who would like to find out more about Healing House, or make a donation you can go to www.myhealinghouse.org.

****In Binghamton, Jason Weinstein, Fox 40 HD News****

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