This year I will be a “STUD” for Hearts of Hope’s annual event, Studs in Stilettos! An event designed to raise funds and awareness for victims of sexual abuse. In 2005 a very close friend of mine was sexually assaulted. I watched a person that I’d grown up with go from being extremely warm and sociable to reclusive and introverted. She was able to recover with therapy and time and has regained her self-confidence. In 2008 I began working at New Directions, which was a group home for adolescent males that were perpetrators of sexual assault. Unfortunately, most of these kids had been abused themselves. I’ve gotten a firsthand view of the tormenting effects of sexual abuse for the victims and their families. I know it’s hard to do, but can you imagine what it would be like if a family member was sexually assaulted? Think of how their world would change if suddenly they no longer felt safe, anywhere. Sadly, many families in our community are facing this emotionally devastating reality, and many have no access to the help they need to cope and heal. I have committed to fundraising $3000 for Hearts of Hope, an organization working tirelessly to provide education, advocacy and empowerment services and programs to those affected by the trauma of sexual violence. Please stand with me!