Surely this Didn’t Happen to My Daughter

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Guest post by:

Mary Ann Tournoux, HAVEN Board member and
Senior Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer, HAP

It was 4am. The land line was ringing.

I remember jumping from bed – our daughter was studying abroad in South Africa, so my senses were heightened for phone calls and emails. Sure enough – it was her voice. “Mom, I think something happened.”  It was an early day for her, what was wrong that caused her to call us so early?

Through a series of questions and a veil of tears, I said the word out loud – you’ve been raped! I am thousands of miles away. I am trying very hard to ask enough questions to justify the fact that she is exaggerating. Surely this didn’t happen to her. Surely this person who was a “friend of the house” of students that she lived with did not take advantage of her trust. Surely someone was there to help her.

Subsequent phone calls brought me to understand that there were no rape crisis programs available to her, even though she was part of a University sponsored program. My daughter faced several months of self-deprecation, rejection by her fellow house mates and depression as she carried the burden of guilt. Once home, I was able to connect her with desperately needed support resources. Three years later, she is still in counseling, and still suffers from “triggers and anxiety”. I can’t help but wonder how much it would have helped if she had immediate crisis intervention available to her in South Africa. I can’t help but wonder how much it would have helped if the University would have taken her situation more seriously. I can’t help but be eternally grateful that HAVEN was here when she returned.

If you are a parent, if you love someone so much that you want to protect them from everything that is or could be bad, you want to be SURE that there will be resources available for you and for your child/loved one in the event that the situation is beyond something that you are able to “fix” alone. When you are holding the phone in your hand and you realize that you are no longer sure you are saying the right things, you want to be SURE that there is someone you can turn to who will guide you both to a solution. Please be sure these resources are always available. Please support HAVEN now….when you least expect it, you may need them yourself!

HAVEN provides shelter, counseling, advocacy and educational programming to nearly 30,000 people each year and greatly relies on the generosity of the community to do so. Please click here to volunteer your time or click here to make a tax-deductible donation


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