A heartfelt plea to help sexual abuse survivors

Heartfelt House chairperson Larry Rawstorne and executive officer Vicki Hamilton at the official opening of the charitys headquarters in Alstonville last month.

One Australian child is sexually abused every 13 minutes a scary statistic that the regions newest charity, Heartfelt House, is determined to change.

Set up by Vicki Hamilton, the winner of this years Ballina Citizen of the Year award, Heartfelt House provides counselling and support to those people who are living with the heartbreaking consequences of being sexually abused as children.

The effect such an ordeal has on ones life is something Vicki knows all too well, and she is determined to not only help survivors but also get people talking about this taboo subject, which is sadly still so prevalent in todays society.

Having been raped by my natural father from the age of five, it was a turning point in my life when I gave up my job as a draftsperson last year to found Heartfelt House, said Vicki. Childhood sexual abuse is not openly discussed or acknowledged in the community but the reality is that it happens, and it needs to be addressed. Adults who were sexually abused carry severe emotional scars which, if left untreated, impact their entire life as well as leading to problems such as depression, sexual difficulty, low self esteem and haunting memories. It is heartening to see the level of support for Heartfelt House it is truly a landmark accomplishment for the local community and one that will undoubtedly bring about a healthier, happier environment for us all.

Following on from its successful opening in late February, Heartfelt House is holding a special hawaiian night at the Ballina RSL Club in early May to raise more funds for their vital work.

Called A Night in Paradise, it is being jointly presented by Paradise FM, who will broadcast their Saturday night Jukebox program live from the function.

This tropical fiesta will feature professional Polynesian dancers, plenty of cocktails and a hot hawaiian supper. Guests can also compete in a limbo competition, join the conga line or re-discover their love of the hula hoop.

Some great prizes are up for grabs on the night and anyone who attends will have the opportunity to win a holiday at OReillys Rainforest Retreat in the Lamington National Park, a weekend at the Tallaringa Cabins in Alstonville, a night on the Gold Coast, a weekend at The Byron at Byron resort, or a five-star dining experience courtesy of Romance and Dreams.

The cost is $25 per person. Tickets are available at Lismore, Alstonville or Ballina NRMA offices, or phone 6628 8940.

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