The Compass Center will be holding an auction of purses to raise money for its cause. The organization will do this through stories of triumph. One of those stories is from Jolene Loetscher.
Being sexually abused is a reality many of us can't even imagine. But the fact is one in every five girls are sexually abused. Sexual abuse is more prevalent than many of us know, which is why Loetscher is sharing her story.
"When I was 15 years old, I was sexually abused and raped by a man who worked in our community. I worked for him. He was a teacher as well and a close family friend," Loetscher said.
The road from victim to survivor was not an easy one for Loetscher.
"Immediately after the abuse, my way of dealing with it was to push it back and deny it ever happened. Put it back in a corner that I never even looked at and went on with my life," Loetscher said.
As far as she tried to push it out of her mind, Loetscher said it still affected her life. And now looking back, she shouldn't have waited so long to get help.
"About three years ago, I really hit a low point, took a bottle of pills and said, 'I can't live. I don't know how to live,' and so at that point I just said, 'I can't deal with everything,' because it was just this flood of memories that had come back to me at that point and I didn't want to deal with it. It wasn't that I didn't love my family, didn't love my life in a lot of ways. I just couldn't deal with the pain," Loetscher said.
Loetscher was a lucky one; she woke up the next morning. And she says that was her wake up call to get help.
"I started going to counseling and getting therapy and working through it. It's a constant process; you don't just work through it for a couple of weeks and say, 'Oh, I am cured.' It will always be with you, but I think the point that you can say, 'I have more good days than bad days,' is such a milestone," Loetscher said.
Loetscher says thanks in part to friends and the Compass Center, she has made the switch to survivor.
"For me, putting purpose to it has been a huge part of my healing process and being able to help other victims along the way as well," Loetscher said.
Loetscher works a lot with the Compass Center now, which is constantly helping victims just like her.
This Thursday they will be raising awareness while also looking for help. The Compass Center is holding its fourth annual "It's in the Bag" fundraiser. You can still buy tickets for Thursday's event for only $20. The event will be held at the Icon Events Center in Downtown Sioux Falls. It will run from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. For more information, visit The Compass Center's website.