>Charlotte Barnes discusses how one charity has allowed Donna Gilliard the opportunity to help others in a way that she once helped herself…
Statistical research has revealed that a shocking 1 in 4 women in the United Kingdom have either been the victim of a rape attack or an attempted rape. Whilst there has been a progressive increase in reported cases of rape, there has also unfortunately been a significant decrease in convictions. While many people will read this article and feel sympathy towards the women who have fallen victims to such a heinous crime, some people will read this article knowing that they are a part of this statistic. Rape is a crime with such dramatic after effects that many of us can’t possibly comprehend them; and with that in mind, it seems appropriate that we turn our attention to the recently established Helen Bamber Foundation, an organisation that not only acknowledges the after effects of this crime, and similar offenses, but has vowed to help the victims recover from their experiences.
The Helen Bamber Foundation is a relatively new charity that was established in 2005. Their main aim is to help not only those who have experienced rape, but other violations of human rights as well, such as torture and sex trafficking, amongst other crimes of a similar nature. The UK based foundation offers an outstanding amount of support to those in need. Not only does the charity organise counselling and various different types of therapy suited to the individual and their experiences, but the charity will also help with legal fees and provide any advice that individuals may need throughout their experience and their recovery.
When researching the charity I was fortunate enough to speak to a young woman, Donna Gilliard, who became the victim of a sexual assault several years ago. It was after listening to her experiences, her difficulties and her outstanding recovery, that it became apparent exactly how important this charity really is and the significance of the wonderful work they are striving to achieve. After suffering from the attack and the emotional trauma it inflicted on her, Donna decided it was necessary to volunteer herself for a course of intensive counselling. Donna explained to me that this decision allowed her to not only begin to recover from the experience, but it ultimately gave her a new perspective on life. Since her recovery, this brave woman has become involved with the Helen Bamber Foundation in an attempt to help others in a way that she once helped herself.
However, we should not fall into the gross misconception that it is only the women of the world that have endured these kinds of experiences. In fact, these crimes can be inflicted on anyone; they are not gender-specific violations and, as the Helen Bamber Foundation highlights, men are victims too. The charity is not female specific but rather will open arms and offer help to anyone who requires it.
Donna, over the course of many fundraising events for the Helen Bamber Foundation, has raised £1000 for the organisation, and hopes to hit her goal of £2000 in the near future. She is embarking on a sponsored trek through the Himalayas later this year – a gruelling journey that will involve several hours trekking every day, but will undoubtedly be worth it for the sake of what it will offer the charity. For those of you who are interested in helping Donna, and ultimately helping the Helen Bamber Foundation, you can donate to the fund and monitor Donna’s progress by accessing her Just Giving profile: www.justgiving.com/donna-gilliard
Not only does the charity help those in need financially, emotionally and in any other ways they can, but they do all of this work with no more funding than the donations people are willing and able to provide. The charity’s website, www.helenbamber.org, is rich with all the information you could possibly need to know. Not only does it explain how the founders, Helen Bamber OBE and Dr Michael Korzinski PhD, established this charity, but it also reveals the work they have done, the work they hope to do in the future, and an array of case studies that offer reassurance that there really can be light at the end of the tunnel – a light which the Helen Bamber Foundation is repeatedly helping and encouraging people to see.