Healing Private Wounds In Cadillac is Changing Sexual Assault Victim’s Lives

A volunteer-based organization is changing sexual assault victim’s lives.

Healing Private Wounds offers programming to people who have experienced sexual abuse, and unfortunately, they stay very busy to meet the need.

They’re on Mitchell St. in Cadillac.  They serve people living in the surrounding counties.

"You just feel like this great big hug comes around you as soon as you come in the door and you start talking." explains Kimberly Gerber.

Kimberly Gerber is a survivor.  She’s been coming to Healing Private Wounds for almost a year.

Kimberly Gerber explains “I experienced all the abuses.  You know; physical, verbal, emotional, everything; and sexual abuse. I really had not touched on a lot. So when I came here it allowed me to focus on that one.”

Shirley Petersen says, “My very first goal is to take the shame off victims. I think that’s the number one thing victims do not come forward because they feel the shame.”

Executive director Shirley Petersen created Healing Private Wounds to provide counseling, education and support for kids, teens and adults in the area.  Amazingly, they rely solely on volunteers.

 Petersen states, “Half of them are survivors, half are concerned citizens. We have counselors, social workers and just many qualified people to help all the victims in our area.”

Being an outlet for people is the most important part of their programming.

Petersen explains, “We are as sick as our secrets and we want them to experience all the beauty in life that were supposed to experience.”

That’s exactly what Healing Private Wounds has done for Kimberly.

Gerber states, “This place has given me an opportunity to become very comfortable with knowing that I have been abused, and the fact that I can now talk about it with confidence, it doesn’t define who I am.”