Healing Sexual Abuse Leads to Hope


When Hunter came to Sunrise he had previously been unsuccessful in at least three programs. He has a history of sexually offending several of his younger brothers, a young neighbor and sexually acting out with his peers in his previous placements. These offending behaviors had followed a childhood of being sexually abused himself, severe domestic and emotional abuse from his family and a history of unstable home environment related to multiple divorces. He had many harmful beliefs about sex, love and relationships. He lacked empathy because he did not think that sexual abuse was wrong. He used sexual gestures as currency, love, and anger.

At Sunrise Hunter attended weekly therapy and group two times a week, however he would not participate. He would not look up. He would not talk. It took time, patience, acts of love and kindness from staff for him to respond.  When he began to open up he flourished. He understood the significant of sexual abuse to individuals and families and he felt true remorse and empathy for his victims. Hunter has developed a Relapse Prevention Plan to follow to help him maintain and to prevent sexual offending relapse.

Hunter’s discharge did not come without road blocks. His parents were unable to provide stable support and would often forget phone calls, forget visits or not be able to find transportation, etc. With work with the DCBS Social Worker, Hunter was able to make a connection and then a bond with his uncle in Texas through weekly phone calls and utilizing SKYPE. The barriers to moving to Texas while being a dependent in Kentucky are numerous, however staff persevered by securing multiple appointments, writing letters, attending monthly reviews for discussing the benefits of the out-of-state transition for Hunter. On his discharge date Hunter was transported to the airport with his uncle waiting for him at the airport in Texas. Since that discharge he has sent staff letters of gratitude and multiple pictures of his first day of school, his new bedroom and his new family.

Jake Pelfrey