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The Power of Community Advocacy

Written by Tammy Carpenter, CCASA Survivor Task Force

Success stories come in many forms. Some are financial, physical, spiritual, and mental. Some can even derive from the darkest seasons of an individual life. I’m a living testament to what it means to take back your power. In 2009, I was kidnapped on my evening walk by two men who sexually assaulted me. At a time where this tragic assault could have negatively affected my future, I decided to seek professional help and take back my life. Although, that did not come as easily as I expected.

Within an hour of my assault, I was taken to a near-by hospital for a S.A.R.T exam where I was greeted by my advocate. She explained the process to me through my state of confusion and crisis. It wasn’t until my advocate came that I could breathe for the first time.

After years of intensive therapy and outside resources, I decided to channel all my healing and become a Certified Sexual Assault Advocate for other assault victims. Knowing very well that it was like being on both ends of the spectrum, as a victim and survivor, it gave me the confidence to transition my pain into passion for sexual assault awareness.

In 2015, I became a Certified Sexual Assault Advocate for Riverside County. I rapidly began climbing the charts with hotline intake, hospital advocacy and court accompaniment.

I’m a leading example of what healing and empowerment looks like. My emotional intelligence and passion for advocacy could never have been where it is today had it not been for my advocate and the services I received. Even though our stories may be different, we are all capable of overcoming them. I hope each survivor can see a mirror image of their courage by coming forward. Remember you are strong, brave, and beautiful.

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