The Teal House Sexual Assault and Child Advocacy Center, a haven and counseling center for victims of sexual assault, soon will move to a larger location.
The nonprofit organization, created in 2007 by a group of women including ElDonna Hilde, serves Bulloch, Jenkins and Screven counties, working with law enforcement, community leaders and the district attorney’s office to provide counseling and physical care for victims of sexual assault.
Hilde is the sexual assault nurse examiner coordinator for the Teal House and Statesboro Regional Sexual Assault Center.
The Teal House will move from its current location on North College Street near Proctor Street to another spot just down the street on South College — a larger home adjacent to the old Statesboro Police Department building near West Grady Street.
The move is expected to be complete in the next two weeks, Hilde said.
While some may not want to believe sexual assault occurs in our community, it does, she said. One of the most recent incidents involved a woman who was allegedly abducted from Jacksonville, Florida, and brought to Statesboro by two men, who have since been arrested.
“We have had 16 cases (of sexual assault) in June and July,” said Becky Holland, another sexual assault nurse examiner who works with the Teal House.
Hilde, along with several other women in law enforcement, nursing and other groups, formed the assault center because there was a need not being filled, she said.
Over the years she has heard many stories from sexual assault victims, who have shared how they were affected by the horrific experiences they endured.
“No one deserves to be raped, and the consequences that occur after such a tragic and traumatic experience often carry lifelong issues,” Hilde said.
After hearing so many stories, she felt the need to do something.
“We had no resources available in our rural community to these people — male or female,” she said. “These patients need to have resources available to assist them with releasing the demons of the trauma to prevent them from being trapped with their demons the rest of their lives.”
Forensic nursing is providing “care and compassion to a person who has just been acutely traumatized and (their) privacy invaded,” she said. It is “challenging because everyone responds differently when exposed to this type of trauma.”
The Teal House offers prevention and education to victims and other members of the community as well. The toll-free crisis line is (800) 489-2225.
Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.