a sur­vivor

Truro sex­ual as­sault sur­vivor shares her story to help oth­ers

Truro Daily News - - FRONT PAGE - BY LYNN CUR­WIN TRURO DAILY NEWS lynn.cur­[email protected]­daily.com

Lis MacKay hasn’t seen the per­son who as­saulted her in a few years, but she hopes he has done his own heal­ing and has im­proved his life.

Liz MacKay was 15 when she was sex­u­ally as­saulted.

Like many peo­ple, she didn’t re­port it and wasn’t aware of the ser­vices avail­able to help her. Her ex­pe­ri­ence led to a down­ward spi­ral that in­cluded sub­stance abuse and sui­ci­dal thoughts.

“It was a hard road but it played a part in di­rect­ing me to the work I’m do­ing now,” said MacKay, who is a peer sup­port co-or­di­na­tor at the Cen­tral Nova Women’s Re­source Cen­tre (CNWRC).

When she was as­saulted by a part­ner at a Truro res­i­dence in 1999 she didn’t know the Colch­ester Sex­ual As­sault Cen­tre (CSAC) ex­isted and she didn’t get the help needed to deal with her in­ter­nal strug­gles.

“I had a pat­tern of un­healthy re­la­tion­ships,” she said. “Sub­stance abuse helped me for­get but it didn’t fix any­thing. I felt sui­ci­dal but de­cided I couldn’t hurt my mom that way.

“I would feel a lit­tle bet­ter, but any lit­tle thing would send me back down again. I healed very slowly.”

Writ­ing helped her ex­press her­self and ac­cept her own value.

While work­ing in a store, she en­coun­tered Mar­garet Mauger (from the CSAC) and re­marked

on a pin she was wear­ing. This led to a dis­cus­sion that en­cour­aged her to change her life and do

some­thing that would make her happy.

She went back to school at the

age of 23, and while there she tu­tored other stu­dents.

“That made me feel bet­ter,” she said. “I thought if I was good enough to help some­one I might not be so bad.”

She hasn’t seen the per­son who as­saulted her in a few years, but says she hopes he has done his own heal­ing and made changes to im­prove his life.

One of the things MacKay wants to do is make agen­cies in the com­mu­nity more vis­i­ble.

“That’s one of the things the Take Back the Night walk does that is so im­por­tant,” she said. “Peo­ple need to re­al­ize there’s help.”

She will be one of the guest speak­ers at this year’s Take Back the Night, which will also include a march, re­fresh­ments and a vigil.

Take Back the Night will take place Oct 12, start­ing from the River­front Park gazebo at 6 p.m.

LYNN CURWIN/TRURO DAILY NEWS

Liz MacKay will share her story of sur­viv­ing sex­ual as­sault when the Take Back the Night walk is held in Truro on Oct. 12. She now works as a peer sup­port co-or­di­na­tor at the Cen­tral Nova Women’s Re­source Cen­tre.

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