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Breaking The Cycle of Fear

Every two minutes, someone is sexually assaulted in the United States.  Rosemary Trible wants to tell others that the cycle of fear can be broken and lost joy can be found.  Her life is a testament to the power of forgiveness and what was meant for evil is now used for good.  

In 2009, someone asked Rosemary two questions: “What if you didn’t have to be so afraid?” and “What if you could help someone else not to be so afraid?”  These questions inspired her to share her own journey from fear to freedom. 

Rosemary was raised in a strong Christian home and she accepted Jesus as a child at a Billy Graham Crusade.  In 1975, she had been married to Paul for four years, and he had begun his political career winning his first race to become Commonwealth’s Attorney for Essex County, VA. 

Rosemary got a job an hour away from their home, hosting and producing her own daily women’s show on WTVR in Richmond, VA called “Rosemary’s Guestbook.”  In December, she did a show about sexual assault, which was not talked about on TV in those days.  The station was flooded with calls and letters, as hundreds of women responded. 

The next week Rosemary stayed overnight in Richmond to tape extra shows to air over Christmas.   At 11 pm, she went down to the restaurant for coffee.  Returning upstairs, she unlocked her door and went to her writing desk.  With her back to the windows, she heard the curtains part. A man grabbed her from behind and she felt the cold steel of a gun muzzle on her temple and his gloved hand around her neck.  “OK, Miss Cute Talk Show host, what do you do with a gun at your head?” Although Rosemary struggled and fought, pleaded and prayed, he raped her viciously. As he finally left, he said, “I will kill you if you tell.  I know where you live.”  Still, Rosemary immediately called the front desk and they sent security and the police, but no trace was found of the rapist.  She called Paul, who was visiting his parents, and he immediately drove two hours to Richmond.  The police had no leads.  She was sure her assailant had raped many other women. 

The night of Rosemary’s rape had been a night of horror, but even more devastating was the fear the rapist had planted into her heart like a dagger.   For months Rosemary was overwhelmed with fear and shame and worthlessness as she cried out to Jesus.  Gradually as she turned to the Word for comfort, the intimacy with the Holy Spirit returned. 

Determining that the rapist would not win, Rosemary decided to fight for her joy to return and write down every day something she as grateful for.  As she gradually healed, Paul’s political career took off as he entered the race for Congress from Virginia’s First District in 1976.   She was pregnant, and then gave birth to their first child, Mary Katherine while she was still healing from the rape.  Having Mary Katherine gave her joy and her fear subsided, however, Rosemary felt violated again when the Trible home was robbed six months later.  She cried out to God, “I can’t live with this fear.  Come hold me close.  I need your presence more than anything.  Lord, I surrender everything in my life to you.” 

This was a turning point for Rosemary.  She knew she couldn’t overcome this without God giving her strength.  After a few moments, she heard in her heart, “Do not fear…I am here.”  She experienced God’s love and realized that He is not about religion, He is about relationship.  Eventually, she forgave her rapist, and has since turned her fear to freedom.

Rosemary is using her past pain to bring hope and healing to others.  In 2010, she founded the non-profit,  Fear 2 Freedom, which is dedicated to redeeming and restoring lives wounded by sexual abuse, bring them hope and healing.  “We are in the business of ‘redeeming joy’ to those who have been sexually assaulted or abused, encouraging them on their own journey from fear to freedom,” she says.  The “2” in the group’s name represents that every two minutes someone in sexually assaulted in our country. 

Statistics show one out of six women and one in thirty three men will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime.  Girls are four times more likely to be abused during their college years. Fear 2 Freedom’s “Where Is The Line?” program partners universities with hospitals to raise understanding regarding date rape, sexual assault, and sex trafficking. By assembling after-care kits for victims of abuse and domestic violence, university students are empowered to make a tangible difference in the lives of those abused.

In the first year alone, over a thousand students from three universities partnered with Fear 2 Freedom to provide 928 after-care kits for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. Each student not only had the opportunity to spread joy to someone wounded within their own community, but to also encourage those on campus who have experienced abuse to reach out for help. Over a thousand students gathered on their own campuses to take a stand against sexual assault in order to make their college campus safer. In the next three years Fear 2 Freedom’s goal is to blanket the state of Virginia developing partnerships between universities and hospitals with specialized forensic nurses who provide the exam and treatment for those sexually assaulted or abused.

Fear 2 Freedom Kits help victims find hope and assist them through trauma. The first 24 hours after an assault are critical for a victim to determine how she will respond, and whether she will pursue avenues for counseling or further investigation. The after-care kits are a simple act of kindness to victims since those that come to the hospital have all their clothes kept for evidence. Oftentimes they have to leave the hospital in paper scrubs without even taking a shower.

The kits include sweatpants, a t-shirt, underwear, a journal, pen, toiletries and a Freedom Bear and book that provides comforts and helps them articulate their trauma and begin their healing. The children’s kit called “Bear Gear” includes the same essentials as the adults but adds age appropriate items such as coloring/activity books, and toys since the exams usually takes two hours or more.  The bear was inspired by a young woman Rosemary knows who was violently raped at age seven.  She was holding her teddy bear, and when she was attacked, the bear was thrown against the fence where it was torn.  After the attack, the girl would write notes and stuff them inside the bear to help her work through the pain of the rape. 

Existing and Ongoing Partnerships:

Riverside Regional Medical Center & Christopher Newport University
-250 cases of assault
-550 CNU students participated to provide 250 “F2F” kits to Riverside

VCU Medical Center & Virginia Commonwealth University
- 823 cases of child abuse and 300 cases of adult abuse
-Over 300 VCU students participated to provide 500 “F2F” kitsprovided to VCU Medical Center

Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters & Chesapeake Community Volunteers
1100 cases of assault
-Providing 50 “F2F” kits as needed

Transitions & Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity
-60 participants participated to provide 50 “F2F” kits to Transitions

Mary Washington & Mary Washington Hospital

Radford University &Carilion New River Valley Hospital

Jefferson College & Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital

Washington & Lee University & Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital

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