As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse (CSA), Jenny Stith knows the long and complicated path to healing. As she sought services to help her heal (in 2008), she encountered numerous barriers, leading her to discover a huge gap in services for adult survivors, despite some 60 million people nationwide who shared the experience of abuse. Coming from a healthcare background, Jenny realized that CSA is one of the biggest public health problems affecting children and adults that the healthcare system did not seem to be appropriately addressing. That lit a fire in her. One that led her not just to uncover better resources to heal her own life, but to recognize the opportunity for innovating and advocating for more comprehensive services to benefit all CSA survivors.
Stepping away from her career in healthcare development to study the broad issue of CSA (in 2009), Jenny was unexpectedly offered an internship in the Middle East, which gave her a chance to study the societal issues that can create violence, abuse and trauma, as well as opportunities for addressing those issues, on a global scale. She returned to the States to do her graduate work in women's and gender studies and psychology, also accepting an assistantship in racial and social justice. In time, and through great mentors, counselors and teachers from many walks of life, Jenny waded through the trauma in her life, while studying it from many angles. And she found a way to channel her growth and healing to others in need. She found the WINGS Foundation, here in Colorado - one of the few organizations in the country solely dedicated to supporting adult survivors of CSA and their loved ones.
Jenny moved to Denver in 2013, and is currently the Executive Director at WINGS. She is dedicated to expanding WINGS’ services throughout Colorado, helping adult survivors of CSA heal, while empowering individuals, families and communities to talk about the issue. She relishes the opportunity to put every bit of herself into being an agent for change on this issue, and to breaking down the walls that prevent a shared community effort to benefit victims and survivors, which she says, benefits us all.
“I believe if challenges exist, we are here to overcome them,” Jenny says. “If we have the opportunity and the knowledge to make other people’s lives better, healthier, stronger--we should actualize that potential.” If you see Jenny Stith in action, you know that she means the words above. She is an active advocate in the community and on social media, and a leader in every task she takes on. Thanks to Jenny, CSA will no longer hide in the shadows and silences, and survivors will no longer believe they are alone. Jenny Stith is a champion, and proof that there are real heroes around us every day. She believes that through supporting survivors of CSA in restoring their overall health and well-being, we all thrive. With her help, communities in Colorado, and beyond, are safer, healthier, and stronger.