Avalon Healing Center offers hope, resources for sexual assault survivors

Trinea Gonczar is a survivor of former Michigan State University sports doctor and convicted serial sex offender Larry Nassar.

"I was one of those survivors that was in need of support no idea where to go... what was available to us," said Gonczar.

But then she found what’s now called the Avalon Healing Center. She deeply understands how critical the support services they provide for those who’ve been victimized by sexual violence.

"When someone has taken your power away, made you feel scared, it’s a hard topic to discuss," she said. "It’s extremely embarrassing, rape culture is a real thing.

"No survivor should have to heal alone."

Gonczar didn’t have to walk the road alone and now is the development director at Avalon where she’s helping other people.

"It’s not a matter of if you’re going to need to know about us, it's just a matter of when," she said. "Because in most people’s lives there’s been someone that has been assaulted sexually but they are not aware of it."

"Every health system and every police jurisdiction refers all sexual assault to us, that’s how people find us," said Kimberly Hurts. "We want to flip the script on that, people would automatically know where to go."

Hurst, the organization's CEO, founded what was then-called the Wayne County Sexual Assault Forensic Examiners Program, or Wayne County SAFE in 2004.  

"Fast forward 15,16 years, we’re way more than just a forensic medical examiner program," Hurst said. "We provide services to more than just someone who was assaulted in Wayne County."

Trinea Gonczar

The program expanded greatly and is open to anyone in Michigan.

"We’ve really grown to be anything and everything related to sexual violence," Hurst said. "Our youngest victim was two weeks old, our oldest patient was 101 years old."

The non-profit has helped more than 17,000 survivors of sexual violence. They are on a mission to help and make sure people know they’re here. 

They also provide counseling, court and other legal advocacy and community education and so much more. If you or someone you know needs help.

For more information go to https://avalonhealing.org/