GAYLE CRABTREE

Daily Point of Light # 2128 Apr 1, 2002

Gayle Crabtree founded HopeforHealing.org . In 1995 she was raped while working for a national motel chain. In the town where this traumatic incident occurred, there was no rape crisis center for her to turn to. To help make it through this ordeal, she turned to her family and searched the Internet. She had to battle with the motel and worker’s compensation, and it was a long fight that caused her to have to relieve her ordeal over and over again. Finally, she was able to resolve a portion of the incident so she could close a chapter. However, the offender has not been captured or brought to trial. Now, Crabtree is deeply involved in innovative work with the survivors of rape and sexual assault using the medium of the Internet.

Crabtree has taken a personal tragedy, a violent workplace rape, and turned it into the basis for a Web site where rape survivors can get help and encouragement from someone who has been in their shoes. Her site, HopeforHealing.org, is one of the largest on the Internet and often the first stop for a person seeking help. She has offered words of encouragement, healing and hope, and has made a life and death difference by helping those who were suicidal over the pain of dealing with rape.

When she first put up the site in 1996 it was one of the first of its kind on the Internet – it continues to be one of the largest and most comprehensive. Through her site, Crabtree reaches over a quarter of a million people each year and emails literally thousands. She does this without pay, just to help others. There are a huge number of women and men dealing with the aftereffects of rape, a group often shunned by family, friends, and society. She has devoted countless hours to emailing with those who need help without concern for race, gender, socioeconomic status, or sexual orientation.

Crabtree’s efforts have had a tremendous impact, which is evidenced by the amounts of “hits” for the site. There is a plethora of information on the site for both survivors themselves as well as their loved ones. You can learn about Crabtree and her story, advocacy, awards, books poetry by other survivors, police departments, child abuse information, Christianity, crisis centers and date rape drugs to name a few. There are more than 40 topics on her Web site alone. One portion of the site is a guest book sign in used to give encouragement and hope to all in need.

Crabtree is continually working to improve the site. Since the site’s inception, it has grown to more than 200 pages and there is a forum on Delphi and Yahoo Club. Crabtree is constantly corresponding with survivors from all over the country, to encourage them and help them with the healing process. She also speaks to churches and survivor groups as well as advocating. Crabtree’s selfless devotion and her positive impact on a group that is often ignored or marginalized will hopefully result in a book to continue to aid some in their healing. She also hopes to turn the Web site into a nonprofit organization.

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