Hope Thrives, a new Atlanta nonprofit, is hosting a wine-themed party as a fun way to address a serious issue: child sexual abuse.

Art & Cork, the organization’s second fundraiser since it was founded in 2017, will take place Nov. 6 at 7 p.m. at the Chastain Horse Park in Buckhead. Themed “Art Uncorked,” the event will include cocktails, dinner, a silent auction of local artists’ works and a live auction.

“Our goal is to raise $200,000 and as far as awareness, for so long survivors of child sexual abuse (were) under the radar,” said Annis Lyles, a Hope Thrives board member. “But it’s easier (today) to understand the facts. One out of every 10 children are abused before they turn 18.”

Hope Thrives’ mission is to minister hope and provide healing support services to survivors of child sexual abuse. It does so by offering a free quarterly retreat to survivors, followed by a 12-week aftercare program. Each retreat/program costs about $500, and Hope Thrives strives to fund four weekend retreats per year. To date, it has helped more than 400 adult women attend retreats and aftercare programs.

“Hope Thrives is filling a niche that is needed in Atlanta,” board chair Marlan Wilbanks said. “We provide counseling and healing services to survivors of child sexual abuse and utilize the support of survivors who have gone though the healing process to become mentors for others who are experiencing their journey toward healing and freedom.”

With the advent of the #MeToo Movement and other similar initiatives in which adults who were sexually abused as children have come forward publicly to share their stories, Hope Thrives is taking it a step further by educating the public on the issue.

According to the National Children’s Advocacy Center, multiple studies show 70% to 90% of survivors of sex trafficking were sexually abused as children. The sexual abuse they experienced as children increased their vulnerability to trafficking.

Research shows the median age of disclosure for childhood sexual abuse is 48. As adults, child sex abuse survivors are more likely to suffer from depression, report a suicide attempt, have substance use disorders, develop eating disorders or become involved in crime.

“When you just look at the facts, as we were just saying just how rampant abuse in America is, we want to help the survivors,” Lyles said. “There’s been a lot of wreckage left behind, with problems holding a job, eating disorders, you name it. We want to help them understand they’re not alone and there are others that can help who have been through it. Many of the mentors at our retreat are survivors themselves and can help others heal.”

Tickets to Art & Cork are $125. For more information, to purchase tickets or to become a sponsor or a patron, visit www.hopethrives.com.


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