By Jamison Hixenbaugh
ERIE, Pa. (Erie News Now) – As a child, Patti Starvaggi experienced what no person should ever have to endure.
“At the age of 10, I was assaulted by a stepfather at gunpoint.” said Starvaggi.
After carrying trauma with her for decades, Starvaggi decided to get help.
“When you have that, it’s like a sore that keeps opening up your soul and you really need to talk about it,” said Starvaggi. “You can’t just keep pushing it back. It will continue to haunt you whether you like it or not.”
For six years, Starvaggi went to the Crime Victim Center for assistance.
“Those are the stories that make this worthwhile,” said Crime Victim Center Executive Director Paul Lukach. “These are the stories that keep us going, that we know we are making a difference, that we’re having a positive impact on people’s lives.”
The organization offers counseling services to victims of violence at no cost.
“I did not have health insurance at that time,” said Starvaggi. “This was the only place that provided that counseling. Had it not been for the CVC, I would have been financially bankrupt.”
Starvaggi hopes her story will help shine a light on the need for the Crime Victim Center’s services.
“I can talk about it, but there’s so many people that never say a word,” said Starvaggi. “They just numb their feelings and they think if they just keep pushing them down, they are not going to come back up again, but it does. It will haunt you.”
More information on the Crime Victim Center is available here.