Support Center for Sexual Assault Victims Comes to East Village

DES MOINES, Iowa  --  Two local entrepreneurs have secured a spot for a support center to help victims of sexual assault.

Stephanie Gilbert and Jessica Henderson created the There's Hope Foundation with the goal of helping others--an idea that stems from a troubling past.

“It definitely stems from the sexual abuse. I know that it happens more than we talk about, and I feel like it needs to be talked about more on a regular basis," Henderson said.

The sisters say their adoptive parents abused them, and the Department of Human Services didn't know about it. This is something they worry happens far too often.

Back in 2015, Malayia Knapp fled her Urbandale home, claiming her adoptive mother, Mindy Knapp, was abusive. In 2017, DHS removed the rest of the children from that home.

The There's Hope Foundation is an outlet for kids like these.

“It’s important for Polk County and the metro area to know that these girls or boys or children, they just have a place to go at the end of the day or the beginning of the day if they're feeling like they need to talk about it," Gilbert said.

In addition to helping children, the foundation benefits other people, as well.

“If you’re in a place that you feel unsafe, you call the phone and we are going make sure we get you out of there," Henderson said.

So far, the two have helped five survivors, but hope to grow that number to 300.

“We are out here everywhere, and we need to bring awareness to others to let them know that they can come out. We are here, everybody's here, we have your back, don't be embarrassed," Henderson said.

Click here for more information on how to help.