Franklin woman wants to give back
Published 10:17 am Friday, April 4, 2014
FRANKLIN—After being sexually abused as a child and suffering the life-long consequences, a Franklin woman has decided to start a non-profit to help victims.
Lynnora Sumblin said she was abused by her uncle when she was 9, and for years and years she didn’t talk about it.
“When you are a victim of sexual assault, they tell you that it is your fault and tell you that you can’t tell anyone,” she said. “I was 18 before I told my parents.”
Sumblin told her parents, Earva and the late Freddie Sumblin, and figured she’d be good from there, so off she went to college. She graduated in 1989 from Hampton University and then went to law school. Before the year was out, she was checked into the Eastern Shore Mental Hospital in Williamsburg.
“I was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder, which is one of the major mental illnesses,” Sumblin said. “I learned that an early childhood trauma added with stress can cause this in early adulthood, which I believe is what happened to me.”
One of the greatest events of her life happened in 1994, she gave birth to her son Justin, who went on to become a Gates Scholar. He also traveled extensively, and as a single mother, Sumblin could have never afforded that.
“I’m so thankful to this community,” she said. “Franklin and Southampton County have always helped when it was needed.”
With her thankfulness to the community, along with the first-hand knowledge of what sexual abuse could cause in a victim, she set out to help children in the community going through what she went through.
The organization, called Ever Delighting Advocacy Center, aims to educate, help with counseling and it will also have a support group that will meet monthly. The group seeks to help people with mental illnesses, and people who suffered from sexual abuse or violence.
“Some may sit down, get it off of their chest, and that’s it,” she said. “It’ll help whatever was hurting them, be it emotionally or forming relationships with people.
“But for others, they may need more extensive help — like I did. And we’ll help with that.”
Sumblin, an ordained evangelist who got her master’s degree from Virginia State University, will also do motivational speaking.
Advocacy is another big aspect of the group, and that’s important now, as April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month in the U.S.
“Sexual abuse and mental illness do not discriminate,” she said. “It affects all religions, all races, all political parties and people in every community. It’s a problem here in the area. And the only way to defeat it is through advocacy, education and empowerment.”
On Saturday, June 21, at Franklin High School, the group will host its first fundraiser, a Zumbathon, which will be from 10 to noon. Tickets will cost $10.
That night, she’ll host a dinner service for $25 in advance or $30 at the door. While there, they can purchase copies of the second edition of her book, “My Stolen Innocence.”
For more information about the organization, or to donate, contact Sumblin at 404-368-7369. If you wish to donate, you can mail checks to PO Box 38, Franklin, VA, 23851.
“We want to turn victims into survivors,” she said.