The Tampa Bay Lightning honored Barbara Curts as a Lightning Community Hero during the first period of tonight's game against the Boston Bruins. Curts, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate the money to the Crisis Center and the Judeo Christian Health Clinic.
Barbara Curts has dedicated her life to helping others, especially women who are recovering from the trauma of sexual violence. She has been a volunteer rape crisis counselor with the Crisis Center for three years and devotes, on average, 45 hours a month, sitting with a rape survivor, listening to their story, sharing their pain and offering up hope and help. She recently spent four hours in the middle of the night finding shelter for a survivor because it was not safe for her to return to her home. After little sleep, Curts left the Crisis Center for her full-time job as a relationship manager at a local bank.
As a survivor herself, Ms. Curts understands first-hand how rape strips the victim of her sense of safety and self-worth. Life becomes an increasingly scary place where no one is to be trusted, especially men. With support and courage, Curts is showing that healing is possible and the survivor herself can move from fear to a life invested in love and service. Her personal experience led her to help found Women in Action, a group of 35 professional women focusing on issues affecting women and children. When she's not volunteering at the Crisis Center, working or raising her teenage daughter, Curts is delivering Meals on Wheels, helping the Judeo Christian Clinic raise funds or volunteering with her community fire department and the Tampa Independent Business Alliance.
The FBI estimates that one out of five women in our country will experience rape or some form of sexual violence in their lifetime. Less than a third of these women will receive a rape exam or be treated for the trauma that will haunt them the rest of their lives, substantially increasing the likelihood that they will become depressed, abuse drugs and alcohol, experience mental health problems or attempt suicide. Curts is working hard to change all of that.