3 ON YOUR SIDE: Silent victim of sexual assault rebounds to help - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

3 ON YOUR SIDE: Silent victim of sexual assault rebounds to help others

Source: Yolanda Evans Source: Yolanda Evans
Source: Yolanda Evans Source: Yolanda Evans
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: YOlanda Evans Source: YOlanda Evans
HUMPHREYS COUNTY, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Sexual assault doesn't always happen between strangers.

Thousands of victims are locked in silence because their attacker is an acquaintance or even a close relative. 

Yolanda Turner Evans is one example, a survivor of rape and domestic violence. Her heart wrenching and violent story could have ended in tragedy, instead, it evolved into a life changing organization that saves the lives of other victims.

"I was nine-years-old when it happened," recalls Evans.

It was 1984 in the town of Belzoni when her living nightmare began. 

She was raped repeatedly by family members until she said she was 11-years-old; a secret she kept for more than two decades.

"When it happened, they, it was OK with them," said Evans. "I didn't know what was going on. I knew it wasn't right, but who do you tell?"

Evans' mother died when she was one. Three weeks later her aunt died.

She and 20 cousins rode the bus from their home in Syracuse, New York to the Delta town where her grandmother and 21-year-old aunt took them all in and raised them.

"In one incident, my grandmother sent me to the kitchen to get her a drink, and I cried," said the rape survivor. "I told her no, but she sent me anyway and he was waiting on me, and he molested me then. So I like bottled it up, but it was a hurtful thing."

Out of the pain, Evans says she grew rebellious, searching for love, finding abusive relationships.

At age 15, she had a daughter. Two years later a son and at 19, another daughter.

Along the way, she met Bruce Greenwood in Belzoni.

"He changed my life because he tried to kill me and my daughter when she was in the 10th grade," she said.

In May of 2006, after breaking up with Greenwood, Evans said a night of terror began. An abduction to Arkansas and high-speed chase across the Mississippi Delta.

"He was hiding in the house and me and my daughter got there and he came out and beat us with iron. and when he beat us with iron he made us get out of our clothes," said the Humphreys county resident.

After dropping off her daughter near Hollandale, Evans said Greenwood stabbed her in the legs and vowed to kill them both.

A high-speed chase with the Humphreys County Sheriff's Department began in Indianola.

"He knocked one of the tires out. We're on three wheels, going as fast as that car can go. He's giving it all he's got in oncoming traffic," said Evans. "He ran clean into a van because he said if I can't have you nobody can".

She was hospitalized with stab wounds, and a burned scalp where Greenwood tried to set her hair on fire but only cuts and bruises from the crash.

Greenwood was reportedly left paralyzed. He was later sentenced to federal prison.

"Bruce got I want to say 120 something years because he has to pay for the time for raping my daughter, kidnapping and taking me over state lines," said the domestic violence survivor.

The ordeal changed the mother of three's life.

She admits she was angry at God for allowing all that happened to her. 

The New York state native said psychiatric treatment was not the answer for her.

But it was God, who she prayed to, who saved her.

"I found Christ 10 years ago right after this incident happened because I was always reading my Bible," said Evans. "In order for me to move past a lot of my hurt. I have to dig deep inside and forgive myself. I forgave, and I moved on with life".

Today the 42-year-old Walmart supervisor is married and studied sociology at Delta Community College.

She also reaches out to rape and domestic violence victims through her foundation Heavenly Hands.

"I smile about Heavenly Hands because it was a vision from God," she said. "If I'm in a crowd I know. I can point out the abuser, and I can point out the person that's being abused".

The rape survivor speaks to churches and organizations, holds walks and raises money to help women, men and families escape their tormentors.

"If they tell you they're going to kill you, they mean it," the wife and mother warned.

And she has this message for others who are victims.

"Without him, I wouldn't be here with my children. I wouldn't be here to hug my grand kids. They told my daughter that she would never have kids, and she has three beautiful children. You know that's nobody but God," said Evans. "You don't have to die after it happens".

If you are suffering in silence, there are resources available:

  • Call Heavenly Hands at 662-836-7374 or 662-836-6757,
  • Butterflies by Grace Defined by Faith at 601-896-2509 or Catholic
  • Charities Inc.- Jackson Rape Crisis Center 24 Hour Crisis Hotline at 601-982-RAPE (7273).

Information on resources is also available by clicking here

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