Editor's note: The following story was reprinted, with permission, from the Pope County Tribune.
By Amy Chaffins
Pope County Tribune
"I always felt a very strong responsibility to write and speak about my painful experience because I believe that we must all learn the lessons that loss has to teach us and then use what we have learned to help others."
Former Glenwood resident Joyce Jenney survived an assault 18 years ago and Friday night, she'll share the lessons she's learned during the "Unity Gala" - a fundraiser for Someplace Safe.
In 1990, Jenney was sexually assaulted in her Glenwood home during a surprise attack by a stranger. Her attacker, Byron Kenneth Anderson, wasn't connected to the rape until two years later when he submitted DNA after he was arrested in a sexual assault in Stearns County.
In 2006, Anderson was classified as a habitual offender and indefinitely committed to a state treatment facility.
"From the moment of the assault, I was determined that some good would come from all this pain and I worked daily toward that goal," Jenney said.
"Speaking in Glenwood seemed like a very positive way to help the public better understand the many problems of an assault. I also hope that it might help other survivors heal.
"I volunteered to speak because I feel someone must address this issue," she said. "As we have all learned, at some point in our lives, sometimes we realize that someone has to be you."
During her presentation Friday night, Jenney said she'll talk about the things she's learned after her assault, things for which she's thankful and how people can help an assault victim.
"I'll also stress that it is possible to recover from an assault and build a new - but different - life. It certainly is not easy but I have learned that it is possible. Perhaps it will offer hope to some other survivors," she said. "We must all spread the word that violence will not be tolerated in our communities."
While she's in town
Jenney lives in Hawaii now, but she's known to most Glenwood natives as "Miss Jenney." She was a longtime teacher in the area.
"I am so happy to be returning to the Glenwood area again and seeing family, friends, former students and colleagues," she said. "It always seems like coming 'home' again. I left a large part of myself in the Glenwood area because of the many children I taught there over the years.
"Whenever I return to the Glenwood area, I am immediately 'Miss Jenney' again. It almost seems like another person that I used to know well, because everyone on Kauai calls me simply 'Joyce.' It means a great deal to me that I am always greeted with such warmth in the Glenwood area," she said.
She also wanted to be sure to pass along the following statement to the Glenwood community: "I am deeply grateful to the Glenwood community for their strong support during that difficult time after the assault. I know that I would not have been able to recover if it had not been for the strong support of my family/extended family/friends/colleagues and the Glenwood community. I am deeply grateful for their understanding, thoughtfulness and support!"
During the Unity Gala, Jenney will sell copies of her book, Teacher, You Have Smiling Eyes.
"My book was an important part of my healing process, because I had to leave the profession I loved so abruptly, because of the assault. My book was my fond farewell to my teaching profession. It really was a work of love," she explained.
"I did not have a single note when I sat down at the computer but it poured out like a river. The abrupt loss of my teaching profession was devastating to me and the book helped me heal."
The Unity Gala will take place Friday, September 12 at Lakeside Ballroom.
Social hour begins at 5:30 p.m. The event will be emceed by Lonnie Wing of KXRA Radio and will include live music, hors d'oeuvres, silent and live auctions, as well as a special presentation by Joyce Jenney.
Jenney taught in Glenwood schools from 1960 to 1991. She is a survivor of a stranger attack and hopes that sharing her story will help other survivors recover and also help people better understand the many issues of assault.
Tickets are $20 and available at Trumm Drug in Glenwood, Samuelson's in Starbuck, Bremer in Starbuck, Eagle Bank, Glenwood State Bank and Curves for Women in Glenwood, Elden's Food Fair, Thrifty White and Someplace Safe offices in Glenwood and Alexandria.
For more information, visit www.somplacesafe.info or call (320) 762-1995.