Heroes of Orange County: Nonprofit Provides Free Therapy for Survivors of Sexual Abuse

 

Amanda Zarate of Dana Point. Photo credit: Mariah Tauger

Here’s to the best among us—those who overcome great challenges, plunge headfirst
into danger, and fight the good fight. They’re selfless. They’re courageous. Simply put, they make our world a better place.

 

Amanda Zarate of Dana Point is founder of Fighting For Me Inc., a nonprofit organization providing free therapy for survivors of sexual abuse.

When she was 9, Zarate’s parents divorced, and her father began sexually abusing her. At 16, she gathered the courage to tell her mother, and her father went to prison.

“I think it killed my mom, in the form of breast cancer, when she found out,” Zarate says.
Now married and a mother to four boys, Zarate runs Fighting For Me, a 501(c)(3) organization helping connect other survivors of sexual abuse to a network of volunteer licensed therapists. The nonprofit, which began serving clients in 2015, is a small operation on a shoestring budget—its only expenses are insurance and its website. Though it has thus far partnered with just 15 therapists nationwide, mostly in Orange County, the organization has helped 70 clients.

Zarate says her goal was to make getting help as easy as possible. Fighting For Me does not require proof of financial need. Clients email a simple form and are connected with a therapist, who provides as many sessions as they need.

“I was married before, at 19, to a very abusive man,” Zarate says. “He would give me an allowance of $10 a week for everything, including food. It was so hard for me to go to therapy. I had insurance, but that $20 copay was so much for me. So even if it looks on paper like someone can afford it, you don’t know.”

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