Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

October 6, 2012

Haven holds annual luncheon

VALDOSTA — Author of “Room 939: 15 Minutes of Horror, 20 Years of Healing,” Jenny Lynn Anderson shared her story of violence at the Haven Battered Women’s Shelter annual luncheon on Friday.

“I am not a victim of domestic violence,” said Anderson. “I have not lived that story.”

Though the Haven assists mostly victims of domestic violence, Anderson shares a common bond with those victims. Though her violence was not domestic, it was never the less traumatizing to say the least.

“I am a victim of violence,” said Anderson.

Anderson set the scene more than 20 years ago in 1990 at a conference she was attending in Atlanta.

“I went up to my room,” said Anderson. “Room 939.”

She went up to prepare for a very important meeting. On her way out, a man approached her. Suddenly, he drew a knife to her neck and forced her back in her room.

“He sexually assaulted me,” said Anderson.

Anderson cried out to God and in her aid, he sent what Anderson refers to in her book as her angel. It was a housekeeper.

With the looming danger of begin caught at that point, the man fled.

“They never caught him,” said Anderson.

That experience changed


“Before that night I was a fighter,” said Anderson. “But this event silenced me.”

According to Anderson, her silence was brought on by cue’s from society.

“No one wanted to talk about this,” said Anderson.

Anderson became, according to her, an actress.

“I became a very different Jenny Lynn,” said Anderson. “I hurt so badly, but no one knew what was going on inside me.”

Aside from fear, trauma and confusion, Anderson’s sexual assault brought on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). She would wake up from night terrors, startling and sometimes even attacking her husband Mark.

“He had to convince me every single day of my life that that man wasn’t out there,” said Anderson.

To deal with the trauma, Anderson “white knuckled” her way through life. She held on, threw herself into raising her two daughters, volunteer work, anything. She didn’t want to do therapy or seek help otherwise because she felt she couldn’t be fixed, or at least by no one other than God.

It was nine years after the attack that Anderson had a revelation during a Bible study group that she then realized that she needed to forgive her unknown attacker.

“But how do you forgive someone whose name you don’t have?” Anderson pondered.

Anderson didn’t have a name, but she did have a face and to remember that face, a forensic sketch. She pulled it out of the very back of an old file.

“I saw a man who knew nothing about the life I had led,” said Anderson.

Through looking at his sketch, Anderson realized that people who are hurting hurt others. However, Anderson still did not seek counseling. It wasn’t until two years ago after a PTSD incident that she could not even recall but instead, lived through the account as relayed by her husband, that she realized that something had to be done.

“I knew that I needed help,” said Anderson.

That help, after a calling from God, was to write.

“It came out of me like a spigot,” said Anderson. “It became the truest part of my healing journey.”

While the story flowed from Anderson as if exhaling after holding her breath for years, the hard part was knowing that the book would be on the shelf. What if the attacker knew? He could come find her. But Anderson persevered.

“I know that if I could be honest and tell the truth, I could put out this book,” said Anderson. “I found my voice again.”

Before the book, Anderson carried around what she called a “ball and chain”. While it’s not gone, she said it’s lighter.

“This journey is not over,” said Anderson.

Anderson’s story of violence, suffering and then victory was fitting for all the great news and great people that the Haven had to celebrate Friday.

Not only are they almost done building a new shelter, but they just received another grant to build a new crisis center.

Those honored at the luncheon include:

• Attorney and Haven Board of Directors Member Al Turner for his relentless dedication.

• Christ Episcopal Church, the Exchange Club and Gayle Moreen and Adrianne Mollay from New Horizons were awarded with a community partner awards.

• Volunteer recognition was given to Marce Denson.

Text Only
Local News
  • City: Most overflows stopped

    The City of Valdosta reported Wednesday evening that all manhole overflows resulting from Tuesday’s heavy rains had stopped, with the exception of two.

    April 17, 2014

  • 140416-gov_deal002.jpg Signed into law

    Gov. Nathan Deal went on a signing tour Wednesday across Georgia, flying into the Valdosta Regional Airport to sign three bills into law.

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • 2 charged in N.C. kidnapping

    Two more people were charged in the kidnapping of a North Carolina prosecutor’s father, bringing the number to at least eight people who authorities say were involved in the elaborate plot.

    April 17, 2014

  • VSU opens spring senior art show Saturday

    Several graduating art seniors will present their show this weekend at Valdosta State University.

    April 17, 2014

  • 140415-water003.jpg Sewage problems persist

    Early Tuesday morning, Valdosta became saturated when the area received approximately three inches of rain from 4 a.m. to noon. As of 3 p.m. Tuesday, 11 manholes throughout the City of Valdosta have spilled 286,500 gallons of wastewater into local waterways, and this number will continue to rise.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • vsuopera1dido.jpg Operatic Conclusion

    When the curtain lowers this weekend on Valdosta State University Opera’s performance of Henry Purcell’s “Dido and Aeneas,” it will not only mark the end of the music group’s season.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • ‘If I Were Mayor’ contest essays

    If I were mayor, I would do all that I possibly can to make the city of Valdosta marvelous, but I cannot do it on my own. Some things in Valdosta I feel it is necessary to focus on would be our literacy rate, unemployment rate, crime history, and our environment.

    April 16, 2014

  • APTOPIX Boston Marath_Stew.jpg Solemn tributes mark Boston Marathon bombing

    Survivors, first responders and relatives of those killed in the Boston Marathon bombing marked the anniversary Tuesday with tributes that combined sorrow over the loss of innocent victims with pride over the city’s resilience in the face of a terror attack.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140414-valdostaboe001 copy.jpg Valdosta Board of Education reviews finances

    Valdosta City Schools Board of Education celebrated many successes Monday night, discussed budget information and heard an announcement of intent from a hopeful charter school.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • dancing with the stars copy.jpg Dancing with Valdosta Stars raises scholarship money

    Valdosta State University Music and Theatre & Dance’s Third Annual Dancing with the Stars of Valdosta presented a fine dance show this past weekend.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

Top News

What you think about school and workplace rules about Facebook friends?

There have to be rules.
No need for rules, just use common sense.
If people want to be friends, what is the big deal?
Nobody uses Facebook anymore.
     View Results