EP. 31: Lara & Hayley

Lara & Hayley | Layers of Dignity

Hayley and Lara are two sisters originating from West Kilbride, Scotland. They moved to Raleigh, NC as children with their parents, John and Alison, and brother, Robbie.

Hayley lives in Downtown Raleigh with her husband, Josh, and their Great Dane, Ellie.

Lara lives in North Raleigh with her husband, Ben, and their daughter, Isla.

Both Hayley and Lara received their Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing at the University of North Carolina Wilmington.

Hayley has spent the past 5 years as a Pediatric Emergency Nurse where she has seen the medical perspective of the trauma caused by sexual assault far too many times.

Lara has been a nurse for 10 years with experience in Labor & Delivery and Pediatrics, with an interest in SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner) nursing.

In 2016, the trauma of sexual assault became personal. Since then, Hayley and Lara have felt called to carry the torch of support to sexual assault survivors. They plan to do this one tote at a time through Layers of Dignity – a non-profit that provides support to sexual assault survivors. A Sexual Assault Nurse Examination is completed in an emergency room or women’s advocacy center and this examination incorporates the collection of evidence for law enforcement, including clothing. Our tote bags contain a brand-new outfit, flip flops, toiletries, resources, and a love note from another survivor.

Our aim is to be a catalyst for hope and redemption; to let survivors know as soon as possible that they are not alone.

Lara and Hayley, the founders of Layers of Dignity, and I chat about how they began donating totes full of clothing and other items to emergency rooms and advocacy centers to be given to sexual assault survivors immediately after evidence collection.  We chat about Layers mission to provide hope and connection for survivors, so they know they are not alone.

4:46 Hayley shares about Layers of Dignity (what it is, what they do, etc.)

Tote bag includes:

  • Brand new outfit
  • Toiletries
  • Resources
  • Love note from another survivor

7:14 Lara shares about how the anger they experienced following Hayley’s assault turned to righteous anger, which led to Layers of Dignity

“This anger, it’s there, it’s purposeful, it makes sense, it is allowed to be there. It [sexual assault] is a thing that is wrong. It is something God weeps over. The anger can happen, but if you just stay there it can get dangerous real quick.  Moving it into a righteous anger almost definitely means there is going to be some kind of positive action. We came up with the idea to give clothes to the hospital…”

Vintage Church has been a huge support.

10:05 Hayley shares about their first delivery and how Layers has spread to other hospitals and advocacy centers

InterAct of Wake County

12:02 1 in 6 women will experience a sexual assault or attempted assault in their lifetime. 98% of women will experience symptoms of PTSD during the two weeks after an assault and 1 in 10 sexual assault survivors are male.

Hayley discusses how Layers of Dignity is helping to decrease that 98% experiencing PTSD

“One of our main missions and goals is to be a catalyst for hope and redemption as early as possible and part of that is creating a community. Going through that [assault] is/has been the darkest time in my life and even though I had the best support system….Even though you are totally surrounded, you still feel the loneliest you’ve ever felt, so I think if you can create a place where you feel known there can be less of that loneliness, which hopefully will lead to less depression, anxiety, and hopefully bring that trauma to a place where it can be dealt with early on.”

13:23 They share about the notes included in each tote from a sexual assault survivor

14:46 Lara shares a few more specifics about delivering totes to the Solace Center inside InterAct of Wake County

The Solace Center examination is more trauma informed.  It is a more multi-disciplinary treatment approach.

A nurse can become a SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner)

18:42 Hayley and Lara share some of the feedback they have received regarding Layers of Dignity 

22:27 Hayley and Lara share how people can come along side Layers of Dignity and support their mission

  • Clothing Donations (Brand New)
  • Toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, lotion, comb, hair products, deoderant, etc.)
  • Monetary Donations (individual and company fundraisers)
  • Write a Note

Amazon Wishlist


 Trauma Informed Outfit: (top, bottom, cardigan, bra, underwear, fuzzy socks)

  • Vibe is comfy and cute
  • Muted colors (nothing that brings attention. No graphic tees, patterns, bright colors, etc.)
  • Leggings
  • Long tunics
  • Long cardigans
  • Flip flops

27:58 Hayley and Lara share a little about the future of Layers

End of Show Questions:

“God steps in and fills in the gaps…”

“The person I want you to forgive right now is yourself….As a survivor there is so much guilt, there is so much shame regardless of the situation and regardless of the details it is never the survivor’s fault. It took a long time for me to accept that, so just giving grace to myself.”

“Suffering is a part of life, but it is not a failure and it can be used.”

“Just because I know the darkness and I feel okay sitting in there with someone doesn’t mean I don’t know the light….I can sit in the darkness with someone and understand it and have the space for that, but I can also see the light in that moment in life.”

Restoring Heart Podcast with Ashley Baxter


SPONSOR: Hope Threads 

This organization was founded by moms in north Raleigh, who have been inspired and motivated to join with highly resilient and talented refugees as they learn English, and develop marketable skills to support their families. These women come from countries with political turmoil, where they had to fight for the safety of their families. They’ve been given the opportunity to come to the United States and the challenges still exist, though they’ve changed face. Their children are generally thriving in school, though they lack the language skills to understand what’s being said in parent teacher conferences….or to know how to get their children proper medical care in the maze of a medical system.

Multiple barriers exist that prevent these women from traditional employment opportunities, as most of them do not have cars to get them to work, the finances to pay for childcare, or the language skills to communicate and advocate for themselves. Hope Threads was born out of relationships formed over years of serving these women by teaching them English or caring for their children as they learn.  They are graciously hosted by North Ridge Bible Chapel and have virtually no overhead costs, as volunteers teach sewing skills and care for children in a gospel centered children’s program.

They started with baby items and have now expanded into also making women’s earrings and dish cloths. You can find them online at hope-Threads.com or on Instagram at hope.threads.

Your purchase empowers a resilient woman as she acculturates, learns new skills, and supports her family. Please visit Hope Threads to view their catalog.

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