As a survivor of child sexual abuse, Kandra Albury found the courage within herself to speak out against the abuse and ultimately encourage children to do the same. Recently Darkness to Light had the opportunity to speak with Kandra and learn more about her “courageous” endeavors.
D2L: Why did you get involved in child sexual abuse prevention?
Kandra: I was sexually abused between the ages of five and seven by people close to my family. I was a mute as a child; I was afraid to speak and I suffered from post-traumatic stress syndrome. As a result of my perpetrators stealing my innocence, as well as my voice, I lived a life of passivity. I often allowed others to mistreat me without ever saying a word –I was afraid to speak up. I didn’t know my worth because my authentic identity had been stolen. Nonetheless, I was committed to using my experience and love for writing to courageously catapult myself into a place of wholeness. I was on a quest to recover what had been stolen from me–my voice.
D2L: What happened during that experience?
Kandra: I began to write. First I wrote a memoir. During the process of finding my voice, I was determined to help others find theirs. In doing so, I had to find some truth and stand in it. That truth was between the tender ages of five and seven, I didn’t have the vocabulary to describe what was happening to me. In addition, the adults in my life never had a courageous conversation about my private parts and what to do if someone tried to touch them. So my mission was clear: Write a book that would give children confidence, introduce them to body safety concepts and give them a voice. My children’s book, “Don’t You Dare Touch Me There!” came as a result of that desire. Since that time, I have read the book to more than 5,000 children in Florida, Georgia, and Texas.
D2L: What is the metaphor of the cape that you wear?
Kandra: My cape is symbolic of the courage that I had to muster up to share my story about childhood sexual abuse. In addition, it is symbolic of the courage that is needed to educate and empower kid-size superheroes (and their parents) to help prevent sexual abuse before it ever happens. Since I began my journey of advocacy, I’ve been affectionately referred to as the “cape lady” or “Ms. Don’t Touch Me There!” Regardless of how I am addressed, the message of prevention sticks.
D2L: If someone asked you how you dealt with a history of abuse, what would you say?
Kandra: My reply: You don’t get over it, you get through it by seeking professional help coupled with prayer. ReClaim Global, based in Jacksonville, FL., is a no-cost, intensive program for adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse. The four day sessions changed my life forever! Everyone is worthy to be healed.
D2L: What brought you to Darkness to Light?
Kandra: In 2014, I connected with Darkness to Light. I participated in a Stewards of Children’s training in Polk County, FL. that was facilitated by Kim Alvarez. It was there that I learned the facts about sexual abuse. This was just the right information that I needed to become a children’s advocate and Stewards of Children training facilitator. The Stewards of Children training equipped me with the information I needed to position myself on the frontlines as a supporter for children.
D2L: How do you feel about this journey you’ve been on?
Kandra: I’m humbled, yet honored, to be on this exciting journey that started with pain and gracefully evolved into purpose. As a champion of courage, I strongly believe that prevention is key to helping end sexual abuse in children.
Kandra Albury is an author, children’s advocate, literary coach, and Stewards of Children® training facilitator. Her mission is to educate children and adults about sexual abuse prevention by offering interactive read-alouds, as well as Stewards of Children® prevention training sessions. For more information, visit www.kandraalbury.org.
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