There comes a point in the life of a child sexual abuse victim when they are presented with a choice – to remain a victim or to cross over and become a survivor. One of the most important choices I made four years ago is to be a survivor, not a victim, and I have never looked back.
As a child, my youth pastor was a family friend and colleague of my father. My parents trusted him to be our babysitter and take us on a variety of fun excursions. But there is another side to the story. I was sexually abused by this person. I carried around this terrible secret for years out of fear. I finally had the courage to disclose the abuse to my parents, slowly, over several weeks. My parents felt betrayed and devastated, but thanks to their amazing support and effective treatment, I am now a thriving young adult.
I now have a passion to see the end of child sexual abuse. This is not some selfish ambition. I see it as society’s moral obligation. Each year, there are 400,000 children born in the United States that will be sexually abused before the age of 18. These victims are innocent children in every walk of life – every age, every race, every socio-economic class – who rely on adults to keep them safe. I want to use my voice to make a difference and prevent more children from experiencing what I did.
I am proud to be part of the work Darkness to Light is doing to raise awareness and empower adults to prevent child sexual abuse. Training educators, youth serving organizations, and concerned adults provides the foundation to understanding the issue, recognizing the signs, and reacting responsibly. Through the Stewards of Children® training program over 850,000 adults have been trained throughout the United States and 16 additional countries. But there is so much more to accomplish. We need to reach millions with this critical information.
We cannot do it alone – we need you.
The support from friends like you makes it possible for us to change lives each and every day. I’m choosing to make a difference. I hope you will too.
Volunteer and Advocate