My mom has been involved in New Hope Blount County Children's Advocacy Center for as long as my memory of living in Tennessee extends. The center is a wonderful service that gives victims of sexual and physical abuse ONE place to go so that they only have to tell their story ONE time. "One story. One Time. One place." This lessens the trauma that the children have already experienced. All the necessary treatments--forensic
interview, medical examination, children's services, and police officers--are given at the center. The child and family are met with love, careful attention, and a safe place. It has been the mission of New Hope to reach 5% of our population, which means that they are affecting change.
However, people put blinders on when it comes to a topic such as this. "Child abuse doesn't happen in my community." "It's not a prevalent issue." "We don't need to talk about this." But it is prevalent. Child abuse is an issue in our community and around the world. 1 in 10 children will be abused before they turn 18. And this isn't a problem? In 90% of child abuse cases, the child is abused by someone they know and trust. So that stranger mindset is not necessarily the truth. An estimated 9 out of 10 child sexual abuse cases are never reported.
It's time to open the blinders and see the reality of our community. Just in 2015, New Hope served 327 children. Child abuse is a problem, but there are ways to spot and prevent it. It is state law that you MUST report child abuse.
I have spent a lot of time with New Hope and the wonderful women who make our community a better place to live. I've seen children come in to the center. I once attended a birthday party for a girl who had never had a party before. So this place has touched my heart in a way that I will never forget. These kids are scarred by people that they trusted, and the women at New Hope give them a safe place to go and a warm smile.
To learn more about child abuse and how to spot it, visit here: http://blountkids.org/facts-about-child-abuse/
Get involved in preventing child abuse in your community by signing up for a Stewards of Children Prevention training: http://blountkids.org/stewards-of-children/
To help bring awareness to Child Abuse Prevention Month, New Hope is hosting a variety of events throughout the month of April. Check them out here: http://blountkids.org/events/
I was asked to write a story in honor of survivors of child abuse to relate the trauma and emotional pain that they go through. You can read the story here: http://blountkids.org/2016/calltoaction/
It's time to affect change in our community. If you don't know about a center like this in your community, do some research. Children are our future, and it's our job to protect them. Take the blinders off. See our world for all that it is. Get involved. Make a difference.