By Roberta Humphries, Executive Director
“There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.” — Nelson Mandela
The Cumberland County Community Coalition for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse in conjunction with the Child Advocacy Center will participate in the 19 Days of Child Abuse Prevention Campaign November 1-19. The goal of the campaign is to increase commitment, activities and education and to mobilize communities throughout the world around child abuse prevention. The 19 Days Campaign serves as a reminder to all of us that there is something each of us can do to make a difference in our community to prevent child abuse.
On Thursday, November 9, from 8 – 9 a.m. there will be a Community Child Abuse Prevention Breakfast with guest speakers Brooke Autry and Kym Nixon. Brooke was raised in a Christian, military family. At 18 years old, she was tricked, then coerced into sex trafficking through a modeling scam. Though she did manage to escape, her life continued to spiral out of control as she lived out destructive life cycles. Then in 2012, she had a life changing experience where she was able to begin the healing process and dream again. She now shares her story to bring awareness and restore hope to those affected by this dark industry. Kym Nixon is the President / Executive Director of Changing Destinies Ministry. She served as a Hospital Corpsman in the Navy for 24 years. When she retired in 2005, she was hired as a contractor instructing at the JFK Special Warfare Center and School qualification course. In 2012, she felt God calling her to leave her job and start an anti-human trafficking ministry. It was then that Brooke found the courage to come out with her story. Now this mother / daughter team partner to reveal how human trafficking affected their family in hopes of preventing this from happening to others. Tickets for the breakfast are $10, and you can purchase them online at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/child-abuse-prevention-breakfast-tickets-37426288035 by November 6.
On Thursday, November 9, at 9:30 a.m., the movie Resilience will be shown. Resilience is a new documentary that delves into the science of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and a new movement to treat and prevent toxic stress. It is directed by James Redford. Researchers have recently discovered a dangerous biological syndrome caused by abuse and neglect during childhood. As the new documentary Resilience reveals, toxic stress can trigger hormones that wreak havoc on the brains and bodies of children, putting them at a greater risk for disease, homelessness, prison time, and early death. While the broader impacts of poverty worsen the risk, no segment of society is immune. Resilience, however, also chronicles the dawn of a movement that is determined to fight back. Trailblazers in pediatrics, education, and social welfare are using cutting-edge science and field-tested therapies to protect children from the insidious effects of toxic stress—and the dark legacy of a childhood that no child would choose.
You can register for the movie at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/resilience-documentary-screening-tickets-36724434773
On November 16 at 6:30 p.m. Natalie Wood Riche, Outreach Specialist, Public Protection Section with the NC Department of Justice will present Internet Safety – Knowledge for Parents. This program is free but registration is required. Register with the following link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/internet-safety-knowledge-for-parents-tickets-37430411368.
The location for all three of the above programs is the Kiwanis Recreation Center at 352 Devers Street in Fayetteville.
Throughout the month of November, the CAC will focus on educating preschool children through story time events about appropriate and inappropriate touches. The following books will be read to approximately 800 children throughout Cumberland County: Some Parts are Not for Sharing by Julie Federico; My Body Belongs to Me – from My Head to My Toes created by pro familia and Your Body Belongs to You by Cornelia Spelman. These books will help children learn about personal boundaries and appropriate touching in a very non-threatening way. Teaching children about personal boundaries, empowering them by respecting their choices and their right to say “no” and encouraging them to tell a trusted adult if they are made to feel uncomfortable are very important lessons that children need to learn at the earliest of ages.
These story times provide us an opportunity to educate the very young in a fun environment. During the past fiscal year, of the 696 reported cases of child abuse served by the Child Advocacy Center, 225 were less than 7 years old. In the U.S., by the age of 18, 1 in 10 children will be sexually molested, and approximately 80% of the abuse is never reported. (www.d2l.org) Prevention education is key! It is the most effective way to protect children from abuse and contributes to creating a culture of non-violence.