Saturday, August 25, 2012

Me in the News...

News Report

I was asked recently to talk to WJHL by the Children's Advocacy Center. For those who know me well, you know I have used their amazing resource for many of the children who come into my home. I fully hold them responsible for my family being so together! Anyway, Here is the story. At first I was a bit embarrassed, I guess the old victim attitude surfaced. You know the "its my fault" sort of thing. Then I got to thinking about it more. I never abused a child, I never hurt or starved or neglected a child, why should I be the one to feel bad? So here it is. . . A little of my life, the motivation for what I do. . . the reason I try to encourage each of you to reach out to children. . .

April is Child Abuse Awareness Month.and there are some disturbing statistics right here in our region. Last year in Tennessee, 15 hundred children died as a result of abuse and neglect. There were nine deaths in Northeast Tennessee, five of those in Sullivan County alone. News Channel 11's Lara Moore sits down with an abuse victim as she talks about her trauma for the first time. "I grew up in a very abusive environment because of my father." 26 year old Jessica Hacker's childhood memories are of watching her father abuse her mother. "My mother left my father, she tried to make a better life for us, but because of child support laws, he was able to find us and pursued custody. When I was eight years old, we were sent to live with him for a two year period." It was then that Hacker became the target of his abuse. Teacher's saw Hackers wounds and reported them to children's services. There was an emergency hearing and her mother regained custody despite the fact that Hacker refused to testify against him. Hacker says she was terrified to testify against her dad. She explains, "My dad actually said, if you tell what happened I will kill myself and your stepmom, which he actually did two days later." The tragedy has motivated her to protect other children. Today she has three children of her own and is a therapeutic foster parent, taking in children who have experienced her same nightmare. Hacker says when she was a child the court system was not concerned about the kids, but only about the abuse. Now she works closely with the Children's Advocacy Center , a program she says gives kids a hand to hold while they heal. "That is the difference I see most in a children's advocacy center is it's not, look at all these things that happened and look at all these pictures. It's how can we get this kid to where she can smile again."

What to do if a child discloses abuse -Believe the child, no matter how hard it is. -Temper your reaction. -Report the abuse -Be understanding -Never blame the child To report child abuse call 1-877-54A-BUSE

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