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Many of us are aware of the devastating impact domestic violence has on women and children physically, emotionally, financially, socially, spiritually and psychologically. But I wonder how many people realize that child sexual abuse increases the risk of adult victimization. Did you know: Experts estimate that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused before their 18th birthday; 1 in 5 children are sexually solicited while on the Internet; Nearly 70% of reported sexual assaults occur to children ages 17 and under; The median age for reported sexual abuse is 9 years old; Approximately 20% of the victims of sexual abuse are under age eight; 50% of all victims of forcible sodomy, sexual assault with an object, and forcible fondling are under age twelve; Most victims never report the abuse; Sexually abused children who keep it a secret or who "tell" and are not believed are at greater risk than the general population for psychological, emotional, social, and physical problems, often lasting into ADULTHOOD. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence women who are abused as children are LIKELY to become VICTIMS of abuse as adults. I believe that if we can help reduce the risk of child sexual abuse, we can break the cycle of domestic violence before it even starts. How do we do this? Step 1. Learn the facts. Understand the risks. Realities- not-trusts-should influence your decisions regarding children. In more that 90% of child sexual abuse cases the child and the child's family know and trust the abuser. Step 2. Minimize opportunity. If you eliminate or reduce one-adult /one-child situations, you'll dramatically lower the risk of sexual abuse for children. Step 3. Talk about it. Children often keep abuse secret, but barriers can be broken down by talking openly about it.Step 4. Stay alert. Don't expect obvious signs when a child is being sexually abuses. Step 5. Make a plan. Learn where to go, whom to call and how to react. Step 6. Act on suspicions. The future well-being of a child is at stake. Step 7. Get involved. Volunteer and financially support organizations that fight the tragedy of child sexual abuse. As an adult survivor of childhood sexual abuse, rape and domestic violence I am passionate about this issue and making a difference in the lives of children and women who have experienced abuse. I also realize that my childhood victimization is the "root cause" of why I became a victim again and again. Due to fear these traumatic events became my "childhood secret" for over 20 years. After suffering in silence, I eventually hit rock bottom. How could I not? For over 20 years I carried the burdens of feeling dirty, distant and ashamed. I was broken in mind, body and spirit. I wore a "mask" but I was slowly dying on the inside. I struggled with anger, depression, anxiety, self-hatred, low self-esteem, addiction , dysfunctional relationships and suicidal attempts. I was tormented day in and day out. But one day I came to the end of myself to find myself. I cried out for deliverance to the only One who could save me from a broken spirit and heal my wounded soul. My Creator came to my rescue. He brought me from a place of shame to a place of grace. From being a victim to a victor. He lifted me out of a bottomless pit of darkness when I could not lift myself. He loved me when I did not love myself. He healed me, when I could not heal myself. He gave me a passion and a purpose to stand in the gap for innocent children. Children have a right to grow up healthy, happy and whole. Proverbs 21.13 tells us, "To meet the needs of the poor and protect their rights"- it doesn't matter what the income level of an innocent child is, they need you and I to stand in the gap for them. If we don't stand for safety, protection, righteousness and justice we will fall for anything. Today my organization Crossroad Women and Family Services, Inc. is a non-profit charitable child protection and child sexual abuse prevention training organization whose mission is to engage adults and communities in the movement to end child sexual abuse. For more information visit, I am always looking to establish partnerships with individuals or groups passionate about protecting the innocence of children and ending the cycle of domestic violence before is starts through prevention education. Perhaps you are looking for an empowerment speaker for your next event. If so, please feel free to reach me by email or phone (910) 234-3092.

If there is a tugging at your heart to support the cause please consider sending a donation to

Crossroad Women and Family Services, Inc.

P.O. Box 1781

Whiteville, North Carolina 28472.

Thank you in advance for your prayers and support!

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