For many years until just recently, I was very private as to why I do what I do. I am the founder of the Give a Child a Voice Foundation. I am emotionally connected to this project as we had a situation in our own family. Because I felt it was my son's personal story and not mine, I kept it to myself. Now, he told me to share the story as it is our story.
The odds a boy will suffer sexual abuse is 1-5 and the odds a girl will suffer sexual abuse is 1-4. My son was sexually molested when he was just 3-years-old. The police report stated he shared how he hid behind the big brown chair just next to the kitchen to avoid his rapist. He showed how he stiffened his little body, clutched his fists and shut his eyes. But, needless to say - she found him.
The police believed report stated he had been raped for at least six months! Can you imagine hearing your child was raped but for at least 6 months? I was devastated broken and felt responsible for I didn’t see it coming, I had no clue. Erik knew the no touch drill as most kids do who are molested. I had worked nights and my husband days to avoid any situations like this.
I believe part of why Erik was molested was because the evil who molested him had attacked me. At three-years-old, Erik saw me get my ass kicked by this relative and no one protected me. The neighbors called the police and I did not press charges because I was afraid of her. Erik knew he had to protect me because she told him “she would kill me next time.” When he finally told me he said, "Mommy she will never hurt you again." That’s a lot to handle for an adult, but can you image being age 3? The police counselor and doctors believed it was a hero situation as Erik was saving me as best a 3-year-old could. Because of this, they all said, "He would be fine." He sacrificed himself for me. He is my hero and his daughter's super hero.
Let's rewind. It was the late 80’s and they fully believed a stable environment heals all wounds. So we relocated from southern CA. to AZ. Erik was flourishing he was popular with everyone he excelled at whatever sport he chose to do he was the first freshman at a local high school to ever to go to state for swimming. He was fun, happy and kind.
Then one day his brother came home and he had been drinking alcohol. I was upset due to the fact he was not old enough to drink. He was acting out and he wanted to hurt me. He said, You let Erik get raped!" My heart shattered and I just said “Why is this happening and how do we move forward from here. Erik was in the next room and he slammed the door and ran out of the house. Erik was a popular and flourishing until the night his brother said what he did and then it all flooded back in. I know many bury their pain stuff it down deep as Erik did - it’s a coping technique.
The fact was I did not understand how predators work. So I did the only thing I could think to do - I wrote a children’s book to teach the lessons I did not know to teach my own child. Secrets, blackmail, lies and manipulation. And, I started a foundation. Recently we became completely a volunteer 501 (c) (3). The foundation has been a long and expensive road a total labor of love commitment and belief that we can and will make a difference in the war against child abuse.
It became my main purpose to inform and help society the day I saw I had failed to realize Erik was not coping. I looked in the mirror and realized I was only focused on my boys my family their friends keeping them safe. I had not bothered to share the lessons I learned about the predator who is evil and sits next to us preying on the innocent. It's far more than the no touch/swimsuit drill: its evil and it walks next to us. The rapist sits next to us at school, church, work and family events. The whole time, he or she is waiting, deceiving and then devouring the innocent for nothing more than power over the most precious and innocent in our society, our children.
Erik is grown now and we have moved on, truly. The past does affect each of us and it matters but it does not define us. Erik is an outstanding father. He has a great job and encourages his daughter to be strong and to know she is valuable. Erik has taught her she has a voice that can and will shatter a lie. Their song is so sweet: “I am just a call away, I’ll be there to save the day. Super man’s got nothing on me."
We have the goal to make the yellow sunshine as impacting to child abuse as the pink ribbon was and is for breast cancer awareness and prevention. There are three reasons no one wants to talk about child abuse. 1. We all want to pretend it doesn’t happen. 2. It brings up bad memories. 3. Parents feel uncomfortable they don’t have the proper verbiage to use to discuss it. The predators count on that us 1. Feeling uncomfortable 2. Us wanting to deny it happens. 3. Us running from the truth. It time to break through the ceiling and shatter the walls. Shine the light to a dark subject. Sending the message we are a beacon of HOPE! EVERY child was made to SHINE! Honor, protect and educate.
ABOUT "THE GIVE A CHILD A VOICE FOUNDATION"
I am FOREVER GRATEFUL to those who have stepped up to walk next to us. Let’s all wage the war against child abuse as together WE SHINE LIGHT to a dark subject.
The Give a Child a Voice Foundation was founded on May 26th 2016. We strive to be the nation's leader in educating and empowering children from all forms of abuse, and teach them to be crusaders for themselves and vigilant to be safe.
Our goal is for EVERY child to know they have WORTH! SHINE Light to a Dark Subject; making a scary subject NOT so scary anymore. We are completely a volunteer organization and every penny goes towards raising funds to educate and empower children.
The was founded by Cindy Dennis a mom who has had her life affected by an incident in their own family. Out of a ugly situation, a Positive project was created and a foundation was born.