||National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Abuse
National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Abuse
EDITOR'S NOTE: Occasionally we bring you articles from local newspapers, web sites and other sources that constitute but a small percentage of the information available to those who are interested in the issues of child abuse and recovery from it.
We also present original articles we hope will inform the community ...
why we started this site
together we can heal
help stop child abuse
a little about us
join us, get involved
An estimated 212 children in south-central Illinois are
harmed every day
the cruelty of abuse. A balloon release
was held Sunday at Northside Park
Breese to remember
these children and to launch a chiid abuse awareness,
education and prevention program in Breese. Organizer
/ child abuse
Tricia McKnight (in bright blue, right), who is now
an advocate for battered spouses &
balloons to local citizens who attended the event.
|| Around the Country -- for the children
Balloon Release Held Sunday in Breese to Remember the Victims of Child Abuse
by Kelly Jo Ross
Breese Journal Reporter
Thursday, April 5, 2012
The importance of community involvement to promote the awareness, education and prevention of child abuse was stressed Sunday as part of a balloon release at Northside Park in Breese.
The balloon release, which kicked off National Child Abuse Awareness Month, was also held to remember the abused children and to launch a community awareness program in Breese.
Hosting the event were child abuse survivor Tricia McKnight of Breese in conjunction with Dreamcatchers for Abused Children and the city of Breese. An estimated 212 children in southcentral Illinois are harmed every day by the cruelty of abuse.
“We need to think about and remember the children being hurt every second of every day, and to let them know that they can reach out to us; they are loved; and they will be protected,” McKnight said, adding that her goal is to end the silence that so many abused children and teenagers are forced to face.
|McKnight grew up and lived in Freeburg and said that the entire community ignored every sign of her abuse — from the alcoholism, to the beatings, to the neglect.
She was never taken to a dentist or doctor. She became the victim of her stepfather from the age of 5 to 17 and then for another 20 years, she was a victim of domestic abuse.
It wasn’t until she turned 37 that she finally turned her life around.
“There are almost 60 million people like me and most of us don’t ever say a word because the people who are abusing us are 95 percent of the time family or guardians who are close to us,” McKnight said.
“In 2010, a child was hurt every 4.6 second in Illinois,” she said.
“DCFS is actually overwhelmed and in 2010, Illinois actually ranked highest in our country of cases because of our economy. When parents get stressed, bad things happen and children are the ones who feel the affect of this.”
|Balloons representing abuse victims being released
Tricia McKnight’s fourthgrade
live in constant
fear and hide
||“I don’t want a child to be a victim like I was, and I don’t want them to rot away,” she said. Another child abuse victim, R. Carl Hart of St. Louis, was one of the 200 men featured on the Oprah Winfrey show last year who had been molested as a child.
Hart told the crowd on Sunday that he was molested when he was 13 years old by a wellknown and liked citizen. The perpetrator had “groomed” him, or gained his trust for eight months.
It wasn’t until 30 years later, following the discovery of Missouri teenager Shawn Hornbeck who was kidnapped and repeatedly abused by a man who lived three miles away from Hart, that he decided to share his story. Hart admitted that he still experiences trust issues.
Also speaking on Sunday was Linda Walcher, McKnight’s fourth-grade teacher at Freeburg, who connected with McKnight after discovering her through a mutual friend on Facebook. Walcher had clicked on McKnight’s Facebook page and read that she was an author.
After reading the first couple of chapters of McKnight’s book, “My Justice,” available online at Amazon. com, Walcher was stunned.
“I had no idea that Tricia had been molested, abused and neglected, and she was my fourth-grade student,” Walcher said.
| “That gives you an example of how silent these children can be, and if you are not alert and aware, they can slip right past you. I was sick. I didn’t know what happened.”
Walcher sent McKnight a Facebook message and wrote, “I’m sorry. I didn’t know.” The two met and reconnected just a couple of months ago.
“I made a promise to Tricia that maybe I didn’t know back then, but I would do anything that I can to support her now, and I will do anything to make others aware of the silent signs,” she said.
McKnight stressed that people should watch for the changes in children around them, including problems at school, and encouraged everyone to get more involved with their community.
“Spread human kindness and awareness of others,” McKnight said. “Eventually we can help save the lives of many children and instead of the numbers going up, maybe we can make a difference and the numbers will start going down.”
Anyone interested in contacting McKnight or learning more about the program, can call her at (618)526-9114 or visit www.facebook.com/triciagirl62
||Five white balloons were released
to represent the five
children who die every day
nationwide at the hands of
||Breese Mayor Charlie Hilmes
spoke about the importance
of community involvement in
spreading awareness about
||Breese Boy Scout Troop #225 and its leaders were recognized
their participation in the 911
Cell Phone Recycle Program
which assists victims of domestic violence who need access to
||Child abuse survivor R. Carl
Hart of St. Louis talked about
his own experiences and the
“Just Tell” program.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Carl Hart is, of course, one of NAASCA's most committed & active volunteers, serving as coordinator of our Blue Ribbon campaign. He also appears regularly on our SCAN talk show.