Nine-year-old Olivia dreaded family gatherings because of what would happen to her. When the school nurse found out why, she gave Olivia the chance to heal at one of our Child Advocacy Centers.
Do you remember how excited you were about birthdays and holidays when you were a kid?
Can you imagine growing up dreading birthdays and holidays because you fear that your uncle will use family get-togethers as an opportunity to molest you? That was the sad reality for nine-year-old *Olivia.
Like many child victims of sexual abuse, Olivia felt confused and guilty – she didn’t understand why her uncle would do something that made her feel so bad. And she thought it was her own fault.
The trauma of the abuse left Olivia sad and scared. She couldn’t fall asleep at night because thoughts of her uncle made her tummy hurt and her heart race.
One Brave Little Girl
One day at school, Olivia felt sick and her teacher sent her to the school nurse. When the nurse asked her what the matter was, she began to panic. She didn’t have the words to describe how her uncle had hurt her.
The nurse knew that something was very wrong. She comforted Olivia and assured her that she only wanted to help. She asked Olivia if something had happened to her. Olivia told the nurse about what her uncle had done.
The nurse immediately reported the abuse to authorities. Olivia and her parents were brought to a Safe Horizon Child Advocacy Center (CAC).
Addressing Olivia’s Trauma
At Safe Horizon, we offer hope and healing for the most innocent of victims: our children. In 1996, we became the first organization in the nation to bring child protective services, counselors, pediatricians, law enforcement, and prosecutors together under one roof. This coordinated approach allows child victims to receive expert help and avoid further trauma. At Safe Horizon’s CACs, child victims and their families begin to heal.
Our five CACs located in each borough help thousands of children like Olivia and their families each year. Olivia received counseling and she no longer has trouble sleeping and is doing well in school.
If you suspect that a child you know may be a victim of abuse, please report this to the New York State Central Register of Child Abuse & Maltreatment: 800.342.3720.
* Client names and identifying information have been changed to protect their privacy. Images used are representations of Safe Horizon’s clients.