ABC House: The Child Abuse Intervention Center Serving Benton and Linn Counties
“My name is Claire and I’m 12 years old. Two years ago, when I was on a vacation with my family, my dad’s friend came into my room one night while everybody else was asleep. He locked the door, told me to be quiet and took off my pajamas. And then he touched me where no one has ever touched me before.
I didn’t make a sound.
He did things that I knew were wrong—and they hurt. He made me think that what he did was my fault, that I made him want to do that to me. And he said if I ever told anyone it was his word against mine and that no one would believe me. I felt dirty and ashamed and I didn’t want anyone to know.
Once I tried to tell one of my friends but she didn’t believe me. Maybe she didn’t know how to handle it.
I never told anyone else about that night… until I went to ABC House.
I first went to ABC House to talk about something that happened to somebody else. I walked in on my coach touching one of my friends on the swim team. So I came to ABC House to answer some questions about what I saw. When we got there, everybody was nice to me. They brought me to a waiting room with games and books to read. There were toys for the little kids too. But all I wanted was to pet the ABC House dog. She was a golden retriever and really made me feel better. So I just sat and petted her soft fur until I heard my name called.
‘Claire, would you like to talk to me now?’ I heard a friendly voice across the room. This was the interviewer lady. She was nice and had really kind eyes—I felt like I could trust her.
We sat down in a room decorated with horses. The interviewer lady said, ‘Claire, it’s my job to talk to kids. You can tell me anything you want as long as it’s something that really happened.’ I said ok, and then told her what I saw happen to my friend. She didn’t freak out or say anything bad about my friend. She mostly listened and asked some questions. So I thought maybe it would be ok to tell her what happened to me.
I told her everything – it was like I couldn’t stop talking! And she really listened to me! I felt like a huge weight had been taken off me, off my heart. For the first time since it happened, it felt like maybe everything would be ok.
I will never forget that she was the first person who believed me.”
At ABC House, we listen to and support children during the most frightening time of their lives, and help them begin to heal. As one of our past supporters, you have helped provide fact-finding interviews by specially-trained interviewers, medical exams by child abuse experts, and critical trauma therapy services for hundreds of Benton and Linn County children and youth every year. Your donations have also been put to work in our community to help prevent child abuse before it starts through our community education and prevention programs.
It is people like you that make the world a better place for these abused and neglected children by helping us keep our doors open. We do not receive any tax dollar funding or other guaranteed sources of support. ABC House only survives to care for these children because of people like you.
Will you help the next child like Claire who walks through our doors? And the one after that?
You can, by helping us raise $22,000 before December 31st. Take action now by filling out and returning the enclosed card with your donation or go online to www.abchouse.org and make an easy, secure online gift. Please, if you can, sign up for a monthly donation to help children—just like Claire—all year-round.
You have the power to help rescue children from the nightmare of abuse.
Thank you so much for your life changing gift.
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