ABC House: The Child Abuse Intervention Center Serving Benton and Linn Counties
We’d like to share Jenna’s story with you:
Jenna grew up in a close and loving family. She attended private school and excelled in both academics and sports. Her family was active in their community, and Jenna was popular and well-liked. Her nickname was “Tigger” because she literally bounced around with joy. From the outside, it looked like she had everything going for her.
Jenna was 13 years old when the sexual abuse started.
Her abuser was a close family friend. He coached her basketball team. Jenna was best friends with his daughter. Their families celebrated holidays and spent vacations together. He told her she was pretty and a “very special girl.” He found ways to get her alone. Jenna trusted him and the man who had been like a second father to her used that trust to steal her innocence.
The abuse continued for more than three years. And Jenna kept silent….
Her parents knew something was wrong: Jenna’s grades plummeted, she stopped caring about her personal appearance and she distanced herself from family and friends. But when they asked, Jenna couldn’t tell them what was wrong. How could she tell her parents, her sister, her best friend that the man they all cared about was a monster? How would anyone ever believe her?
Jenna became severely depressed and began to secretly cut herself. She contemplated suicide. She was horrified to realize that if she killed herself, her secret would die with her and her abuser would attend the funeral.
When her sister returned home from college, she was frightened at the change in Jenna. She sat Jenna down alone and asked her if someone was hurting her. Jenna began to cry and found the courage to tell her the truth.
One in eight children will be suffer some form of abuse by their 18th birthday, just like Jenna. It’s difficult to think that someone could harm a child, especially when we know that the vast majority of children are abused by someone they trust and even love. But when we can’t afford to ignore the problem – when we do, we are leaving these children to suffer alone.
In a child abuse intervention center like ABC House, Jenna found hope for the first time since the abuse began. Jenna and her parents participated in counseling that helped them find hope and healing. The support they received helped them through a difficult criminal prosecution process.
You can bring healing to other girls and boys, just like Jenna, with your gift today.
Jenna’s brave story tells us that child abuse can happen anywhere, in any community – even to children in the closest, most loving families. You can bring hope to hundreds of local children each year and help us stop abuse before it starts.
P.S. Let’s end the silence and help our community’s children get the healing they deserve and so desperately need. Please make a gift today. Thank you!
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