A child’s biggest worry should be who to sit with at the lunch table, which game to play during recess or learning their multiplication tables; however, thousands of innocent children are being forced to deal with bigger worries every day — adult feelings and emotions because of an abuser.
April is Child Abuse Prevention Month and the serious reality of this is the many forms abuse can take — sexual, mental, verbal or physical. Abusers come in all shapes and sizes — strangers or trusted adults, women or men, young adults or senior citizens.
Tracy Crable is a Claiborne County resident who suffered from sexual abuse as a child. Now, her time is spent advocating for those who have suffered from abuse and speaking out against the abusers’ actions.
Crable’s abuse started when she was a toddler.
“It happened repeatedly. The (abuser) would single me out and tell me that I was special. He would take me into the bathroom or another room in the house while he told other kids not to bother us,” said Crable.
The abuser forced her to touch his genitalia and, when she told other children in the house, they told her it was part of a game they played.
“I felt bad about these things — confused but I didn’t realize it was abuse until years later,” said Crable. “It robbed me of my childhood and my innocence. I knew too much about adult things and was afraid everyone could tell. I thought there was something wrong with me.”
Crable believes the best way to help a child who might be abused is to listen to their story. She also believes the best thing a child can do if they have been abused is to tell a trusted adult who is willing to listen.
“As an adult, if you feel like something is amiss, don’t just ask once and then drop it. It takes a lot of courage for a child to tell about this — even if you think it won’t, it does,” said Crable. “Always believe your child. Don’t say anything that would hint that you don’t completely believe them and get them in with a good childhood trauma counselor.”
The Blue Ribbon Project is a non-profit organization geared toward the prevention of child abuse and support for those who have been abused. For more information about awareness and healing, visit www.blueribbonproject.org.
Reach Kelsey Gerhardt at 606-302-9093 or on Twitter @kgerhardtmbdn.