Briefly tell us about your role at the CAC.
As the Case Manager, it is my privilege to work with the caregivers of the children we serve on any needs or goals they are struggling to accomplish. I can work with families to connect them to local resources such as food, housing, and employment, as well as providing emotional support and counseling referrals for caregivers struggling to cope.
What do you want the community to know about child sexual abuse?
I want the community to know that it is very important to believe a child when they disclose sexual abuse. Often times I see parents and community members struggling to decide whether to believe the child due to the possible consequences for the accused. The fear is that an innocent person may be punished for a crime they did not commit; however, deciding if the child is telling the truth or not is not the responsibility of the caregivers or the community. It is the job of law enforcement and CPS. It can be difficult to leave such an impactful decision up to someone else, but it can also be freeing for the adults in the child’s life to know that they do not have to make the impossible decision of whether to believe that child or not.
What is it about your work that keeps you here and motivated?
Child sexual abuse is such a difficult and complicated topic for our caregivers to deal with. Often times they bottle up their feelings because the people in their lives do not understand what they are going through or they are afraid that they’ll be judged. I enjoy being a safe space for caregivers to share their feelings. Often times I find that they have all of the answers in themselves, they just needed someone to sit in that dark place with them for a few minutes and remind them that they are not alone.
What do you hope for the CAC in the future?
My hope is that the work of the CAC will become more recognizable within our community. So often it seems that people don’t know we exist. Having the knowledge that there is a safe place for children to heal from sexual abuse would be so helpful when and if the time comes where someone you know may need our services.