Michelle's Story: Healing After Child Abuse
Michelle, at 13 years old, was a budding writer. She loved to create stories and poems that described her life through beautiful language. When a trusted neighbor sexually abused her, however, Michelle had to use her writing to reveal the ugly truth about what happened to her.
She wrote about the abuse in a poem and handed it in to her teachers. When her teachers read her poem, they immediately reported the abuse. Their report led Michelle to our Child Advocacy Centers.
Safe Horizon’s Child Advocacy Centers provide healing and justice for child victims of sexual and severe physical abuse. At our Centers, children like Michelle find all the services they need, and all those services in one place. Police detectives working at our Centers investigate the abuse and medical staff treats children and collects physical evidence. Children’s services representatives and our own clinical staff provide additional social service and counseling help.
While our response team worked on Michelle’s case in order to find and arrest her abuser, we also worked to help Michelle recover from the emotional impact abuse had created on her life.
Michelle had stopped writing her poems and stories. Sadly, trauma from the abuse had robbed her of enjoying something she truly loved. To help Michelle heal, she needed counseling, so we arranged counseling sessions for her and her parents.
With gentle guidance from our expert staff at the Child Advocacy Center, Michelle could finally talk to her parents about what happened and about how she felt. Her parents finally understood why Michelle had been "acting out." More importantly, their understanding helped them comfort Michelle and to give her the support she urgently needed from her family.
During one counseling session, Michelle began to write again. Michelle had learned that her words had a voice, and she could use them to create powerful connections to others. Best of all, with Safe Horizon’s help, Michelle had regained the strength and the confidence she needed to feel free to express herself again.