This is a word I did not fully understand until I started my work with sexually abused children. Who could be braver than a child who has to tell their story to a stranger, in a new place, when they know what happened to them was bad, but maybe they were threatened. When they have to use words that most adults are uncomfortable saying. (I am 39 years old and I still don’t like to say the word vagina). Our children have shame, they hurt and they are scared. And the first step in the healing process is telling their story. Telling the truth. And that can be really hard.
Our kids, the ones who walk into the Center, have to explain something they do not even fully understand. They may have to tell a secret they were told not to tell. They may be asked really hard questions about someone they love. They may have to sit on the witness stand and face their abuser and say exactly what happened to them. They have to answer the questions of a defense attorney. They sit there, alone, facing the court and sitting underneath a judge and have to tell all of the bad, sad and scary things. That is brave.
When a child tells their story, you can visibly see something change in them. They walk a little taller. Their eyes shift from the ground to your face. There is a smile. This is bravery in action. I imagine you see it when a child has their first cancer treatment, or sits stoically in the front pew at a parent’s funeral. Kids have to be brave without the wisdom of life experience. They have to be brave because they can only trust the people surrounding them. They really don’t know it’s going to be alright. They don’t get to make their own choices. They have to trust, and fall into the depths of their healing without understanding any of the assurances given to them. And because of that, they are brave. They are braver than me. They are braver than many of us. And because of this, they skip into our office with a smile on their face.
We want to honor those brave children. And I think you do. Check out this link https://www.bravelets.com/bravepage/children-s-assessment-center and order a bracelet, scarf, necklace or earing bearing the message “Brave”. Our center gets $10 of each sale and we want to use this to purchase “Bravelets” for the kids who we serve. The kids who show us what bravery really is. The kids who were brave before they met us, and will be brave every day from here on out.
And be brave on behalf of our children…Follow the Children’s Assessment Center on Facebook and/or Twitter to see what we are all about. Watch Spotlight. Listen to Lady Gaga’s song “Till it happens to you”. Come on a “Walk in our Shoes” tour at the center to see how a child who has been sexually abused is served.