Local organizations work to spread information about Child Abuse Prevention Awareness Month

Posted at 3:24 PM, Apr 23, 2019

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Chances are you know a victim of child abuse. In fact, in Davidson County, 1 in 10 children have suffered abuse.

For survivors of child abuse, healing isn't just the destination, it's also a journey.

Sheena Steward says her scars were so deep, her mind repressed the memories.

"I can't tell you the exact age," said Sheena, "But I know it happened sometime between the age of 6 to 12 years old."

Sheena was sexually abused as a child by a family member.

This is far more common than many people know with 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys experiencing sexual abuse by the time they turn 18.

Dr. Shree Walker put her hurt in her book, Resilient Walker. She was abused by her stepfather, female neighbor and inappropriately touched by her grandfather.

"Understanding that we all struggle with something some kind of issue, vice," said Dr. Walker. "By offering my forgiveness, it allowed me the power to live."

April is Child Abuse Prevention Awareness Month and organizers like the Sexual Assault Centerwork with the community to bring light to this issue.

The Sexual Assault Center is encouraging parents to have honest conversations with their kids and to look for any signs of abuse.

"Don't be afraid to call your body parts by their proper name," said Mary Beth Heaney-Garate, Vice President of Programs at the Sexual Assault Center.

Signs of abuse include behavioral changes such as eating, sleeping or getting easily distracted.

For those dealing with pain, Dr. Walker says there are several ways to take steps towards healing. They include going to therapy, journaling, and exercising.

Steward said blogging helps her. You can read her blog here.