Let’s talk about child sexual abuse – Steve Bartlett (The Telegram)

Survivor encourages others to speak out, seek help

Bev Moore-Davis has lived what some might call a model adulthood. She’s raised a family, runs a high-end fashion shop on Water Street and has modelled, even winning a catwalk award during a competition in Florida a few years back. Her childhood, on the other hand, was a model for no one.

Moore-Davis describes it as “horrific.”

As a young girl, she was a victim of sexual, emotional and physical abuse. Her abusers have never been brought to justice. Three years ago, she had a chance encounter with someone from her childhood who was also victimized as a youth. Seeing how the childhood abuse was affecting him as an adult pressed Moore-Davis into action.

“I just decided right there and then that this is so wrong.”

She became an advocate.

“I feel like I’m one of the luckier ones; I survived and I’m living a decent life,” says the owner of the fashion boutique August and Lotta Stockholm.

“For all those people that are not, I’m driven to kind of help them.”

Moore-Davis established the province’s first chapter of Adult Survivors of Child Abuse (ASCA) and formed the Miles For Smiles Foundation. The latter is focused on making a difference — supporting adults who were abused as children, raising public awareness and, ultimately, preventing child abuse. There have been some successes. An Adult Survivors of Child Abuse peer-support group meets regularly in St. John’s.

Most major towns across the province now recognize April as Child Abuse Prevention Month. There have been two successful Miles For Smiles walks in St. John’s, and it appears the event will spread to other cities. And, last Friday, Moore-Davis and some peers were part of a group discussion with others with a  shared interest about a prevention plan.

“I’m really pleased with how it went,” she says.

She’s not naïve enough to think child abuse will disappear, but she firmly believes that’s something worth striving for.

“We need to have something, ideally, implemented in our schools. … Something that gives children more education, more on knowing this is wrong. A lot of times, things happen and little children will keep secrets of abuse forever, for their whole lives or until they learn the difference.”

Moore-Davis knows all about keeping secrets. She became a victim at age five and didn’t tell anyone until she was a grown-up.

“I often think about the Kids’ Help Line (ad) that’s on the milk carton, and even if that was on my kitchen table, I wouldn’t have done anything. So I often think, what would it have taken to make me tell somebody?”

Moore-Davis shared what happened with a handful of people as the decades passed. She didn’t realize that keeping her secret helped no one, including herself, until she ran into that person from her childhood. Now she’s determined to make a difference, to help those who have suffered, or are suffering, child abuse. What she’s trying to do is a model to which everyone should aspire. We need more people like her.

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