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Letter: Education key to preventing, stopping child abuse

See this letter on the telegram.com click here

I am saddened to read the news of the system, and society, failing yet another child, and consequently enabling the abuse to continue.

The specifics may be different, but not the story. I hear this regularly through the ASCA (Adult Survivors of Child Abuse) peer support group in St John’s. History has and continues to repeat itself, over and over.

The decision-makers need to look at the recommendations coming from the Child and Youth Care Advocate’s Office, during past investigations.

Trained professionals could have better diagnosed this situation and if these frontline professionals are not trained, we have to ask why.

The fact that a 12-year-old child was pregnant was a huge red flag. Many questions should have been asked, while bearing in mind that a scared child will say whatever they are told to say. A trained professional would recognize the signs and would know the questions to be asked, as well as how to ask these questions. They would also recognize the significance in talking to the child without the adult being present.

Families and communities need to share in the responsibility of protecting all children. These are the people that spend the most time with the victims and with the most potential to discover red flags. Sadly, we still often hear of people coming forward, after the damage has been done. If an adult suspects a child is being abused, they have a moral responsibility to speak up for the child; better to have been wrong than to allow the potential abuse to continue. The consequences have a far greater rippling effect on the community when there has been no intervention.

Equally important, children need be trained. With many parents and caregivers not comfortable talking about sex, it only makes sense for this training to be implemented in schools where no child can be left out. Children should know what constitutes sexual abuse; they should know that it is wrong and inappropriate. They should know the protocol and that there’s a safe system of support people wanting to help them.

Education is essential on every level — starting with the children and going all the way to the decision-makers — if we are ever to prevent child sexual abuse.

 

Bev Moore Davis
Miles For Smiles Foundation

Miles For Smiles Survivor’s Walk

The Miles For Smiles Survivor’s walk is a 4 km walk for child abuse survivors.  The walk represents life after abuse as we realize we are stronger together, we are never alone and we ARE survivors – in every sense of the word.

We invite survivors along with friends, parents, siblings, children, colleges or anyone that has been affected by child abuse to join us as we walk to show there is life after abuse.

Bev Moore Davis is a local child abuse prevention advocate and founder of the Miles For Smiles Foundation. The walk will take place in Georgetown and Marysvale – approximately 45 minutes west of St John’s – and will bring us back to the community where Bev ran away from home at 17 years of age.

 

Walk Details:

Sunday, July 9th, 2017

1pm – Registration at the Marysvale Ballfield (Or Marysvale Community Centre if weather is unfavorable)

Live Entertainment and Face Painting

2pm – Opening Ceremonies

2:30 pm – Ribbon Cutting and 4 km Survivors Walk around Long Pond

3:30-5:30pm – Live Entertainment

BBQ

Entertainment for the kids including Zorb Balls, Bouncy Castles provided by Frontline Action

Blue Balloon Chain in support of local survivors

*Unfavorable weather does not stop child abuse, and on July 9th it will not stop us.

 

How childhood trauma can have a life-long impact on health

A history of childhood trauma can affect the mental health of adults.

But what is less well-recognized, even by doctors, is the link to physical health.

Childhood trauma raises the risk of everything from diabetes to lung cancer to heart disease. Those who endured a high level of trauma in their youth have an average life expectancy 20 years lower than those who didn’t.

The risk factors are leading some doctors to suggest that, along with standard questions about medical history, health-care practitioners should routinely ask patients about what they may have lived through as children.

Surveys have shown that nearly a third of Canadians suffered abuse or neglect in their youth.

Dr. Robert Maunder, a psychiatrist at Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital as well as the co-author of Love, Fear, and Health: How our Attachments to Others Shape Health and Health Care, says that just scratches the surface.

“It actually goes beyond abuse and neglect to other kinds of adversity that kids experience,” Dr. Maunder tells The Current‘s Anna Maria Tremonti.

“[It can be] having a parent with a mental illness, having a parent with addiction, witnessing violence in the family.”

Dr. Maunder describes a “double whammy” in terms of the ongoing effects of trauma on health.

“On the one hand it puts you at risk of becoming ill, but once you’re ill and once you’re in the hospital, it complicates health care,” he says.

Dr. Maunder gives an example of a woman with Crohn’s disease who refuses a colonoscopy needed to develop her treatment plan. A doctor who knows her history of childhood sexual abuse would know that this type of test would be a trigger for her — and be able to suggest alternative tests. A doctor who hasn’t asked about any childhood trauma might just see her as a difficult patient.

“And then the relationship becomes poisoned with mistrust,” says Dr. Maunder.

Dr. Maunder has worked with Mount Sinai hospital in Toronto to incorporate this strategy into how their emergency room treats “difficult patients” — patients who are in the ER frequently and whose problems are difficult to solve.

Dr. Howard Ovens is the chief medical strategy officer for the Sinai Health System, and until April of this year, he was the chief of emergency medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital.

“People who have chaotic lives have trouble following through in maintaining relationships, keeping appointments,” he explains.

“And the emergency department is open 24 hours a day every day.”

Now, these patients are seen in the ER by members of the psychiatric team linked to the childhood trauma project, who then work on building a relationship with them — and building an individual comprehensive care plan for all health-care staff to use.

The new care model helps not only the patients, but the health-care practitioners at the hospital as well.

Dr. Ovens says it supports the staff who find many of these people “very upsetting, challenging.”

“It’s a source of burnout for a lot of our staff. But if they feel that they are supported, that we’ve given them some direction and will stand behind them in employing a particular approach, it really makes them feel like they’re part of a team,” he says.

“It has been a very important morale booster for the staff.”

This segment was produced by The Current’s Sujata Berry and Willow Smit

 

Miles For Smiles Celebrates growth in Community Walks.

2017 brought another successful Miles For Smiles Walk in St. John’s and in addition this year walks were held in the following communities:

New: Marsystown – Organized by Conetta Wakely and Wally Pittman

Halifax – 2nd year, organized by Cathy McDonald

St. John’s – 5th Annual Event organized by Bev Moore Davis

New: Gander – Organized by Debbie Ryan

New: Standish, Maine – organized by Vickie Morgan and Tracey Gurney

Christopher Reeves

September 25, 1952 – October 10, 2004

He once played a man who could fly. Christopher Reeve demonstrated a rare ability that exceeds the speed of flight. Christopher learned to live outside his body in a way that few people have the strength or courage to do.

All of us are, in some ways, prisoners in life — some by limited thinking, others by physical limitation. But rarely has a man demonstrated such a wonderful ability to face limitation, to cry for all that it robbed him of, and then step beyond it into a life that knows no limitation.

Name: Christopher Reeve

Born: September 25, 1952 in New York, New York

Home: Westchester County, N.Y.

As a Role Model: Known the world over as Superman, Christopher Reeve served as a symbol of strength, the force of good, with the ability to fly and soar over the problems of man. He was strength and mobility personified to people throughout the world. Thus, it came as a shock when Christopher Reeve fell from his horse during a riding show accident, and landed on his head. The fall broke his spinal cord and paralyzed him from the neck down.

In the face of enormous frustration, Reeve held up as an example of courage in the face of enormous frustration. Although he was not able to move from the waist down, Reeve continued to travel, do public appearances, and serve as a voice for the paralyzed in the United States.

Christopher made numerous public appearances around the US after his accident. He was a proponent for medical research to help quadriplegics. He gave the commencement speech at Boston University in May, 1997 and urged the medical graduates to “show us the cures.” Reeve was unable to move his limbs and was confined to a wheelchair that he operated by sipping or puffing on a straw. Reeve continued to fight with incredible strength of will and optimism–and remained convinced that he would walk again.

The former Superman admitted that he cried every day dealing with the reality of being in a wheelchair. “In the morning, I need twenty minutes to cry,” he said. “To wake up and make that shift, you know, and to just say, “This really sucks”…to really allow yourself the feeling of loss…still needs to be acknowledged.”

But after his long, hard cry each day, he would tell himself, “And now, forward!”

Christopher Reeve has been an example to us all, that you keep on going in spite of limitations.

Despite his paralysis, Reeve directed the HBO film In The Gloaming. It starred Glenn Close, Bridget Fonda, and Whoopi Goldberg.

The film stars Robert Sean Leonard who plays the part of a young man with AIDS who comes home to die. He is cared for by his mother who is played by Glenn Close.

In April, 1997 Reeve was honored with his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The week before this in April, Christopher Reeve broke his arm and had surgery, but he still managed to attend the premiere of his directing debut. He was working out on an exercise bike and as he was being transferred from the bike to his wheelchair, the people who lift him got out of sync. Christopher fell over on his side and his arm snapped like a match stick. It was repaired with a titanium rod that was inserted into his arm.

Even though he felt a little “feeble” he went on with the premiere. He was grateful to be in the company of other directors who were welcoming him into the fraternity of directors. Christopher said: “I’m starting a new chapter in my life, and you have no idea how much that means.”

While under great handicap from his paralysis, Christopher Reeve continued to travel and do outreach work. He joined Cal Ripken, Jr. as a featured speaker at a motivational conference in Washington D.C. He went to the New School in Manhattan to give a speech to students. While doing so his body went into crazy spasms. While being attended to he joked, “Sorry. One second, guys. I’ll be right with you…. Now, where were we?”

The former Superman was given the National Courage Award at the Minnesota Courage Center. He also joined his good friend Robin Williams at a fund-raising dinner to benefit victims of spinal cord injuries.

Biggest Goal and Wish: Reeve said he had one wish, and that was to hug his son, Will. “That’s what he’s entitled to,” Reeve said. “And I believe that day is coming.”

Early Beginnings: As a boy, Christopher Reeve studied piano and voice, worked as an assistant orchestra conductor, and made his acting debut with a Princeton, New Jersey theater company at age nine.

College Education: Graduated from Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y. Studied drama at the Juilliard School in New York where he roomed with comedian Robin Williams. Performed his Master’s degree performances at London’s Old Vic and a t the Comedie Francaise in Paris.

Early Acting History: Played in a TV soap opera, Love of Life, and played on Broadway in A Matter of Gravity opposite Kathryn Hepburn.

Most Famous Role: Reeve was chosen from a pool of more than two hundred actors to play Superman. His looks, his fitness and physique and charming humility breathed life into the comic book hero. The great success of Superman meant three very popular sequels. While Christopher appeared in other films, it is his role as Superman that made him famous.

Other Interests: Reeve has done documentaries and a TV special about aviation and sailing, which are two of his life passions. He also has been a passionate spokesperson for the arts and helped to found the Creative Coalition, a non-partisan advocacy group of artists including Ron Silver, Glenn Close, Blair Brown, and Susan Sarandon — who concern themselves with the environment, homelessness and the protection of the National Endowment for the Arts.

Christopher Reeve’s Family: Wife: Dana Morosini, Son: William (with Dana). He has two other children, Matthew and Alexandra, (from his relationship with Gae Exton.)

Christopher Reeve believes that there is a cosmic purpose to his accident and he was very successful in his efforts to lobby in Washington for increased funding for spinal cord research. He wass trying to help other people with the same type of paralysis. Christopher Reeve was an example to us all.

Closing Quote from Christopher Reeve: “When the first Superman movie came out I was frequently asked ‘What is a hero?’ I remember the glib response I repeated so many times. My answer was that a hero is someone who commits a courageous action without considering the consequences–a soldier who crawls out of a foxhole to drag an injured buddy to safety. And I also meant individuals who are slightly larger than life: Houdini and Lindbergh, John Wayne, JFK, and Joe DiMaggio. Now my definition is completely different. I think a hero is an ordinary individual who finds strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.

Justice Canada Excellence in Victim Services Award Nomination

Bev Moore Davis of St John’s, NL, has been nominated for the Justice Canada Excellence in Victim Service Award. This award is a way for the Government of Canada to recognize an exceptional individual who has empowered victims and survivors of crime, inspired service providers, and achieved change that improves the experiences of Canadians who have been touched by crime.
A selection committee will assess the nominees against the eligibility criteria and will choose a recipient by consensus. The chosen recipient will be invited to attend the Victims and Survivors of Crime Week Federal Symposium on May 29th in Calgary, Alberta, to receive the award.

Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Training

The Miles For Smiles Foundation offers training in Child Sexual Abuse Prevention. Our Facilitators are trained through the Darkness to Light Stewards of Children Program.

Stewards of Children is an evidence-informed program that teaches adults how to prevent, recognize, and react responsibly to child sexual abuse. It is designed for both youth serving organization and for individuals concerned about the safety of children.

When presented in a group setting, Stewards of Children is led by a Darkness to Light Authorized Facilitator. Engaging and thought provoking, group led sessions include:
A two-part DVD presentation with commentary from sexual abuse survivors, experts in the field and concerned adults.
Facilitator-led discussions that emphasize the important issues in prevention within the community and organizations that serve children.
An interactive workbook facilitates discussion, reinforces key concepts, and serves as a resource and personal action plan for resolving child sexual abuse.

The cost of facilitated session varies based on location and Facilitator. Pricing discounts may apply, depending on organization size and number of people to be trained. Please contact us for more information.

milesforsmilesfoundation@gmail.com
709-746-9627