This soft-spoken Georgetown, Conception Bay native hid some dark secrets from her past for many years. It wasn’t until 2011 she began to tell the story of why she had to leave her home and family behind. Bev was a victim of child abuse. Although she is not specific on the type of child abuse she experienced as she talks with The Compass Nov. 1, she acknowledges that she speaks on all types, including sexual, physical and emotional abuse.
Bev is an entrepreneur and owns four businesses — three in St. Johns and one in Ottawa — under the Morvis Group of Companies banner. She also worked and lived for a period in Bay Roberts. She has also made a name for herself because of her involvement with introducing the issue of child abuse to the City of St. John’s and also around the province. As a survivor of child abuse, Bev tells The Compass, she decided enough was enough. “A light bulb went off,” she says. “People keep secrets (of child abuse) their whole lives. We are just hurting ourselves by not speaking out.” It was that moment Bev began her three-year journey of advocacy on behalf of child abuse victims, and sharing her story so those affected would know they were not alone. “It’s a life sentence,” she explains. “We suffer as our perpetrators are free. By showing others affected that I can do it, I can help them (realize) they can too.” The RCMP classifies child abuse as, “any form of physical, psychological, social, emotional or sexual maltreatment of a child whereby the survival, safety, self-esteem, growth and development of the child are endangered.” Bev is getting more comfortable with sharing her story, but says it will never be easy. As an advocate for child abuse, Bev has networked with people all over the world to share the message because she is passionate that someday the word can be widespread. She explains people do not speak out — even in today’s society — because of the repercussions it could cause, including being ousted to other family members, friends and members of the public. Other entrepreneurs, Bev continues, have confided in her about being victims of child abuse, but will not come forward because of the professional positions they hold, and the fear of how they would be viewed. She doesn’t see it that way. Rather, she believes sharing her story and going public will help the cause, not hinder it.
Miles for smiles
This past April, an event called Miles for Smiles kicked off at Bowring Park in St. John’s. Bev organized it. The event was not to raise money, she says, but rather to raise awareness. In fact, the entire event was run solely off company donations and contributions from Bev’s companies. With the co-operation of the City of St. John’s and the VOCM Cares foundation, the month of April was promoted as child abuse prevention month to coincide with the national awareness campaign of the same name. Hundreds of people showed up to the Miles for Smiles event in support of loved ones, and some even survivors themselves.
Newfoundland and Labrador Organization for Women Entrepreneurs (NLOWE) held a gala at the Sheraton Hotel in St. John’s Oct. 30. The event was to present female entrepreneurs with awards recognizing their success in business. Bev was one of the recipients. The NLOWE Community Impact award was awarded to Bev for her dedication to raising awareness of child abuse prevention and her self-motivated involvement to the cause. After seeing a short video of the winner — which can be seen herehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M00MSSGDBVc — the audience at the gala heard a heartfelt speech from Bev. “This award, I accept for all survivors,” she told the audience during the gala. “For all those that had their innocence stolen, for those who were raised being told — and you believing — you are not good enough (and) for those adults still struggling with those negative words as they have been cemented in our very foundation. I accept this for you.” A standing ovation followed her address.
Bev is currently transcribing her thoughts and experiences into a book. “I’m really putting myself out there,” she says. She even wrote a chapter on emotional abuse, which is something many people she has encountered brush off as a less important form of abuse. On top of the Miles for Smiles and her book, Bev also organized a support group for those who have lived through child abuse. The group is called Adult Survivors of Child Abuse (ASCA) where members meet to discuss their former experiences. Bev is very positive, and strives to one-day see a world with no child abuse. “Our society has come so far, but we still have a long way to go.”