Last summer, the director of our local Child Advocacy Center told me she thought I looked like I was a great dancer. She said, “You’re so tall, you must be amazing on the dance floor.” WHAT?!?! We were having a professional conversation at the time in her office, mind you, and somehow my dancing skills were being complimented. If she had ever seen me dance (or walk around for that matter) she would have known that I had no skills in that area whatsoever. None.
Little did I know but she was setting me up for a big invitation. She wanted ME to be a dancing ‘star’ in the Child Advocacy Center of East Alabama’s annual fundraiser, Dancing Stars of East Alabama. Dancing Stars of East Alabama is an annual dance competition in Auburn between 10 couples (one pro and one star). Even though I’m a child psychologist and NOT a dancer, there was no way I could say no to doing my part to raise money for this organization and the children that they serve.
You see, when I was a child there was no specific place that victims of child sexual abuse and their families could go to receive the support and the services that they so desperately needed. Fast forward to today and Child Advocacy Centers across our country unite the police, courts, physicians, therapists, and child protective services together as a team; a multi-disciplinary team that helps children and their families cope with the devastating realities of child sexual abuse.
Last year in my community, 329 children came to the Child Advocacy Center of East Alabama to tell their story of abuse and receive free therapy services. Unfortunately that number is only the tip of the iceberg. 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused by their 18th birthday. Many of them will wait years to disclose that they were abused and some will never tell their story. I knew I had to help, which meant I was going to have to dance! [Read more...]