Yesterday, I sat in a meeting for a wonderful organization called CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate), whose mission it is to give abused or neglected children a voice in court.
This was a funding allocation meeting, so some of the CASA Board members (of which I am one) and volunteers, who work directly with the children, were in attendance, advocating for the program. One of the volunteers began speaking about why she decided to become a volunteer, and she openly shared that she was a victim of child sexual abuse–and, after reporting it to a trusted adult, she was dismissed, never getting the voice that all children deserve. Therefore, as an adult, she is now choosing to use her voice to advocate on behalf of children who need it…because she can, and because she knows what a difference it can make.
As I sat there listening to her story, I felt a lump form in my throat and my eyes well up. The amount of compassion and empathy that I felt for this woman sitting in front of me was huge. Not only could I relate to her story, but I also felt the desire to, somehow, relieve her suffering and let her know how amazing and courageous she was for sharing that story. Continue reading