Pledge to prevent child abuse today

Donate to FM 106.1’s Care-A-Van for Kids, benefitting the CAP Fund

Child abuse is the absolutely worst kind of abuse that can occur in this world, that is my opinion. Children can’t fight back, children can’t run for help, children can’t save themselves in the most desperate times.

I am the second oldest of 16 children. All of us in my family were, I mean ARE, victims of child abuse. Every one of us was in a foster home, every one of us has endured the pain and horror of facing a parent who chooses violence.

My family has endured one of the worst cases of abuse in the history of Wisconsin. I have witnessed my baby siblings beaten in front of me as young as 8 months old – I could do nothing. My hair was chopped off with a knife. I was locked outside nearly naked in the middle of winter and could do nothing but learn to survive the extreme temperatures with no clothes. I was forced to watch my siblings tied up to poles and beat naked.

It was a tortured life. It was physical and psychological terror. I have been scarred for life, and I lived through decades of war in my own home. Now I am 39 years old and I’m trying to keep this from happening to a child ever again.

Had my parents used the services that are funded by the Child Abuse Prevention Fund, maybe there wouldn’t be 16 children who are affected on a daily basis. It is a struggle every day. We watch each other, we want to break the chain of abuse and we won’t allow our children to live like we did. I live less than a mile away from my mother. I want to keep an eye on her so she doesn’t hurt anyone else.

You can help prevent child abuse by listening and donating to Care-A-Van for Kids, Thursday, Aug. 27, and Friday, Aug. 28, on FM 106.1. The CAP Fund raises money to fund valuable programs and the services to help parents like mine. Maybe my parents needed counseling, respite care or parenting classes. The CAP Fund helps fund these programs and saves the lives of children right here in our community.

Prevention is better than treatment. Had my 15 siblings and I had a life where abuse was prevented, then we would not live with the scars of abuse every day of our lives. You can be part of the solution. We can stop the senseless abuse of kids. What will you do today to help a child?

~ Jennifer Stephens, child abuse survivor, guest blogger

Please listen to my story during FM 106.1’s Care-A-Van for Kids. I’ll be on at 5:15 p.m. Friday, Aug. 28. And please pledge to prevent child abuse and neglect.

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