Joseph is a big name for a little boy. As a little boy, he didn’t have much autonomy over his life. He was subject to the life his parents chose for themselves, and in turn, chose for him. Joseph’s parents worked hard and also partied hard. They were gone from home a lot. He wasn’t left alone – he had a babysitter, he had a home to keep him warm, he had food to fill his little tummy, he had more than just the basic necessities, but the one thing he did not have, that he yearned for, was being safe from harm.
Joseph’s eyes welled up with tears every time his uncle came over to babysit. He tried to hide when he realized his parents were going out again. The uncle reassured Joseph’s parents that his tears dried up shortly after they left, and that he was always fine. But Joseph’s uncle was the source of his fear, the source of the harm he suffered.
Joseph’s uncle was sexually abusing him and threatening him with physical harm if he told anyone. His uncle convinced Joseph that the abuse was all his fault and that his parents would be disgusted with their son if he told them, that they would not want him anymore if they knew how “bad” he was. Joseph felt unloved, he was so confused, he lived in constant fear of his uncle, and for a such a little boy, he felt incredibly desperate.
His desperation, his hurt and pain, led to the night when his parents were out yet again. His uncle fell asleep on the sofa after a few too many beers, and Joseph just walked out the door and started down the street going nowhere.
It was 11:30 on a Tuesday night and a 5 year old walking alone on Drake Avenue wasn’t what Officer Davis expected to see. Joseph tried to run and hide behind a shed, but the police officer was kind and patient with the young child. Finally, Joseph collapsed in tears and exhaustion and shared a little about why he ran away from home. Within hours, Joseph arrived at the National Children’s Advocacy Center, wrapped in a blanket and clutching his stuffed doggie.
Joseph had a big story to tell, one that isn’t uncommon to children not just in our community, but in our region, our state, our nation, our world. The support, the love, the care, and the healing that Joseph received in the days and months following that night are because of you. Joseph received a forensic interview, medical care, age-appropriate therapy, and finally, a safe haven to live and be loved as every little boy should be. His uncle has been arrested and is awaiting trial, and his parents are now attending parenting classes at the NCAC, while also participating in Joseph’s therapy and being better parents.
With your help, all of the services, resources, and safety are provided free of charge for children in our community who have experienced sexual or physical abuse and exposure to extreme trauma, including neglect. Joseph may have healed but other children exactly like him are standing in his shadow, waiting for you, for your support, for your help.
Will you support a child just like Joseph with the gift of healing? A gift of just $150 pays for an hour of therapy for a child, $250 pays for medical care, and every gift provides hope.