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Lawton groups holds seminar for sexual abuse

[Source KSWO] [Source KSWO]

LAWTON, OK (KSWO)-April is Sexual Assault Awareness month.

A local nonprofit organization Touching Lives Compassionately held an educational seminar on the issue at Great Plains Technology Center Saturday.


Their goal was to bring awareness and education to those who need help dealing with the sexual assault and how to report it.

"I have been sexually abused before,” Ikeah Chevalier, attendee of the event.

"I was about eight years old,” said Denise Alston, member of Touching Lives Compassionately. “Not a family member but someone close to the family. It's still something you deal with myself my whole life."

Chevalier and Alston both said on Saturday they faced the reality of dealing with being sexually abused.

Even though the abuse happened at a young age, Alston compared being a victim of sexual abuse to having PTSD.

"If you haven't experienced that you really wouldn't know what someone is going through in their mind or what's going on in their heart,” said Alston. “So, it's a continuous process a healing process."

Law enforcement like Lawton Police Department's Sergeant Marcus Rucker was also at the seminar.

He said sexual abuse is an issue that more youth are facing daily and encouraged parents to watch for signs in their children.

"Any type of isolation, withdrawal, depression type deal or any odd behavior that's not normal. A parent will know their child's behavior,” said Rucker. “For instance, if a child has been doing something they haven't been doing in the past there may be a reason behind it."

He also offered tips to those who may be struggling with the issue now.

"Report, report, report,” said Rucker. “That can be a parent, a teacher a counselor, a police officer. Anyone of any type of adult figure, authoritative figure that you trust and report it to them. Get local law enforcement involved and let's get the issue resolved."

Alston said the event was her resolution.

"Being able to help with this event, to be able to share the story with other people is healing for me,” said Alston. “There was a time where I couldn't talk about it and say that it actually happened without busting into tears, or getting really shy or just moving away from the conversation, changing the subject really fast but, now it's like the more that I talk about it empowers me."

Which is exactly the stage in the healing process Chevalier said is most important.

"Empowering you to and just keep going with your life,” said Chevalier. “It's so much more. I know it's sexual abuse but, it leads to suicide and all that other stuff. So, it's just talking to people and having someone else listen it's very helpful."


Touching Lives Compassionately holds the sexual awareness event each year.


For more information, you can visit them on Facebook.
 

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