Thomasville Times Enterprise

April 8, 2014

‘It’s OK to tell’

Patti Dozier

THOMASVILLE — A molestation victim who addressed the local National Crime Victims’ Rights Week Ceremony Tuesday realizes now that what happened to her was not because of something she did.

The issue was what someone did to her.

Gwen Williams, Thomas County victim advocate, met the molestation victim five years ago.

“She was a very scared little girl,” Williams told the gathering at the St. Thomas Episcopal Church parish hall.

The victim, then 15, told Williams she wished she could tell every child it is OK to tell.

Now 20, the victim told the group that for four years while her mother was at work, she was abused.

“I was afraid of my abuser,” she said, adding that she went along with her abuser for fear of being injured.

The abuse took place at the girl’s home, which should have been a refuge.

When the abuser was no longer in the home, the girl found the strength to tell her mother. The abuse was reported to law enforcement, and the girl met Williams and an assistant district attorney.

The teen received support, guidance and counseling.

Thousands of children are victims of sex crimes, she said, and many are afraid to tell.

“Many times the perpetrator tells them they will be in trouble if they tell,” the victim said.

Through tears, the young woman told the group she is a former victim. Now she is a survivor.

She emphasized that children must be told sit is OK to tell.

And, the young woman said, it must be ensured that the suspect is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

The victim’s abuser was convicted and is in prison serving a 25-year sentence and is on probation for remainder of his life.

Senior reporter Patti Dozier can be reached at (229) 226-2400, ext. 1820.