by Morinville News Staff

A Wednesday press conference at Edmonton’s Gold Bar Elementary School unveiled a story of survival and becoming an inner-hero. Little Warriors, a national organization committed to the prevention and treatment of child sexual abuse, launched their new awareness campaign, one that contrasts the nightmare of child sexual abuse against the support and healing offered by the Be Brave Ranch.

The ranch, which opened Sept. 27, 2014, offers abused children more than 200 hours of multiple therapies to help them grow into healthy adults.

Progress displayed by the ranch’s first graduates was the inspiration for the new ad campaign, which Little Warriors say demonstrates how child sexual abuse survivors can find the courage to conquer their fears. The campaign offers the opportunity for survivors to come forward and tell how they overcame their abuse to reveal their inner heroes.

“Every survivor of child sexual abuse has a story,” said Glori Meldrum, founder, and chair of Little Warriors, in a release Wednesday. “We wanted this campaign to reflect these stories, to draw on the familiar feelings that so many survivors experience. But more than that, we wanted to remind everyone that we can be our own heroes. There are other chapters to these stories — ones that are filled with empowerment, support, and healing. And that’s what the Be Brave Ranch offers.”

The organization is inviting child sexual abuse survivors to share how they conquered their fears.

Morinville resident Brandi Robison, who has been active in the organization and getting support for the ranch, said she believed the campaign was opening a much-needed conversation, one that is long overdue.

“Survivors that speak of their abuses learn to take their power back,” she said. “They learn that they are in control, and they don’t have to live in fear. It’s an amazing and empowering thing to do so. So many of us were threatened to not tell [and] to keep their secret. We were blamed, told it was our fault. By participating in this campaign, it opens the pathway to healing [and] to letting others know they are not alone.”

Robinson went on to say there is a large population of survivors still paralyzed by fear and in the developmental age of their abuse emotionally.

“By speaking out and telling their story, they are taking back that time in their lives and rejecting the shame and emerging from the grief,” she said. “It’s a very powerful step.”

Robison is encouraging all to participate, in some way by speaking their truths out loud.

“If you can’t do it publicly, videos or stories can be told anonymously,” she said. At the very least, find a counsellor you can tell it to. The important part is to tell that secret, support others to tell their [stories] and raise awareness.”

Robison is also encouraging people to consider making a donation to Little Warriors to help the organization heal children.

“My daughter got to participate in this healing they offer at the Be Brave Ranch,” she said. “Making a donation will heal kids like myself who never had the chance I was able to give my daughter to heal and resume being a kid within her lifetime.”

The campaign is online at www.bebraveranch.littlewarriors.ca/reveal-your-inner-hero.

For general information on the organizations, visit www.littlewarriors.ca.

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Editor’s note: Our story was updated Thursday morning to include added information and quotes from a Morinville resident who is active in the organization.

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