Standing up

Published 11:00 pm Monday, April 1, 2013

Community members joined Pike County leaders and the PRCA in a balloon release in recognition of Child Abuse Prevention Month.

Community members joined Pike County leaders and the PRCA in a balloon release in recognition of Child Abuse Prevention Month.

Pike County declares no tolerance for child abuse

The statistics are startling. There were more than 150 cases of child abuse in the area served by the Pike Regional Child Advocacy Center last year. Then, there are those who didn’t come forward.

Monday afternoon, Pike County leaders and community members came together in recognition of Child Abuse Prevention Month and to pledge to help area children.

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“We are here because we care,” said District Attorney Tom Anderson. “We absolutely care about the children in this community, the children in this state and the children in this country.”

The CAC started as a small effort, but has grown to encompass the needs of four counties. The center offers support to families, forensic interviews, and a community clothing closet.

“The subject of child abuse is thought of as taboo,” said CAC Executive Director Camille Downing. “People don’t talk about it and they should.”

Community leaders, Troy Mayor Jason A. Reeves, Brundidge Mayor Jimmy Ramage, County Commissioner Robin Sullivan and Troy Councilwoman Dejerilyn King Henderson all attended a Proclamation Day on Monday to show their support of the center’s growing efforts.

Reeves took the podium to read a proclamation declaring April Child Abuse Prevention Month. Reeves noted when children are victims, it is a community problem.

“It truly does take us all,” Reeves said.

One group that has consistently helped with physical and financial support for the CAC is the Kappa Delta sorority on the campus of Troy University. At the event, they presented the center with a check for $12,000 from funds raised by the sorority.

Downing said it was support from people, such as the KDs, that make the center possible.

Throughout the month of April, the CAC will host Blue Fridays at Walgreens in Troy on April 5 and April 19 and Walgreens in Enterprise on April 12 and April 26 from 1 to 5 p.m. to raise money for the center.

And, on April 10, Downing and Assistant District Attorney Scherryl Harrison will speak at this month’s installment of the Female Factor luncheon at the Studio in downtown Troy. While those meetings are usually lighthearted, they are always geared toward information women need to know, which includes ways to protect themselves, their families, and each other.

“There are lots of things women need to know to be strong,” Harrison said. “We all need to know how to identify signs that may indicate something isn’t quite right.”

Harrison said knowledge helps women be “less of a victim and more of a victor.”

Karen Boyd with the House of Ruth, a program to help battered women, will join Downing and Harrison as guest speakers at the luncheon where the topic will be “You are not alone.”

“Our mission is to touch on all the factors that make us uniquely female,” said Karen Herring with Troy Regional Medical Center, sponsor of the Female Factor. “We started thinking that there are some people who we work with, that wee see in our daily lives, that may need to know what resources are out there. We just wanted to empower women to know that there are people here in our community and surrounding areas that can help.”

For more information on the Pike Regional Child Advocacy Center and how to support the center’s efforts, call (334) 670-0487. To RSVP for the Female Factor free luncheon on April 10, call (334) 670-5487 or email