By Michael Abeyta
DENVER (CBS4)– Kim Creger teaches adults about sexual abuse. It’s a cause that means a lot to her. She is a survivor of sexual abuse and assault.
“My abuse started when I was five years old from neighborhood children and it just escalated throughout the years,” she explains.
She says she didn’t tell anyone for many years, “I think I felt ashamed and I felt like there was really no one around that I could talk to.”
University of Colorado Boulder professor Lorraine Bayard de Volo says that is typically why victims often don’t speak up for many years.
“The survivor kind of internalizes the blame rather than directing it toward the person who has attacked them,” said Bayard de Volo.
Kim was tired of being silent and decided she wanted to help end sexual abuse, “I just felt like I needed to be an advocate.”
She became an instructor for Stewards of Children educating adults about how to spot the signs of sexual abuse and how to talk to kids about it. So they don’t feel like they have to stay silent the way she did.
“I think a lot of time we just don’t have the skills,” said Kim.
She says to look out for signs like depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, nightmares, bed wetting and trouble in school. If you suspect sexual abuse is happening, have a conversation with the child.
“Ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask your kids what’s going on.”
Bayard de Volo adds to make sure not to imply that the victim is to blame, “It’s more in the line of being a person who’s listening to their story and hearing it.”
Kim knows there is long way to go, but she believes, she is doing what she can to end child sexual abuse for good, “Our goal is to help people understand how this starts so that we can stop it.”
LINK: Stewards of Children
If you or someone you know is a victim of sexual assault and would like help, contact one of the following organizations:
The Blue Bench (Formerly RAAP)*
Toll Free for Lincoln and Elbert Counties: 1-888-394-8044
Located in Denver. Counties served include: Denver, Jefferson, Douglas, Adams, Araphaoe, Elbert, Broomfield, Gilpin and Lincoln.
Moving to End Sexual Assault (MESA)*
Located in Boulder. Counties served include: Boulder and Broomfield.
Pueblo Rape Crisis Services, Inc.*
Located in Pueblo and serves Pueblo County.
Sexual Assault Response Advocates (SARA) Inc.*
Fort Morgan (serves Morgan, Logan, Washington, Yuma, Phillips, Sedgwick, and Kit Carson Counties)
Toll Free: 1-855-440-SARA (7272)
*Rape crisis center and child advocacy center
Sexual Assault Services Organization (SASO)*
Located in Durango. Counties served include: La Plata, San Juan and Archuleta.
Sexual Assault Victim Advocate (SAVA) Center*
The SAVA center is located in Fort Collins & Greeley. Counties served include Larimer, Weld ; 8th and 19th Judicial Districts
Restoration Foundation for Victims
Mission is to enhance public awareness about rape and sexual assault in our communities.
*CCASA member agency