Former Miss America Shares Child Abuse Story to Kick-off Observance
A former Miss America is in Syracuse to help kick-off National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Marilyn Van Debur shared a personal message to stop the harm to children.
My name is Marilyn Van Debur, I’m a former Miss America…and I’m an incest survivor….
It was a four worded secret that she kept for 51 years.
My father started coming to my room when I was five and it didn’t stop until I was eighteen.
Now Van Debur’s hopeful that other victims of sexual abuse will come forward.
“It’s affected every single aspect of my life. For six years from 45 to 51 I had trouble dressing myself; I was unable to work; my body went into physical paralysis. Sleeping at night’s challenging for me…but the good news is I haven’t been in therapy for 22 years. You can come through this you can heal but you have to go through the process.”
In honor of this month, the McMahon/Ryan Child Advocacy Center is planting pinwheels around the community.
CHILD ABUSE PREVENTION MONTH ACTIVITIES
- Pinwheel Garden: Columbus Circle, April 2nd, 12:00 N.
- “April in Paris” fundraiser (tickets needed), Holiday Inn Liverpool, April 11.
- Celebrity Happy Hour to Benefit McMahon/Ryan with bartenders John DeFrancisco, Nick Pirro, Becky Palmer and others: Bull & Bear Pub April 24th, 5:30 – 7:00 p.m.
- YMCA Healthy Kids Days: North Area Family YMCA, April 26, 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.; East Area Family YMCA, April 27 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.; Southwest YMCA April 27, 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
- Multi-faith Prayer Service for Child Abuse Prevention Month: Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, April 30, 5:15 – 6:00 p.m.
Executive Director Linda Cleary says it symbolizes what one’s youth should be.
“It’s a national campaign called “Pinwheels for Prevention” and the pinwheels each represent a happy, healthy, carefree childhood. Every child deserves that and this is kind of a constant reminder for people, more of a happy reminder”
During the month of April, you can support the fight against child abuse by displaying a pinwheel for prevention or by wearing a blue ribbon, wristband or a blue hair extension. For more information on the center’s upcoming events, visit www.mcmahonryan.org.