Organization aids abused children, offers support

Thursday, July 31st 2008, 8:31 pm
By: News 9

By Melissa Maynarich, NEWS 9

NORMAN, Okla. -- For many parents, it's uncomfortable to talk about sex and children. An organization in Norman aids children in the healing process who have been sexually abused.

Eighteen-year-old Kalla Jones is one of the members of the organization, Bethesda.

"I was sexually abused by my softball coach," Jones said. "She became a person I never thought she would be."

The coach is now serving time in prison after being convicted of sexual abuse.

"I was just torn apart. I didn't know what to think," Jones said. "I didn't know how to react with friends. I was just devastated. I was hurt, a lot."

The teen was silent for an entire year. She didn't tell friends, family or teammates.

"This is just one night I will never forget," Jones said. "Laying there sleeping on and off and finally, early in the morning, I just woke up crying, ran straight to my grandma's room and she held me and I told her everything."

After the court case and the conviction, Jones visited Bethesda to help in her healing process.

Bethesda is an outpatient counseling center specializing in therapy for sexually abused children and their non-offending caregivers.

Kay Christiansen, the executive director of the center, said the children need a helping hand in the healing process.

"Without some sort of professional intervention, a child who has been sexually abused will not heal by himself or herself," Christiansen said. "It will come out in some form, in some point in her life adversely."

One in six boys and one in four girls are sexually abused, and the statistics for children in Oklahoma are high compared to the statistics in other states.

"Unfortunately, it happens every day," Christiansen said. "In 2005, there were over 1,700 cases of confirmed sexual abuse of children in Oklahoma."

Art and music therapy, counseling, and lessons about boundaries have helped the children in their recovery.

"I'm a stronger person," Jones said. "I became to believe in God a lot. I've learned to lean on Him more than anything and let Him put me through stuff."

Jones, now graduated from high school, plans to play softball in college.

"Just because I was abused during softball, it shouldn't stop my dreams for something that someone wanted to destroy," Jones said.

Jones said she'll live with her past forever, but she's also equipped emotionally to look forward to a bright future.

A summer style show and silent auction will be held Saturday at the St. Stephen's United Methodist Church in Norman.

All money raised will go to Bethesda.

For more information on the auction, call (405) 364-0333.