KINSTON, NC (WNCT)- There were 27 child abuse victims in our state this past year. The Guardian Ad Litem organization has helped a number of people.
“Punched, slapped, thrown to the floor, beaten with broomsticks, I was burned, I was raped,” Lakesha Summer said.
For years Summers was abused by various family members. She continued to report it and someone how ended up in the Lenoir County Court system. She got involved in the Guardian Ad Litem program and met Angela.
Angela Stilley, Lakesha’s guardian said, “I knew that she could overcome what had happened to her, and I just had faith in her.”
Every child that participates in the program gets a guardian, a mentor, friend, and most importantly an advocate in court.
“Before our program existed cases would come to court, and judges wouldn’t get the full picture, they’d get a picture of what social services is recommending, what the parents want, but there was no one speaking just for the child, and this program speaks for these children,” court administrator Colleen Kosinski said.
That brings us back to Summers and Stilley. Summer says without Stilley’s helped she would be locked up. At 26 years-old Stilley isn’t locked up, she has four children and her whole life ahead of her.
If there Is one lesson summers wants you to take from her story it’s to speak up. She says if you are a victim of child abuse say something. More importantly, if you witness child abuse, report it.
April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. If you want information on how to volunteer click here