AAYC draws community support at Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness rally

AAYC draws community support at Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness rally
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA

AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - According to the Amarillo Activity Youth Center director, one in 10 kids will be abused by the time they are age 18. It's national statistics like these that were shared at today's rally to give everyone a sense of what their initiative to end child abuse is all about.

Participants of the Child Abuse Prevention rally made perhaps the biggest statement this morning by releasing 100 balloons, each representing a victim who has reported their incident.

Among those participants was one survivor of child abuse, Elijah Garcia.

"When I was in foster care, when I was I want to say around six or seven, me and my three younger brothers and sisters were getting beat," he said. "They broke my arm and they fractured my sister's wrist. So yeah, this means a lot to me."

The AAYC director, Matt Hite, said many cases like Elijah's go unreported.

"Most kids don't report it so the numbers are actually a lot higher than that," he said.

Garcia said victims of child abuse should tell someone.

"Make sure you tell somebody about it," he said. "It's not right to go through it. No one's going to hold anything against you or anything like that. Don't wait until the next day. If you can, try to get away from there. Go to your neighbor's house, knock on the door, use the phone call the cops. That's the best thing to do."

He hopes people participate in Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness by speaking up when necessary.

"Asking questions to the kids, they could be going through abuse and you just don't know it," said Garcia. "No kid should go through this at all, it hurts. It's too young to go through, they'll be emotionally traumatized and it's something hard for everybody to go through, mostly kids."

Get the latest Amarillo news straight to your phone! Apple | Android

The neighborhood walk to spread awareness took participants to the Amarillo Chamber of Commerce building, where Hite briefly discussed the four types of child abuse: Sexual, Physical, Emotional, and Neglect.

He stressed that child abuse can and does exist in individual communities and it's the community's responsibility to look for signs.

"Watch for it. If they're around kids or around other adults, watch for it," said Hite. "Talk about it if they see something. Or if they were abused. A lot of people who have been abused have never stepped forward. Let people know hey this is what happened to me and get help for yourself as well."

Donations were accepted today to help fund the center and help them continue to provide a safe environment for Amarillo youth.

If you missed today's rally and would like to support the center, click here.

Copyright 2018 KFDA. All rights reserved.