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Muskogee neighbors mark abuse prevention month

Muskogee Mayor
Posted at 9:57 PM, Apr 11, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-12 11:47:50-04

TULSA, Okla. — In one of his first acts as Mayor, Patrick Cale of Muskogee declared April Abuse Prevention Month.

To mark the occasion, neighbors gathered at the town square to meet with resources from the community. Child abuse and sexual abuse are the points of focus.

Zachary, 7, attended the event, spending time with his mom, who adopted him two years ago.

"I love her, and she’s nice because she feeds me," Zachary said.

Zachary and his mom have a loving relationship, unfortunately, for thousands of kids across Oklahoma, they are not so lucky.

2 News reviewed data from the Department of Health and Human Services. It showed about 15,000 kids are mistreated each year in Oklahoma.

Forty years ago, when she was just 13, Keri Spencer lived that reality as a sexual abuse victim. Now, she started RISE, a program designed to heal and encourage.

"You actually are worthy. That you are actually lovable. That you’re not dirty, there’s not any shame," Spencer said, "Those are some of the healing things that I’ve had to do personally I’m 53 years old now and I still walk through some of that healing every day."

2 News also caught up with Kendra Russell, a domestic violence survivor. "I turned from a victim to a survivor, and now I consider myself a thriver," she said.

She got out of the situation on her own, but thinks the state could do a better job of getting resources like hers out front.

"It’s not talked about enough I feel," Russel said, "It’s just spreading the awareness is the biggest part of it.

She and her kids are thriving now. The past is behind her.

"I don’t really wanna be remembered for [the abuse]," Russell said, "But someone looking back and saying because of [my group], I was able to get out, because of the help and the dedication."

Victims, and those who suspect child abuse, can call the Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-CHILD

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