SAPD, BCSO team up to combat Child Abuse during prevention month
SAN ANTONIO, TX – Abuse to one child is too many. That’s the message from Wednesday morning’s Blue Breakfast hosted by St. Jude’s Ranch for Children to raise awareness for Child Abuse Prevention Month this April.
Area leaders and law enforcement attended and acted as the voice for the many neglected and abused children across the county.
San Antonio Police Department Chief William McManus and Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar were some of those speaking at the Blue Breakfast.
Salazar said they can’t just arrest the problem away. The root of the solution lies within educating the community.
“Educating the public on what their responsibility is as far as notifying authorities if they see abuse,” Salazar said. “Letting neighbors know it’s not just OK but many times you are legally bound to report abuse if you see it.”
Organizers with St. Jude’s Ranch for Children, a refuge for hundreds of abused children, said there are other ways you can do your part.
Tara Roussett, CEO of SJRC, said they are in need of foster families, financial support and mentors. They need people who are willing to connect with children.
Fort Hood leaders and community members gathered for the 2018 Fort Hood Child Abuse Prevention Month and Month of the Military Child proclamation signing ceremony at the III Corps Headquarters Tuesday.
The ceremony honored military children, raised awareness of child abuse and its long-term effects and recognized military and civilian leaders who contribute to child safety.
“We want to celebrate our military children and celebrate the necessity for their safety and well-being,” Billy Floyd, Fort Hood Family Advocacy program manager, said. “We want to make sure that the community does not forget that all children deserve the right to be safe and to be protected.”
Organizations that prioritize child safety such as law enforcement units, Child Protective Services, Communities in Schools and counsel personnel attended the event.
Floyd pointed out that sometimes parents argue and don’t consider the serious effects it could have on children.
“We have to be cautious of that and model how to manage conflict,” Floyd said. “How to agree to disagree. We all have stressors, but how do you manage your situation so that no one is in harm’s way? That is the biggest key.”
Mayuana Hutt, the guest speaker for the event, experienced the effects of living in a home with domestic abuse, first hand.
“I was born to two young individuals that were in a long on-going volatile relationship,” Hutt said. “Most children’s earliest moments don’t involve high-speed chases on the highway or violent late night encounters, but for me, these are the memories I have of my parents.”
Hutt revealed to the crowd of approximately 100 attendees that she still remembers the night when her father would hold a knife to her mother’s throat and held her mother at gunpoint for long periods of time.
“Individuals in chaotic situations don’t always think of how the situation affects their child,” Hutt said. “I can still picture those days like they were yesterday.”
Hutt’s mother, Drenda Williams stood on the side lines to support her daughter through the difficult speech.
“I didn’t know that being a survivor, how much it affected her until we actually talked about it,” Williams said. “It kind of made me take a step back and see how my actions affected her and make sure that she has healed from that situation as well.”
Fort Hood police officer Lt. Andrew Samarripa beelined toward Hutt after the ceremony to commend her for her courageous speech.
“The main thing is that a lot of my law enforcement career I have been really focused on the community and the preventive aspects of things,” Samarripa said. “But to see an individual such as her, to be able to come and speak to what the victims see and how they process … it is really courageous on her behalf.”
At the end of the ceremony, grade school children from on-post schools gathered around III Corps and Fort Hood Deputy Commander Maj. Gen. JT Thomson as he signed the proclamation to stomp out child abuse.
Two horse cavalrymen attended the event in full regalia and boots as the crowd joined in with the children beating their feet against the ground to ‘stomp out’ child abuse.
“I ask that everyone involved, whether military or civilian, unite collaboratively as we continue to lay the foundation in which all children can be raised in caring relationships free of fear and free of abuse,” Thomson said. “Demonstrate our commitment as we pledge our continued support towards resilient Families.”