Brains, beauty, and an amazing athlete, Emely is one of those girls that seems to live a charmed life. She swims, wrestles, plays water polo, and is an honor student. But of course, there is more to Emely’s story than meets the eye. When Emely was in 5th grade she gathered all her courage and told her mother that someone had molested her. Her mother contacted law enforcement and at the age of 10, Emely was ready to stand up to her abuser. Emely came to CALICO to explain the details of the abuse.
After visiting CALICO, Emely’s case went through the court system and the person who had been hurting her was sent to prison. Although there was legal justice, there was still a lot of healing that Emely needed to do. She found a wonderful counselor, who she is still in contact with to this day, and began to work through her experience. However, even with her abuser in jail, a great therapist, and loving family Emely was angry. She often asked, “why me?”
As a freshman in high school, she got involved with her school’s Young Life group and found the missing piece of her support system that she had been looking for. Emely began speaking about her experience as a child abuse survivor. First, she spoke to a small group of young women, then to 500 of her classmates, and most recently she spoke at CALICO’s One Child at a Time Benefit: Picnic in the Park. On that sunny afternoon, Emely’s brave words moved many in the crowd to tears and she received a standing ovation. Emely knows from experience the crushing feelings of isolation that sexual abuse can bring. By telling her story, she hopes to let other young people who have experienced child abuse know that they are not alone.
Emely said, “even if someone does something bad to you, that doesn’t define you. You may be angry for a while, but you can turn it into something else.” The man that abused Emely will get out of prison in 2017. Even though this makes her a bit nervous, she has a large group of family and friends who are in her corner. Emely said, “I know that I am a child of God, and that He will take care of me.”
Speaking out about what happened to her is not enough for Emely. In the fall she plans to attend college and ultimately become a police officer in a special victims unit! Everyone at CALICO is inspired by Emely’s perseverance, resiliency and her dedication to helping others. We are honored to have met her and to share her story with you.