Jasmine is an 11-year-old child who came to our CAC after she talked to her teacher at school about "not feeling good" and "hurting." Note: Names and details have been changed to protect the identity of this child victim.
CAC Staff Make Jasmine Feel Comfortable
When Jasmine's comments to her teacher indicated possible sexual abuse, the teacher reported the incident to the Florida Child Abuse Hotline. Jasmine was brought to the CAC by a member of Law Enforcement and a Department of Children and Families Caseworker. She was very quiet and wouldn't speak to anyone at first. One of our Forensic Interviewers spent a lot of time sitting on the floor in the lobby playing with Jasmine before asking her if she would come back to the interview room to talk.
Jasmine Tells her Story
Jasmine finally felt comfortable enough to talk and grabbed the interviewers hand and walked to the interview room with her head hanging low. The interviewer began to ask questions and Jasmine was finally able to disclose that she had been a victim of sexual abuse from her stepfather for a period of 2 years - and no one had believed her - not her sister, not her mother, not her grandmother. Following the interview, Jasmine walked down the hall and received a medical examination from the Nurse Practitioner. It was discovered that there was definite physical evidence of sexual abuse.
Jasmine is Relieved
When Jasmine walked out of the medical room, we were all rather surprised by the huge smile on her face. She walked over to one of the staff and held up 3 fingers. "Do you see this?" she said, "This is how many people FINALLY believe me." She proceeded to name the 3 staff members she had spoken to at our Center.
"This Place Believes Kids"
The end of this story is that Jasmine's stepfather was arrested and prosecuted. He received a sentence of 20 years in prison. When Jasmine heard what the sentence was, she said, "He's going to jail because this is a place that believes kids."