Child sexual abuse must be one of the most profoundly haunting nightmares in a person’s life.
In the past, victims of that particularly vicious sort of soul murder were told to keep quiet about their experience – and not just by their abusers, by well-meaning family members.
Secrets kept too long have a way of retaining their power.
In a personal act of healing, Springfield nativeKathy Picard has put herself at the front of the issue by speaking to children, by being a mentor, by helping to educate police officers.
Picard’s work hasn’t ended there.
She has taken what is likely her worst experience and become an advocate, helping to extend the criminal statute of limitations for child sexual abuse victims both in the criminal and civil arenas.
While the extension of the criminal statute of limitations in 2006 didn’t allow Picard to pursue her abuser through criminal channels, on the same day that the civil statute of limitations was extended, June 26, 2014, she filed a lawsuit against her stepfather in U.S. District Court.
Picard’s work — with adult survivors, with police officers, with children and for children — serves as a wakeup call to all those who would – like Picard’s own counselor – warn those in her situation to forget the abuse and move on.
Through her own strength and determination, Picard has found a way to heal and help others heal.
Congratulations to Kathy Picard, a deserving choice for the 2014 William Pynchon Award.