Survivor becomes an advocate and brings awareness to child abuse

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1 in 5 children are abused before the age of 18.

Allie Graves, Miss Texas’ Outstanding Teen, and Advocate

(Big 2/Fox 24) – Allie Graves has made it her mission to bring awareness and end child abuse. In honor of April, Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month, Graves continues to share her story using the title of Miss Texas’ Outstanding Teen as a microphone to spark change.

Her story begins when she was three-months-old and her biological father abandoned Graves in a church. Thankfully, she was found and cared for by a loving family.

Shortly after, at 17-months old, a judge sent Graves to live with her biological Uncle and Aunt, and for the next four years, she faced abuse and neglect.

It was in August 2007 that she was reunited with her foster family which, turned into her forever home. Finally, she knew she was loved by her parents and three older brothers, who met her when she was a baby.

But the road to healing has not been an easy journey. Graves says she writes in a gratitude journal, shares her story, and encourages anyone suffering from trauma to talk with a counselor.

Graves has shared her experience becoming a beacon of hope for the thousands of children who are abused every day.

I absolutely believe…it is my responsibility to share my story and make a community aware of what it looks like to have a child who is being abused and how to prevent that because it’s an epidemic. It’s happening all around the world behind-closed-doors. We are seeing the impact it has on children years later after they don’t get help.”

Allie Graves, Miss Texas’ Outstanding Teen, and Advocate.

On June 28, 2009, at 7-years-old, the same day she was crowned Miss Texas’ Outstanding Teen 10-year later, she testified against her abuser, her Uncle. Graves is not the only child who has been abused by someone she knows. Stats show 98% of children are abused by someone they know, and 65% percent of those are abused by a family member. However, Graves has been on a mission encouraging others to fight for every child who deserves a happy and healthy childhood.

“Every child that has gone through what I’ve gone through, they are just one caring adult away from being a success story.”

Allie Graves, Miss Texas’ Outstanding Teen, and Advocate.

Graves says every child must have three trusted adults in their lives outside of their family and household that they can turn to for help, even knowing where those adults live could be vital. She also encourages every child to remember the number 911, if they need immediate assistance.

To learn more about signs of child abuse and advice for foster parents and children in the foster care system watch Allie Graves’ extended interview.

To learn more about the four most common types of child abuse and neglect, how to spot child abuse and more resources to seek help visit the CDC’s website.

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