Soft­spo­ken woman sends loud mes­sage

Ad­vo­cate and sur­vivor of child abuse earns com­mu­nity im­pact award

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BYMELISSA JENK­INS

At 17 years old, Bev Moore-Davis ran away from home.

This soft-spo­ken Ge­orge­town, Con­cep­tion Bay na­tive hid some dark se­crets from her past for many years. It wasn’t un­til 2010 she be­gan to tell the story of why she had to leave her home and fam­ily be­hind. Bev was a vic­tim of child abuse. Al­though she is not spe­cific on the type of child abuse she ex­pe­ri­enced as she talks with The Com­pass Nov. 1, she ac­knowl­edges that she speaks on all types, in­clud­ing sex­ual, phys­i­cal and emo­tional abuse.

Ad­vo­cate

Bev is an en­tre­pre­neur and owns four busi­nesses — three in St. Johns and one in Ottawa — un­der the Morvis Group of Com­pa­nies ban­ner. She also worked and lived for a pe­riod in Bay Roberts.

She has also made a name for her­self be­cause of her in­volve­ment with in­tro­duc­ing the is­sue of child abuse to the City of St. John’s and also around the prov­ince.

As a sur­vivor of child abuse, Bev tells The Com­pass, she de­cided enough was enough.

“A light bulb went off,” she says. “Peo­ple keep se­crets (of child abuse) their whole lives. We are just hurt­ing our­selves by not speak­ing out.”

It was that mo­ment Bev be­gan her three-year jour­ney of ad­vo­cacy on be­half of child abuse vic­tims, and shar­ing her story so those af­fected would know they were not alone.

“It’s a life sen­tence,” she ex­plains. “We suf­fer as our per­pe­tra­tors are free. By show­ing oth­ers af­fected that I can do it, I can help them (re­al­ize) they can too.”

The RCMP clas­si­fies child abuse as, “any form of phys­i­cal, psy­cho­log­i­cal, so­cial, emo­tional or sex­ual mal­treat­ment of a child whereby the sur­vival, safety, self-es­teem, growth and de­vel­op­ment of the child are en­dan­gered.”

Bev is get­ting more com­fort­able with shar­ing her story, but says it will never be easy.

As an ad­vo­cate for child abuse, Bev has net­worked with peo­ple all over the world to share the mes­sage be­cause she is pas­sion­ate that some­day the word can be wide­spread.

She ex­plains peo­ple do not speak out — even in to­day’s so­ci­ety — be­cause of the reper­cus­sions it could cause, in­clud­ing be­ing ousted to other fam­ily mem­bers, friends and mem­bers of the pub­lic.

Other en­trepreneurs, Bev con­tin­ues, have con­fided in her about be­ing vic­tims of child abuse, but will not come for­ward be­cause of the pro­fes­sional po­si­tions they hold, and the fear of how they would be viewed.

She doesn’t see it that way. Rather, she be­lieves shar­ing her story and go­ing pub­lic will help the cause, not hin­der it.

This past April, an event called Mi les for Smiles kicked of f at Bowring Park in St. John’s. Bev or­ga­nized it. The event was not to raise money, she says, but rather to raise aware­ness.

In fact, the en­tire event was run solely off com­pany do­na­tions and con­tri­bu­tions from Bev’s com­pa­nies.

With the co-op­er­a­tion of the City of St. John’s and the VOCM Cares foun­da­tion, the month of April was pro­moted as child abuse preven­tion month to co­in­cide with the na­tional aware­ness cam­paign of the same name.

Hun­dreds of peo­ple showed up to the Miles for Smiles event in sup­port of loved ones, and some even sur­vivors them­selves. NLOWE ac­knowl­edg­ment New­found­land and Labrador Or­ga­ni­za­tion for Women En­trepreneurs (NLOWE) held a gala at the Sher­a­ton Ho­tel in St. John’s Oct. 30. The event was to present fe­male en­trepreneurs with awards rec­og­niz­ing their suc­cess in busi­ness. Bev was one of the re­cip­i­ents. The NLOWE Com­mu­nity Im­pact award was awarded to Bev for her ded­i­ca­tion to rais­ing aware­ness of child abuse preven­tion and her self­mo­ti­vated in­volve­ment to the cause.

Af­ter see­ing a short video of the win­ner — which can be seen here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v =M00MSSGDBVc — the au­di­ence at the gala heard a heart­felt speech from Bev.

“This award, I ac­cept for all sur­vivors,” she told the au­di­ence dur­ing the gala. “For all those that had their in­no­cence stolen, for those who were raised be­ing told — and you be­liev­ing — you are not good enough (and) for those adults still strug­gling with those neg­a­tive words as they have been ce­mented in our very foun­da­tion. I ac­cept this for you.”

A stand­ing ova­tion fol­lowed her ad­dress.

Con­tin­u­ous sup­port

Bev is cur­rently tran­scrib­ing her thoughts and ex­pe­ri­ences into a book.

“I’m re­ally putting my­self out there,” she says.

She even wrote a chap­ter on emo­tional abuse, which is some­thing many peo­ple she has en­coun­tered brush off as a less im­por­tant form of abuse.

On top of the Miles for Smiles and her book, Bev also or­ga­nized a sup­port group for those who have lived through child abuse. The group is called Adult Sur­vivors of Child Abuse (ASCA) where mem­bers meet to dis­cuss their for­mer ex­pe­ri­ences.

Bev is very pos­i­tive, and strives to one-day see a world with no child abuse.

“Our so­ci­ety has come so far, but we still have a long way to go.”

Sub­mit­ted photo

Bev Moore-Davis

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