From App to Assault

She clicked “accept” on the request to connect.

On Thursday, he added her as a friend on the phone app, and by Saturday he convinced 12-year old Alexis to send him videos of her performing sexual acts. She felt a little uncomfortable, however, the profile photo looked like a cute, young boy and this app stated it was for teens – so why would she think otherwise?

On Monday, Alexis told her mom that she was going to an after-school club, but instead made plans to meet, who she thought was, a teenage boy who adored her. That’s when the man behind the app picked her up, took her to a parking lot, and sexually assaulted her.

Thankfully, someone passing by called and reported seeing a girl in a fogged up car with someone who “didn’t look like another kid.” Thankfully, the responding officer knew to call The Child Center and requested an emergency interview.

THE CHILD CENTER

Alexis’ mom received the call that every parent fears and never will be prepared to handle. She picked up her distressed daughter and drove directly to The Child Center.

“I wouldn’t have known what to say,” her mom recalls. “I wouldn’t have known to not let her shower or how to be there for her.”

As Alexis bravely sat with our forensic interviewer and facility dog to tell about the experience, her mom sat and talked with our trained Child & Family Advocate. Because of The Child Center’s existence, Alexis only had to share her experience one time. Because of The Child Center, Alexis’ mom had a safe place to break down, to ask questions, to get information for the medical exam, to find the next steps.

TODAY

Fast forward … the perpetrator was arrested, Alexis is in our therapy program and thriving, and her family has access to an advocate for the duration of the case. Most importantly, the whole process focused around reducing the trauma to Alexis and helping her heal.

“I probably would have never told anyone…” said Alexis.

If it wasn’t for a passerby who knew what to look for and what to do, Alexis could still be carrying this trauma alone and the perpetrator could still be out there.

If it wasn’t for the officer who knew the benefits of The Child Center, Alexis would likely have been questioned by multiple people, made to relive the trauma done to her over and over.

If it wasn’t for a community that believes in and supports The Child Center and their mission, we wouldn’t be able to offer counseling and continuing services to the family.

It takes a village. It takes me and you. It takes all of us.

*Names changed for confidentiality.