JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The numbers are alarming. Studies show in the US about 1 in 10 children will be sexually abused before they turn 18 years old. Here on the First Coast what started as a small church group to help council adults who were sexually abused as children, has grown into a national outreach.
A non-profit called ReClaim Global, Inc. is shooting a reality show. It features victims of child sexual abuse who have gone through what's called the Reclaim Program. It's founder Dr. Kaye Smith says one day she asked her pastor at the Church of Jacksonville if she could start a support group and it quickly grew.
Smith said, "20, then 40, then 100 and they just kept coming."
She says the response has been overwhelming. The group started inside the Church of Jacksonville back in 2007. She says by 2011 hundreds of people were crowding meeting rooms where she counseled. Things spilled out into the Jacksonville community, and now through the reality show.
"On the Couch with Dr. Kaye," she aims to go global.
"I want to shine a light in every community," said Smith. "Americans in the US should be scared for our children they are not safe anywhere."
Faith Joyner says she wasn't safe inside of her own home as a child, being sexually abused by her father from the age of 5 until she was 16.
"My biological mother knew of the abuse and didn't do anything to protect me," said Smith.
Through the ReClaim program Joyner says she's learned to protect others as a part of her healing process. Joyner as an adult decided to report her abuse to police. And her father is now serving time in prison.
"Because I was concerned about other children in my family, in our neighborhood I reported him," said Joyner. "I realized that forgiveness is not equal to the responsibility of holding accountable for his actions."
Dr. Smith says that's a big part of the program, making sure that perpetrators don't get away with the abuse and harm they've caused. So far Reclaim has helped victims expose over 400 perpetrators, and prosecute abusers in eleven states.
She says two networks are looking to pitch her reality show "On the Couch with Dr. Kaye."
First For You, if you or someone you know is a victim of sexual assault visit Rape Abuse and Incest National Network website. There you'll be able to find local counseling centers, hotlines and other helpful resources. Dr. Kaye says the biggest thing is to not remain silent about your abuse because your voice can help others.
First Coast News