The road I have traveled is a road many others have also traveled, full of many twists, turns and major bumps along the way. It is a road many others cannot begin to understand.
My daughter and my son, who has Fragile X Syndrome and Autism, were both victims of sexual abuse. As a mother suffering through this unbelievable nightmare, I witnessed extreme differences in the justice system of how my daughter was believed and treated so well, and my son was not. I quickly began to realize how difficult the road to justice is for an individual with a disability. I was made to feel as if what happened to my son did not matter. The current justice system is not equipped to handle these cases.
It’s difficult enough to learn your child was sexually abused by someone you knew and trusted, but then to realize there is very little help for children with disabilities, adds even more trauma and heartbreak. When a child is sexually abused, it doesn't just affect the child - it effects the whole family. The psychological effects on the victim and their family are unthinkable.
The road to justice and healing is an extremely long road. It's even longer for an individual with a disability. Unfortunately, many people give up their fight. Justice can be very difficult and defeating.
I am sharing our lived experience and what I have learned to encourage others never to give up, to keep moving forward, no matter how long things may take.
Its time perpetrators start being held accountable for their heinous crimes.
It’s time individuals with disabilities have their voices are heard!
I graduated Magna Cum Laude, with a bachelor's degree in health service administration and have over 25 years of experience in corporate, non-profit and healthcare environments as an Admissions, Development and Executive Director.
For the past 20 years, I have dedicated my time to volunteering for various non-profit and community organizations, including The Polycystic Kidney Foundation (PKD); Fragile X Alliance of Ohio; Trials for Hope and The Children's Center of Medina County, to name a few.
Currently, I serve on the Ohio Attorney General Committee for Crime Victims with Disabilities, and I am a DS-Ambassador for the National Down Syndrome Society.
Over the past four years, I have been interviewed by multiple news outlets, area newspapers, invited to be a guest on talk radio, podcasts and featured in many magazine articles.
I am a quarterly columnist for Exceptional Needs Today Magazine and have been invited to be an honorarium speaker at many events.
I am a first-time author of Finding Myself, Overcoming Abuse, Heartbreak and Loss Then, Finding True Love. I am currently co-writing a second book, Finding Their Voice.
In 2022, I founded "Evan Says," a series of books and materials to educate children with cognitive, developmental and intellectual disabilities how to reduce the risk of abuse. Along with our team of talented editors and artists, we are currently in the process of developing our series of children's books and parent guides.
Currently, I serve on the Ohio Attorney General Committee for Crime Victims with Disabilities, and a NDSS DS-Ambassador for the National Down Syndrome Society.
In May 2021, I was honored to receive the Crucial Point Award. An annual award given to people and organizations that delve beyond the surface of sex crimes to focus on overlooked niches of survivorship.
In May 2022, I was humbled to be awarded as an Inspire Medina County, Everyday Hero, Honoree.
In March 2023, Voices of Change 2018 was one of thirteen nonprofit organizations honored to been nominated and awarded The Ohio Success Award.
Legislation - I am currently working with state and federal legislators on current and future bills for individuals with disabilities at federal, state and levels.
I reside in Hinckley, Ohio with my husband, Chris and my two children.