Doghouse Press Helps Child Sexual Abuse Victims Move from ‘Survivors to Thrivers’

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Kimberly Steward is owner of Doghouse Press. (PHOTO SUPPLIED)

Local Business of the Week

Park Forest, IL–(ENEWSPF)– Kimberly Steward, a home-based Park Forest business owner, is a self-published author, facilitator, motivational speaker — and survivor. She is the sole proprietor of Doghouse Press, focusing on the prevention of child abuse with an emphasis on child sexual abuse. The mission of Doghouse Press is to “Eliminate the crime of Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) by heightening awareness and empowering individuals and organizations with knowledge about CSA, the consequences and what we, in community, can do to prevent the crime from affecting ALL the children in or lives.” Ms. Steward uses her past to change the future for many who have fallen prey to CSA, and to provide education about this horrific epidemic.

Born into poverty, Ms. Steward grew up on a farm in Matteson, Illinois. She was the 11th of 18 children. She remembers the on-going victimization by a family member as early as three years old. Losing her loving mother at the age of 11 worsened her plight, as her father remarried and her stepmother was verbally and emotionally abusive. She later moved in with her sister and brother-in-law until she graduated from high school, and worked for a family that later became a surrogate family to her. However, the abuse she experienced left her ill-equipped to handle the responsibility of independence.

She subsequently spent several years reclaiming her identify through therapy and spiritual counseling.

During her forty years of working with children in her community and surrounding areas, she was alarmed to discover how many struggled with child abuse in general, and CSA in particular. While able to help those who disclosed that they endured CSA by sharing her own history, statistics prove that they were a minute portion of the estimated 39,000,000 survivors in America. This epidemic affects 1 in 4 girls and 1 and 6 boys before they reach the age of eighteen. In countries that report child abuse statistics, America leads the world. The majority of time it is not a biological parent, however, in most cases, it is someone in a position of trust.

Ms. Steward is the author of two books. In her book The Doghouse Angel, she openly shares her personal story of healing and recovery to bring children and adults from being victims, to becoming survivors. Her second book, Color of Secrets, is a prevention tool for caregivers and resource that encourages children to talk about abuse if it has occurred. Both of her books received rave reviews from survivors, educators, volunteers, her counterparts, and professionals working for the protection of children.

In March of 2006, while researching the title of her works, she discovered Darkness to Light, a national non-profit organization devoted to increasing public awareness of CSA. Darkness to Light developed Stewards for Children, a dynamic and innovative CSA prevention program designed for youth-serving organizations. Created by experts in sexual abuse prevention, this comprehensive program incorporates easy-to-use tools for the training of staff and volunteers.

“This has got to be God” she thought and said to her husband Robert. After researching the organization, she traveled to South Carolina to train as a facilitator. This gave her the opportunity to develop and present various forms of training programs to faith-based organizations, school districts, social service agencies, and basically any group of persons with an interest in the protection of children from the crime of CSA.

Through her application of PEACE (Prevention Education Against Child Exploitation), she continues to make a difference in the lives of those whose have suffered at the hands of predators.

“I now own my own history of journeying from victim to survivor to thriver”, said Ms. Steward. Most victims have a difficult time finding the courage to face their secret and working through the healing process. For many predators, silence is consent. His or her power remains intact as long as the secrets are kept. One of the statements made by a survivor (in the Stewards of Children training film) is, “It’s the secrets that poison our families.” Ms. Steward couldn’t agree more and intends to do all she can to prevent this crime from happening to future generations of children. Her question: “Won’t you help?”

For more information about Ms. Steward and the services Doghouse Press provides visit her web site at www.kimberlysteward.com, email her at [email protected], or contact her at 708-748-5101.

Shelia M. Hester-Whorton, MPA

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Author’s Note: This is the inaugural article of the eNews Park Forest, “Local Business of the Week.” If you are a registered Park Forest business owner, and would like to be highlighted as a “Local Business of the Week,” contact Shelia Hester-Whorton through her web site at www.relativityresources.com.