By Cherri Gregg
PHILADELPHIA (CBS)–A Philadelphia non-profit that provides a safe place for child sex abuse victims to access law enforcement is having its annual fundraiser next week.
The Philadelphia Children’s Alliance provides a kid-friendly place where young sex abuse victims can tell their story to the police, the DA’s office and social services agencies all at the same time.
“When a child has been sexually abused they are often not sure what to expect when they go to an agency to tell somebody,” says Chris Kirchner, “we wanted to make sure that children are not interviewed repeatedly about their abuse.”
Kirchner says PCA videotapes interviews and facilitate sharing of information between agencies. She says these types of services are desperately needed since they see 130-140 newly reported cases each month.
“We see an average of six or seven kids every day,” says Kirchner, “and we are not state-funded. We do about half of our money from the city of Philadelphia and the rest we raise.”
The November 6th, Movin’ On Benefit Concert at World Live Cafe is part of PAC’s fundraising efforts. Several Philadelphia artists will perform songs from the CD, which focuses on overcoming abuse.
“Some of the musicians are survivors and will talk about and sing about the impact of the issue on their lives,” says Kirchner.
In addition, adult survivors of abuse will tell their stories, as part of Philadelphia Weekly’s national storytelling initiative.
“I still get a little nervous and scared sharing such a tragedy with a bunch of strangers,” says Ari Benjamin Bank, 39. The English teacher submitted his story to the magazine and was selected to read his story at the concert.
“I was just five years old and it happened over the course of a summer at a day camp that is still open,” says Bank, “I was a very, very good swimmer. And one of the counselors would escort me to the pool for more advance swimmers. Instead of going into the pool, we would go into the bunk, he would close the door and sexually molest me.”
Bank was continuously molested over the course of eight weeks. He kept the abuse a secret for decades.
“A big part of healing is recognizing that you are not a victim, but you are also a survivor,” he says.
Tickets for the Movin’ On Benefit Concert run 15 to 25 bucks.