Let’s talk about child sexual abuse

Steve Bartlett
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Survivor encourages others to speak out, seek help

Bev Moore-Davis has lived what some might call a model adulthood.

Bev Moore-Davis is the founder of the Miles for Smiles foundation.

She’s raised a family, runs a high-end fashion shop on Water Street and has modelled, even winning a catwalk award during a competition in Florida a few years back.

Her childhood, on the other hand, was a model for no one.

Moore-Davis describes it as “horrific.”

As a young girl, she was a victim of sexual, emotional and physical abuse.

Her abusers have never been brought to justice.

Three years ago, she had a chance encounter with someone from her childhood who was also victimized as a youth.

Seeing how the childhood abuse was affecting him as an adult pressed Moore-Davis into action.

“I just decided right there and then that this is so wrong.”

She became an advocate.

“I feel like I’m one of the luckier ones; I survived and I’m living a decent life,” says the owner of the fashion boutique August and Lotta Stockholm.

“For all those people that are not, I’m driven to kind of help them.”

Moore-Davis established the province’s first chapter of Adult Survivors of Child Abuse (ASCA) and formed the Miles for Smiles Foundation.

The latter is focused on making a difference — supporting adults who were abused as children, raising public awareness and, ultimately, preventing child abuse.

There have been some successes.

An Adult Survivors of Child Abuse

peer-support group meets regularly in

St. John’s.

Most major towns across the province now recognize April as child abuse prevention month.

There have been two successful Miles for Smiles walks in St. John’s, and it appears the event will spread to other cities.

And, last Friday, Moore-Davis and some peers were part of a group discussion with others with a  shared interest about a prevention plan.

“I’m really pleased with how it went,” she says.

She’s not naïve enough to think child abuse will disappear, but she firmly believes that’s something worth striving for.

“We need to have something, ideally, implemented in our schools. … Something that gives children more education, more on knowing this is wrong. A lot of times, things happen and little children will keep secrets of abuse forever, for their whole lives or until they learn the difference.”

Moore-Davis knows all about keeping secrets. She became a victim at age five and didn’t tell anyone until she was a grown-up.

“I often think about the Kids’ Help Line (ad) that’s on the milk carton, and even if that was on my kitchen table, I wouldn’t have done anything. So I often think, what would it have taken to make me tell somebody?”

Moore-Davis shared what happened with a handful of people as the decades passed. She didn’t realize that keeping her secret helped no one, including herself, until she ran into that person from her childhood.

Now she’s determined to make a difference, to help those who have suffered, or are suffering, child abuse.

What she’s trying to do is a model to which everyone should aspire. We need more people like her.  

Steve Bartlett is managing editor of The Telegram. Reach him via email at sbartlett@thetelegram.com.

Organizations: The Telegram

Geographic location: Water Street, Florida

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Recent comments

  • Robert Gartner
    June 26, 2014 - 20:58

    Lest we hang everyone who we think or believe to be abusers, please remember an epidemic is upon us wherein narcissistic, parental alienators purport that child sexual abuse has occurred but indeed they have lied to get control in custody situations. False allegations are rampant today.

    • A victim of child abuse
      June 30, 2014 - 14:20

      Robert, Are you implying that the victims should keep their mouth shut? What is your message you are trying to get across here. Obviously, you were not a victim and cannot comprehend the life long impact it has an individual. Being abused at a young age it carries forth for many many years. No amount of conselling can ever erase those memories. Thanks to people like Bev who has support groups available so you can try to let go the anger and move on with a descent life.

    • john hartery
      john hartery
      April 25, 2015 - 18:11

      Your comments sound odd

  • Sonya Delurey
    June 25, 2014 - 20:12

    I am so very proud of Bev Moore-Davis for doing what she is doing. We all need to educate the children more and tell them to fight and say no to these horrendous crimes! We won't totally stop it but it only takes one person to make a difference. Bev. You made a reall difference. Thank you!

  • prefer not to disclose
    June 25, 2014 - 15:32

    Way to go Bev! As a victim of child sexual abuse, whose perpetrator has never been brought to justice, you are my inspiration. I look at what you have done in your adult life as a hope for my future and continues healing.