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Pinwheel display honors local child abuse survivors


April 07, 2016

In honor of National Child Abuse Prevention Month, Liberty University School of Law teamed up with Liberty’s College of Osteopathic Medicine on Wednesday to place 565 pinwheels on the lawn outside of the Jerry Falwell Library. Each pinwheel represented a child abuse survivor living in Lynchburg this year.

Elizabeth Rerick, a second-year law student specializing in juvenile and family law, said the pinwheels give students a realistic representation of the number of children in their own community who have been abused.

“One in four women and one in six men have been sexually abused during their lifetime,” she said, noting that the figure does not include cases of neglect and physical or emotional abuse. “Child abuse is the most underreported crime in our society. The purpose of this week is about communicating, working together, approaching abuse from a different perspective, and being willing to understand concepts beyond our own profession.”

This event is special to Rerick as a law student, because it helped her discover that she does not have to travel overseas to find children who are in need of an advocate.

“Liberty provides one of the most unique platforms to discuss different perspectives and professions from the common ground of the Gospel,” she said. “At the end of the day, it is not the lawyer, the doctor, or the teacher who provides hope, healing, and a future for a child who has undergone abuse. It is the Gospel alone that provides a child with a sense of worth, belonging, and value as a child of God.”  

This event is part of Child Abuse Awareness Week at Liberty, in partnership with Court Appointed Special Advocates(CASA), a local organization that helps abused children.

The week kicked off Monday with a screening of “Pursuit of Truth,” a documentary that exposes flaws in the justice system regarding the treatment of adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse.  

Students will also be able to hear author and speaker Mary Demuth share her personal story of abuse on Thursday, April 7, at 4 p.m. in the School of Law Supreme Courtroom.

The week will end with a game night where students will have the opportunity to play games as well as donate a book or a game to CASA. The event will take place in the School of Law Mountain View Room at 5:30 p.m.

Liberty University’s Helms School of Government will also participate in National Child Abuse Prevention Month by hosting a symposium on child exploitation in America on Thursday, April 14, at the Hancock Welcome Center. Guest speakers will include experts on human trafficking from several different organizations, including the FBI. Registration is open through April 9; email mechols3@liberty.edu to register or for more information.'

In honor of National Child Abuse Prevention Month, Liberty University School of Law teamed up with Liberty's College of Osteopathic Medicine on Wednesday to place 565 pinwheels on the lawn outside of the Jerry Falwell Library. Each pinwheel represented a child abuse survivor living in Lynchburg this year.

Liberty University School of Law students (from left to right): Carlee Loftus, Brittany Williams, Hannah Phillips, Stephen Jones, Elizabeth Rerick, Lauren Brown, and Jessica Stanton placed pinwheels on the lawn in front of the Jerry Falwell Library.