Shock, disbelief, fear, mistrust and grief are some of the emotions I felt as I heard the news about Anthony Durham pleading guilty to 17 counts of child molestation.
It is violating when the perpetrator of such a crime is a trusted member of society whose job it has been to keep us safe. It may take time and support to rebuild safety. This is something many of our clients at CALM deal with daily.
A common misconception with child sexual abuse is that it is committed by strangers. However, 90 percent of abuse victims know their perpetrator. Imagine the mistrust of a child who is abused by someone they know who is supposed to keep them safe. Imagine the guilt of a parent who learns their child has been abused by someone they trusted. The trauma of experiencing this breach of safety can be debilitating and catastrophic to a victim and his or her family.
At CALM, we can help these families heal. Clients learn coping skills for their emotions, develop plans to increase their safety in a world that feels unsafe, process their trauma story and engage their support system to help them recover. This process takes time and guidance, yet a person can heal.
After learning of Durham’s crimes, Lompoc has experienced a flood of emotions and a shock to our sense of stability. I know how difficult and anxiety-provoking this is to our community. I also know we are resilient, and together, with the community and Durham’s survivors, CALM will continue to support Lompoc in rebuilding a sense of trust and safety.
CALM is committed to serving our community. We welcome anyone who needs services to contact us for help. To learn more, please visit us at calm4kids.org, or call 805.741.7460 (Lompoc), 805.614.9160 (Santa Maria) or 805.965.2376 (Santa Barbara).
CEO of CALM