WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) - In a first-of-its-kind event in Wichita Falls, community leaders gathered at Patsy’s House to honor every single Texoma child who was a victim of abuse in 2020.
During the organization’s Save Jane event, 2,882 names were read, with each reader repeating the mantra: I’m here to give a voice to those who can’t speak for themselves.
“Our partners are coming to stand with us, the community is coming to stand with us and we are here to honor those children,” Denise Roberts, the executive director for Patsy’s House, said.
While their identities were protected, hearing every child abuse victim’s name read aloud was an emotional moment for Roberts.
“To realize that every name that’s going to be read today is actually a child that’s been affected by abuse and we stand and fight for every day,” she said. “it’s not lost on any of us the power behind that and what we do every day working for these children.”
It’s why she wanted to host Patsy’s House’s own Save Jane event after seeing other child advocacy groups around the state hold similar ones.
“It is about remembering children who have been victimized by child abuse or sexual abuse,” John Gillespie said.
Wichita County District Attorney John Gillespie was among those today who took to the podium to read names and ages aloud.
“It means a lot because sometimes I think the criminal justice system is set up to protect defendants,” he said, “and children can get lost in that.”
He said it’s why he and other criminal justice agencies are grateful to Patsy’s House.
“You know to have a voice in the community for children who have been victimized sexually, physically, some of the worst types of abuse imaginable, they really stand on the front lines for that,” he said.
Roberts said months like Child Abuse Prevention Month help send a message to the community.
“There’s a lot of us that are daily fighting for these children and if we are not fighting, and our communities are not standing up and fighting for these children, who will?” she said, “that’s what our partners are here for every day is go give these children hope and healing, and hopefully justice as well, at the end of the day for them to be able to move forward.”
Patsy’s House is also selling pinwheels that are currently lining the front lawn of their main building in Wichita Falls. Roberts said the goal is to sell all of them and symbolically clear out child abuse across Texoma.