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CAPS employee shares inspiring story of overcoming abuse

By Colleen Bormann

ELKHART, Ind.--- Child and Parenting Services, or CAPS, hosted an annual Lifesaver Breakfast November 11 at the Lerner Theatre, to help promote its work in the community and gain support from donors. Every year, a keynote speaker shares their personal story of overcoming child abuse and neglect.

This year’s speaker, hit close to home for many in the crowd. Julie Reed is the Director Forensic Interviewer at CAPS. She served as the keynote speaker this year and shared her own personal story.

Julie went through domestic violence and child abuse starting at the age of 12. The family member became very controlling and quickly began grooming Julie over the next few years.

“We were made to believe that we were the problem and so I always felt like I needed to change,” said Julie. “I needed to do something different. I needed to be better and smarter, so things wouldn’t be so bad. So, it was always a matter of trying to please him and that was my sole focus for five years.”

As the abuse progressed, Julie kept this secret to herself and focused on being a good student in school.

“I was the straight A student who was the varsity cheerleader, first-chair flute, and all of these things, “said Julie. “No one would have ever suspected what I had going on in my home.”

One day, she slipped. Her friend at the time noticed some red flags and reported it. That friend, how happens to be her husband. Julie is thankful that he spoke up.

“Sometimes it takes multiple times for someone to speak up before there’s enough for something to happen,” said Julie.

She has a message for anyone reading her story.

“Stay supportive and let children know that it is Ok to keep talking about it,” said Julie.

Julie is hoping her story can help others get the support they need. Julie says she will not be a victim or a statistic. Today, she has four children with her husband in Goshen.

At CAPS, she is now in the other chair, interviewing children who have experienced some kind of abuse. She says it’s important to have programs like CAPS available in the community to stop the cycle of child abuse.

For more information on how to get involved or donate, visit CAPS.

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