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The Lake News Online
  • Survivor shares her story at awareness breakfast

  • In observance of Crime Victims' Rights week, the Camden County Prosecuting Attorney's office along with Citizens Against Domestic Violence and Kids' Harbor, Inc. hosted a breakfast for community leaders, volunteers and law enforcement.
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  • In observance of Crime Victims' Rights week, the Camden County Prosecuting Attorney's office along with Citizens Against Domestic Violence and Kids' Harbor, Inc. hosted a breakfast for community leaders, volunteers and law enforcement.
    Representatives from both CADV and Kids' Harbor spoke of the need for such organizations in the lake area community and updated the public on how many residents they have served so far in 2014.
    The guest of honor, Kelly Watt, opened up to attendees about her childhood and how she can relate to victims.
    She began by describing her childhood and her parents.
    "They thought of us kids as property," Watt told the crowd. "When I was 14, I finally said, 'Enough is enough.' "
    It was clear that Watt was sexually abused by her father for years before she left home for good at age 15.
    At age 14, she told law enforcement about the abuse but was talked into recanting her story and returning home months later. Her father was never prosecuted.
    Watt’s story has a happy ending. After being in an abusive marriage and experimenting with drugs and alcohol, at age 25, she left her husband with her four children in tow. She met her current husband and has been married for 15 years. She now has her GED and has been a nurse for 10 years.
    She wrote a book about her life entitled "The Fourteenth Year" and travels across the country speaking about her experiences. She often speaks at Ft. Leonard Wood in Waynesville.
    One compelling aspect of her story is how she can relate to children who have been abused and help law enforcement with how to react when working such cases.
    She told law enforcement in the room how trying to speak to the victim with the abuser present is never a good idea. She urged the crowd to value any time that a child speaks up because they could be the first person that child had been honest with regarding their abuse.
    "Take it seriously, be respectful and take time, do not be in a hurry because it's extremely hard to do," Watt said.
    She also encouraged school officials to be watchful for children that seem to act out. Watt recalls doing whatever she could just to get attention from the school nurse including putting soap in her eyes, but it was never enough.
    Watt has raised six children and now has three grandchildren. She credits them for giving her strength.
    "They have been a great source of strength for me and raising them has been great for me," Watt said.
    The Friday morning breakfast marked the sixth year for the event.

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