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Edmonds, Lucas share survivor stories

Xavier Smith • Apr 23, 2018 at 7:59 PM

People can now view the television appearance of two Wilson County child abuse awareness advocates who spread their message and continue the battle against child abuse.

M.J. Lucas, host at WANT FM98.9/WCOR AM1490, joined Keith Edmonds, founder of the Keith Edmonds Foundation, for a segment on child abuse that appeared on the Christian Television Network’s show “Bridges,” with Monica Schmelter earlier this month. The episode is now available online.

Child Abuse Awareness: Keith Edmonds and MJ Lucas from Monica Schmelter on Vimeo.

When Edmonds was 14 months old, an abuser held his face to an electric heater, resulting in third-degree burns and scarring to his face. 

He had numerous surgeries on his face. He endured the abuse and the taunting of schoolmates, and as a result turned to substances and alcohol to cope.

Edmonds said he eventually found Christ and decided to live life as a survivor instead of a victim and raise awareness of child abuse.

Lucas’ story was first told in an article called Silence No More in 2012 in The Lebanon Democrat, but this year was the first time she told her story in front of an audience during the second Child Abuse Awareness Panel held by the 15th Judicial District Child Advocacy Center.  

Lucas said a family member abused her from when she was 6 years old until she moved away from home in Florida. 

Edmonds appeared on “Bridges” last year and was asked to re-appear on the show for a segment to air in April for Child Abuse Awareness Month. Edmonds said producers asked him if he knew someone who would also share their story, and he recruited Lucas.

Schmelter spoke with Edmonds about his work to combat child abuse and the difficulty it can be for people to discuss the topic, even if they are not directly affected.

“It’s painful to talk about, but it’s overly important to talk about. That’s my goal – to use my platform to say, ‘Hey. It, in fact, does happen,’” said Edmonds, who also discussed how to report suspected abuse and more.

“I promised God if he would open the doors, I’d try to have the courage to walk through and share a message of hope and faith,” said Lucas, who credited her faith with her survival, along with the help of a high school friend and his family.

She also offered some advice to people who think they know someone suffering from abuse.

“Please tell. That’s the thing – tell,” said Lucas, who said survivors should seek someone to confide in and start the healing process by telling about the abuse.

To view the segment, visit the Monica Schmelter page on Vimeo.

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