Children experience them all the time, but Lisa Robinette Moose lived through hers.
Behind the closed doors of her own home, she was betrayed and molested. At only 13 years old, she was robbed of her innocence.
“I was scared. I was confused. I was very hurt and very angry,” Moose said. “It was someone that I was supposed to be able to trust — a family member.”
She carried those emotions with her silently, not speaking of it for three years.
“When I finally told my mom, she believed me, but we didn’t know how to get help. The embarrassment and the shame was overwhelming,” Moose said. “She didn’t leave him. She didn’t know where to go. She didn’t have a car, and she didn’t drive. So we dealt with it within the family and just didn’t speak about it for a long time.”
Trapped in a controlling environment and without anyone to speak to about the abuse, Moose hid her pain.
“If there’s nothing in place to help you through this process, you’re stuck right where you are,” she said. “You’re stuck in the hell that you’re in. It’s very emotional, very traumatic.”
She felt alone, not knowing who she was anymore.
“I got lost. That little girl that I once was got lost in all of this,” Moose said.
“You have to disconnect yourself from the pain. When you disconnect yourself from that emotional pain — the physical pain — all of that, you disconnect period.”
Moose feels that not knowing how to deal with the pain led her to make bad choices throughout her life.
“Knowledge is power,” she said. “I had no power. My voice was taken from me, so I didn’t know how to move forward in the right direction.”
As she got older, Moose found herself in one abusive relationship after another.
“I didn’t have the self esteem I needed. It was destroyed through the molestation,” Moose said. “I didn’t feel good enough. I always felt that I was damaged and nobody’s ever going to want anybody like me because of what had happened. I didn’t have the good judgments because I never got help on how I should feel about myself.”
She finally got counseling in her mid-20s, but only for a short time.
“I got scared. I started realizing things about myself that I didn’t know how to deal with,” she said. “When it started to surface I was not ready. My rational way of thinking and handling things was not what it would have been if I had never been molested.”
Her entire view of herself had been shifted, and not for the better.
“It plays on your self esteem. It weighs on your inner dialogue. The way that you think of yourself. It damages your ability to encourage yourself. You always feel like, ‘what did I do to deserve this?’” Moose said. “That inner dialogue that you harbor within yourself can eventually destroy you.”
After surviving three long-term abusive relationships and having three children of her own, Moose finally found the help she always needed.
“The pieces of your life’s puzzle, they never ever really seem to fit just right after something like that,” she said. “Whether it be domestic abuse, child abuse or any type of abuse someone goes through — unless you find an agency like the Children’s Advocacy and Protection Center (CAPC).”
Moose found CAPC as an adult after an incident occurred with her two young daughters.
“I ended up at the center here as a non-offending parent on behalf of my daughters, and I thank God that it is here,” Moose said.
Now 49 years old, Moose works as a volunteer at CAPC.
“The molestation caused me to make bad choices. It caused me to be with abusive partners. It has caused me to have low self esteem. I could have went so much further — not only in my education, but in life in general — if I would have thought more of myself as a human being,” she said. “When I say that a child has been molested, it’s the worst thing that could happen to them. Any type of abuse a child goes through, to me, is mortifying. It changes that child forever.”
Moose knows first-hand how painful those changes can be, and hopes to use that knowledge to make a difference.
“You gain experience and wisdom by things that you go through so that you can help other people. I feel that’s where I’m at,” Moose said. “It’s been a long road for me, but I’ve learned a lot. With the courage and the strength and the support that has been given me, I will take it and I will use it to advocate for children for as long as I have breath.”
She knows the struggle that comes after a child is abused — the lack of a voice they have in many occasions.
“I’ve been working on myself for the last 30 years to get to where I am today with the confidence, the courage in myself to not only speak on behalf of myself, but my daughters, and all children who have ever been abused in any way by anyone,” Moose said.
She knows that she can’t do it alone, though.
“It’s time for people to stand up and speak up, because our children are the future,” Moose said. “Just like I was the future for now, and my future was thrown by the wayside because of what happened to me. We can stop that. The more people that we let know that the CAPC is available, the more knowledge and information that we put forth, and the more people that advocate, we can stop that abuse.”
Even through the darkness, Moose has found light.
“There is hope,” she said. “There is an amazing hope and anyone that thinks that they’re alone in this, they’re not. We all think that we’re alone, we all think that this is the most horrible thing that anyone could ever go through and that it just doesn’t happen to people all the time, but it does.”
According to the Children’s Advocacy and Protection Center, one in 10 children suffer from sexual abuse in their lifetime.
Moose and the CAPC are working to stop that abuse altogether.
“What has happened to me, I don’t ever want another person to go through that again,” she said. “There’s a lot of hands outreached. They’re stretched out far for people, and they don’t even realize it. The police department, court system, social services, counselings, advocacy centers — all of those are in place now to help people. My goal is to make sure that no child is abused — that we can eliminate abuse for children completely.”