WellesleyWeston Magazine

WINTER 2014/2015

Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

Issue link: https://wellesleywestonmagazine.epubxp.com/i/410492

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Page 47 of 227

46 W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e | w i n t e r 2 0 1 4 / 2 0 1 5 a friend I'll call Ann recently emailed with news about the orphaned teenaged girl she mentors. The girl, I'll call her Emily, is a beautiful, just-turned-18-year-old, about to "age out" of the system. While Ann has had suspicions about past care providers that included their integrity and motives, today she was ebullient. As Ann described the elaborate graduation rituals, teen girls "made up to the nines" and "all decked out," I wanted to rejoice. But instead, I heard the voice of Kate Price. She is a fellow mom at Sprague Elementary School in Wellesley, and I knew she researched child sexual exploitation at the Wellesley Centers for Women. I had worked at CNN for years, and found her work both fascinating and crucially important. Writing night after night during the height of the priest abuse scandal did not harden me to the trauma of abused and exploited kids. If anything, watching grown men weep as they related their crushing memories of betrayal by those they trusted with their souls just made me infinitely angrier. So after hearing from Ann, I immediately recalled what Kate had once told me: that the most vulnerable kids are those just aging out of the system, with no caring adult to keep tabs on them. Pimps sometimes literally circle these facilities. Knowing this, I was concerned that Emily was actually being "groomed" for prostitution. After giving Kate the details (which I'm obscuring for privacy's sake) she told me, yes, this did smack of possible grooming. She gave me very specific things Ann should tell Emily and emphasize that she is not isolated, should any predator begin their sickening and methodical process. I was so grateful to have an expert right there on the playground. What I didn't know at the time was that Kate is far more than a mere expert. She is a survivor of the very abuse we were seek- ing to prevent. Recently Kate "came out" in The Wellesley Townsman and elsewhere as a child and teenage victim of heinous exploitation by a family member. Coming from a news background, I knew what happened to so many kids like this: a lifetime of addiction, homelessness, sometimes suicide. The fact that Kate had overcome the odds was staggering to me. I was thor- oughly inspired at how she got herself on a Greyhound bus, and got an education here in New England. How lucky we are to have her example and expertise in our midst. But it must be said that Kate, who admits she must have some kind of "resilience gene," is the exception and not the rule. That's why we need to ensure that she has the funds she needs to continue her child sexual exploitation research. Kate is seeking our community's help in funding her sociology Ph.D., which is an appalling necessity. Do we really care so little for vulnerable children that her Ph.D. Fund a Ph.D. Save a Child. And Honor a Survivor [ forum ] L I N D A K E E N A N writer LINDA KEENAN was a senior producer/head writer at CNN for seven years. More recently, she was the author of the satire collection Suburgatory, which helped inspire an ABC comedy of the same name.

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