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Local Mammoth resident and day care provider Monique Foster was an adult woman before she realized that she had been sexually abused as a child.
Today, sheâ€™s become a fierce advocate for children, who like her, have been to hellâ€”but are not yet back.
â€śI was working with these kids, they felt lost, they had no hope, there was no hope,â€ť she said. â€śI could understand, because I realized that thatâ€™s how it was for me, that this was me.â€ť
Triggered by the arrest of former Mammoth Lakes daycare provider Lupe Almaguer (sentenced to life in prison after some 17 years as a day care provider), the memories of her own abuse surfaced and with them the feelings of shame, horror, and fear.
She found herself working with other children who had gone through similar experiences. Recently, she realized the long, long days and months and years of silence was over.
â€śIt has became something more for me than to deal with my own healing,â€ť she said. â€śIt became a drive to bring awareness to our community. I didnâ€™t want to hide from my stories. I wanted control back over my life. I realized with the Lupe issue, and then the Bourne and Walker issue, that things got so controversial. Everyone was taking sides. We lost control of who paid the real price. It is the children, both their children, and the young girl.â€ť
Now, sheâ€™s hoping to raise money to attend a camp where sheâ€”along with many othersâ€”can provide that source of hope missing in her own life.
â€śYou lose the ability to trust,â€ť she said. â€śAnyone. Itâ€™s not something you can heal. Itâ€™s never gone. When I see a color, a smell, itâ€™s a trigger. But over time, you can move on.â€ť
One in three American girls and one is five boys are sexually abused before they are 18. Those statistics mean Mammothâ€™s brush with child sex abuse is far too common, she said.
The camp is called Royal Family Kids Camp in Vista California. Foster is hoping to raise $700 to pay for her room and board and travel expenses. She will spend one week there this summer, working one on one with children, who like her, have lived through more than any child should have to.
If you are interested in learning more about Royal Family Kids Camp or you want to help Foster, go to: www.frkc.org.
Foster can be reached at 760-846-1864.