CORNWALL, Ontario – A packed house showed up for the annual Children’s Treatment Centre breakfast at the Cornwall Civic Complex on Thursday, Oct. 24, 2019.
The guest of honour this year was Nicole Braddock Bromley, speaker, author, founder of One Voice 4 Freedom and childhood sexual abuse survivor.
Bromely shared her experience with abuse at the hands of her stepfather that began when she was a child and ended when she was a teenager.
She grew up in rural Ohio, was a straight A student, popular and was eventually Homecoming Queen.
“Everything looked perfect,” she said. “A perfect girl with a perfect life. Now imagine her planning to runaway. Imagine her planning her own funeral. She was miserable and she was miserable because she had a secret.”
She told the story of how before her freshman year of high school, she was out mowing the grass, and saw her stepfather observing her through binoculars. She explained how that summer, her family went on a trip, and after she returned home, she felt confused and ashamed because of things that had happened.
“He wasn’t always bad, and that’s why it was so confusing and that’s why it continued for so long,” she said.
Bromely explained that while on the trip, her mother had told her stepfather that she had wanted to go back to college, and that the stepfather had become violent. It was at this time that Bromely opened up to her mom, and told her about the abuse.
“I’m really grateful for a mom who believed me,” Bromely said.
Bromely and her mother spent the next week or so hiding at the homes of friends and family to get away from the stepfather, until the news came that he had killed himself. She vowed that she would never share her story with anyone ever again.
“I wish I had someone tell me ‘I don’t care about what you did’ and ‘I don’t care about what you wore,'” she said. “No one asks for sexual assault. No one asks to be raped.”
Bromely found the power in sharing her story at a church summer camp a year after her stepfather’s suicide. Once she shared her story, others reached out to her with their own, and healing began.
“I’m so grateful for those who come into my healing journey so I could be here today to share my story,” Bromely said.
Bromely praised the Children’s Treatment Centre as a unique and valuable resource for the Cornwall community.
“It is so vital for children to have a place like the Children’s Treatment Centre in Cornwall,” she said.
Bromely was invited to visit the centre and was impressed with the facilities and with the service.
“You have something very special in your town,” she said.
Bromely then challenged the community gathered at the breakfast to support the Children’s Treatment Centre.
“We can’t do everything, but we can all do something,” she said.
At the breakfast, the centre received a $10,000 donation from Desjardins, $10,000 from the diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall and cheques from other local community groups, such as the Holy Cross reunion committee.
Bacon and sausage at the breakfast was provided by Olymel.
Since the Children’s Treatment Centre was founded in 1996 it has helped hundreds of children, it has not ever received a complaint against it, and it has never received any funding from any level of government. The Cornwall Children’s Treatment Centre is entirely community supported.