Naomi Nucia Glay says she was sexually abused by a family member for eight years of her life — between the ages of 7 and 15.
“If there was somebody I could have talked to about it, I could have dealt with it sooner,” Glay said. “But I didn’t feel comfortable talking about it. When I told my parents that I wanted to get counseling, they told me that that was something that ‘we’ didn’t do.”
It wasn’t until 2013, when she was 19, that she was able to completely escape what she called a “toxic environment” and move from Kansas City, Mo., to Atlanta. Glay, whose parents moved here from Liberia to escape a civil war before she was born, had $500 and dreams of becoming a model.
Now, she’s the reigning Miss Liberia USA. The contest is held every year in this country and open to women of Liberian descent.
On Sunday, the 24-year-old will use that platform to host a panel discussion, open to the public, on sexual abuse and escaping from it.
“It was a long time ago, but it still affects me. But being a survivor of child sexual abuse has pushed me to create ways to bring awareness to sexual abuse,” Glay said. “The more I talk about my story, the freer I become.”
According to estimates by the Centers for Disease Control, one in four girls and one in six boys are sexually abused before the age of 18.
Research by the Department of Justice suggests about 30% of perpetrators of child sexual abuse are family members.
“There used to be a point where I didn’t talk about it. I didn’t talk about it for eight years of my life,” Glay said. “But talking about it has helped me. I am not the only one who has had this trauma.”
The panel will include advocates and survivors of sexual abuse.
“The event will give the wounded the opportunity to leave healed,” said Glay. “And give voice to our silence and strength to our weakness.”
The Power Talk panel will be held on Sunday at the Midtown Collective, 2195 Defoor Hills Road, Suite C, Atlanta.
The event will begin at 5:30 p.m. For more information, go to www.naominucia.com
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