Judy Seabert was the kind of actively involved person that every community dreams of attracting. Strong, daring, hard working and compassionate, Seabert was one wise woman among many who nurtured Pacific County’s Camp Victory for young survivors of sexual abuse.

Like its sister program in Clatsop County – Victory Over Child Abuse Camp or VOCA – Camp Victory goes about quietly setting the stage for personal healing among youngsters whose trust has been damaged by the predation of adults. By showing girls and young women that it is literally possible to become victors over the pain of the past, Camp Victory and VOCA save lives.

Without ever taking attention upon herself, Seabert became the nucleus of a core of healers. When she died on Aug. 23 in a Seattle hospital, Seabert had already set the stage for Camp Victory’s 25th year of helping young people find the light. (Camp Victory also began extending its aid to boys and young men last year.) VOCA has been around two years longer.

As with all such content-filled lives, the best way for us to honor Seabert’s is to support the work she helped lead and pattern our behavior upon hers.

Child abuse flourishes in secrecy and grows in the dark. We can’t see what goes on behind closed doors, but the tangible damage from physical, verbal and sexual abuse of children echoes through society and through time. The cost in terms of lost innocence and potential is frightening. We all must make it our business to bring it to a stop.

It is awful that child abuse is so prevalent in our culture. Anyone who has not experienced it has a difficult time imagining just how widespread it is. And yet there is ample solid evidence that this issue is not exaggerated.

VOCA and Camp Victory routinely, but rather miraculously, help many children overcome their darkest secrets. It is one of the many tragedies associated with this subject that these kids are burdened with shame about events over which they had no control. The fact that so many reach out for help is a troubling indication that others doubtless find it impossible to do so, still being dominated by their abuser or crippling memories.

For information about VOCA, call (503) 325-2761 or go to www.vocacamp.org. For Camp Victory, call (360) 665-2888 or see www.campvictoryforchildren.org.

Remembrances can be made in Seabert’s honor to Camp Victory, at P.O. Box 711, Ocean Park, WA 98640 or online.

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