There were 466 cases of suspected child abuse opened in Medina County in 2016.
Those were just cases that were reported, said Rhonda Wurgler, executive director of the Children’s Center of Medina County, which advocates for abused and neglected children.
“Many children suffer in silence,” she said.
Overall, she said, there were 2,000 calls made on questionable activity. One way the Children’s Center brings awareness to child abuse is through the Community Pinwheel Walk.
Several hundred walkers came out for the third annual event Sunday on Medina’s Public Square. People walked from the Square to St. Francis Xavier Church on East Washington Street to plant 466 pinwheels — one for every case.
April is child abuse prevention month.
In a typical year, the center, 200 Highland Drive, Medina, provides 500 foster care visits.
This is the 10-year anniversary of the Children’s Center. Wurgler said the residents are very fortunate to have a facility like this in Medina County.
“We know the numbers and all the facts,” state Rep. Steve Hambley, R-Brunswick, said. “We know this community cares.
“Child abuse is preventable. We can eliminate this abuse.”
The Children’s Center of Medina County also received proclamations from the city of Medina and Medina County commissioners.
One 13-year-old boy, known as “Snake,” told those gathered he was abused.
He finally broke that pattern of abuse when he was “adopted” by the Bikers against Child Abuse, Erie Shores Ohio Chapter.
It’s helped him become more “confident.”
Now he does some public speaking on the subject.
“It helps people speak out,” Snake said.
He also has started “Bullfrogs against Bullying.”
One local mother spoke out about being sexually abused as a child.
She invited others in the audience to come forward in front of the gazebo.
“We are ridiculed by those who cannot possibly ever understand that the horror movies they watch are far too real,” she said. “But we survived and we stopped the cycle of abuse. There are no greater heroes than that. The cycle of abuse stopped because of us.”
Contact reporter Bob Finnan at (330) 721-4049 or firstname.lastname@example.org.