Miss America visits Piedmont College



Staff Writer


On Aug. 29, Piedmont College hosted Habersham County’s annual Prevent Child Abuse Habersham fundraiser in the Swanson Center.

The event and silent auction benefited research and prevention of child abuse in Habersham County through programs such as First Steps, Parents As Teachers, Stewards of Children Prevention Program and Hope and Healing Habersham.

The event’s keynote speaker was Miss America, Mallory Hagan.

She spoke to stand up for children without a voice in Habersham and all over the United States.

This cause was championed by Hagan as one that hit close to home for her.

Her speech explained her family’s past as well as her own and made no airs about how detrimental and damaging child abuse- and more specifically child sexual abuse- was for all those in her family who were affected.

With her own mother’s experience as a victim of child sexual abuse weighing heavy on her heart, Hagan passionately bypassed the censorship that society uses to avoid the details of child sexual abuse.

Hagan’s speech laid out every aspect of child sexual abuse and emphasized actions that need to be taken.

Some of the highlights of Hagan’s speech included how necessary it is to be open with children about child sexual abuse and its warning signs such as good touch versus bad touch and pressure to give physical affection.

She reiterated the importance for adults of not placing happiness in the affection that children give them. Additionally, Hagan attempts to provide education about abuse to children in grades kindergarten through sixth.

Upon venturing to several elementary schools, her efforts to educate children on this issue were met with resistance from school administrators due to the opinion that the material is inappropriate and could cause turmoil in the homes of the children.

Her argument was that the information should at least be made available to teachers and educators who are bound by law to report incidences or evidence witnessed.

Following the obstacles she faced, Hagan persisted and met with teachers during their lunch hours to make sure that the information was made available to them.

“The most important thing is to start the conversation and education will follow,” Hagan said.

According to CBS-Atlanta, the event raised over $50,000, which will be used to help prevent child abuse in Habersham County.