CHILDREN'S TREATMENT CENTRE CELEBRITY WALK& BREAKFAST 2019
In a very literal sense, the hand Nicole Braddock Bromley was dealt when eight years old shaped much of her early life. She was molested by her stepfather, and he used a card game to perpetrate the abuse.
"As we were playing," she told a national broadcaster, "he said that, after each hand, whoever won got to tickle the other person. Then the tickling became uncomfortable and aggressive and in places that didn't make sense to me.
"I felt dirty. I felt damaged, and I didn't know why."
How Bromley broke that insidious cycle of silence and self-doubt will be the focus when she's guest speaker at the Celebrity Walk and Breakfast on Thursday October 24th at the Cornwall Civic Complex. The fundraiser is in support of the Children's Treatment Centre and its efforts to prevent and address child abuse.
In Bromley's case, the abuse lasted ten years and included exposing her to pornographic movies under the guise of "education". Eventually, Bromley confided in her mother, Cynthia. The two went into hiding when the perpetrator became threatening and - a week later - the abuser killed himself.
But that was far from the end of the story. Bolstered by her faith, Bromley committed to a journey away from anger, shame, and bitterness and toward healing and forgiveness. She started an organization called OneVoice and travelled across America helping other survivors find comfort and empowerment.
Bromley is also founder and executive director of OneVOICE4freedom, a non-profit dedicated to stopping child trafficking around the world. In 2010, she began a campaign in east Africa to stamp out child sexual abuse and slavery, and was the first woman in Uganda to ever give a public address on those topics.
Two years later, Bromley went undercover in Cambodia for a documentary on child sex slaves in brothels. Since then, her organization has built safehouse schools and provided prevention education to hundreds of thousands of children and families in poor villages targeted by traffickers.
The activist has also written several books, including Hush: Moving from Silence to Healing after Childhood Sexual Abuse, and Breathe: Finding Freedom to Thrive in Relationships after Childhood Sexual Abuse. Another book is in the works.
Bromley's address, Our Little Secret: A Survivor Story of Pain, Purpose, Hope and Healing will be at 7:15 following breakfast from 6-7 a.m. Tickets are available through the Children's Treatment Centre at 613-933-4400.
"Pain draws us into hiding," says the mother of three boys. "Purpose calls us out." For Bromley, healing begins when victims put their cards on the table.
Milton Ellis, Chair
Celebrity Walk & Breakfast Committee