When you think of bravery, what do you see? Do you see a superhero? Do you see a firefighter, police officer, or soldier?
We see something else at the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office and the Children’s Advocacy Center of Suffolk County. We see the faces of our clients and their loved ones.
We see a child, six years old, talking to someone they have never met before, about physical abuse they suffered at the hands of someone close to them.
We see a teenager, fourteen years old, who is asked to describe being sexually abused in detail, in a courtroom, in front of the perpetrator, a jury of sixteen strangers, two lawyers, a judge, court personnel, and an audience of others, for hours or even days.
We see an adult, who had the strength to disclose the abuse he or she experienced as a child, many years prior, who is strong enough to share the difficult memories with us and seek justice so many years later.
We see caring parents, grandparents, and others who learned that children they loved had been hurt by another adult, and helped those children tell what had happened.
We see these individuals every day. But most people do not.
What is Now You See?
Now You See: A Celebration of Courageous Kids is a photo exhibit that reveals the bravery of abused, neglected, and exploited children who disclose their trauma to those of us in law enforcement.
These photos were not taken in a studio with good lighting or with a crew of professionals. They were taken in waiting rooms, offices, conference rooms, and homes by Jacquelyn Lamont, a trained forensic interviewer and our Director of Youth Safety and Outreach. The format and layout of the exhibit was created by graphic designer Mattie DiCola.
Each child, and set of eyes, is unique and meets his or her own challenges around the trauma. They each cope in their own way. But every child in this project has told someone what happened to them.
And in each photo, the child or adult survivor or caretaker is proud. And their eyes show that. They are proud that they are here and they have something to say to the world — and especially to other kids.
The children, teens, adult survivors, and loving caretakers in this project represent just a fraction of the thousands who are sexually and physically abused each year in Massachusetts. They tell a story that needs to be heard — and seen.
This project honors their bravery and their resilience. It gives them a chance to share their messages with all of us — those of us who listen and those who need to speak.
We hope they will inspire you as they have inspired us.
They have shown courage in the most frightening of circumstances, and in doing so, have made themselves, and all of us, much safer and stronger. And Now You See.
A Traveling Exhibit
As a collection of photographs, Now You See has been hosted in the Children’s Advocacy Center of Suffolk County, the Edward Brooke Courthouse, the John Hancock Tower, the Massachusetts Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner’s annual conference, the Massachusetts Children’s Alliance annual conference, the My Life My Choice annual gala, the NonProfit Center, the Youth Villages Women of Excellence awards, the Gutman Gallery at Harvard University, Bethel AME Church, the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children’s national colloquium, and our offices in downtown Boston.
We hope to bring Now You See to as many venues as possible. This is for two reasons.
First, most people do not realize how courageous these survivors are because they don’t know what these kids have seen, what their bodies have felt and what their hearts have endured. Many people do not understand the amount of bravery it takes to disclose abuse and then to continue on with the difficult process that follows. Even sympathetic hearts can find the reality of child abuse, neglect, and exploitation too painful to consider as more than an abstract concept. Now You See reminds all of us that it affects real people in very real ways.
And second, we want to remind every survivor out there that they are not alone. Those who haven’t yet found the words to disclose their trauma can see that it’s possible — no matter how hard it may seem.
Celebrating Courageous Kids
The subjects of the Now You See photos get more than just a photograph. They’re celebrated at periodic award ceremonies where they re-connect with the prosecutors, victim advocates, and police investigators assigned to their cases. They meet with city officials, state leaders, and dignitaries. But they also meet with other survivors and families who understand better than anyone else the trauma they’ve suffered and know there’s hope on the other side.
Scroll down this page to see photos from a few of those award ceremonies and the entire Now You See exhibit.