Jaffrey

Walkers wage fight against abuse

Community joins national movement to bring awareness for children

  • Sherry Pento of Rindge, left, holds hands with Rindge residents Robyn Labonte Payson and Emily Payson in support while listening to speakers outside the Jaffrey 8th District Courthouse on Monday as part of a national movement to end child abuse.<br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    Sherry Pento of Rindge, left, holds hands with Rindge residents Robyn Labonte Payson and Emily Payson in support while listening to speakers outside the Jaffrey 8th District Courthouse on Monday as part of a national movement to end child abuse.
    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

  • Residents joined in a march against child abuse outside the Jaffrey 8th District Courthouse on Monday as part of a national movement to end abuse.<br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    Residents joined in a march against child abuse outside the Jaffrey 8th District Courthouse on Monday as part of a national movement to end abuse.
    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

  • Residents joined in a march against child abuse outside the Jaffrey 8th District Courthouse on Monday as part of a national movement to end abuse.<br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    Residents joined in a march against child abuse outside the Jaffrey 8th District Courthouse on Monday as part of a national movement to end abuse.
    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

  • Residents joined in a march against child abuse outside the Jaffrey 8th District Courthouse on Monday as part of a national movement to end abuse.<br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    Residents joined in a march against child abuse outside the Jaffrey 8th District Courthouse on Monday as part of a national movement to end abuse.
    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

  • Residents joined in a march against child abuse outside the Jaffrey 8th District Courthouse on Monday as part of a national movement to end abuse.<br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    Residents joined in a march against child abuse outside the Jaffrey 8th District Courthouse on Monday as part of a national movement to end abuse.
    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

  • Sherry Pento of Rindge, left, holds hands with Rindge residents Robyn Labonte Payson and Emily Payson in support while listening to speakers outside the Jaffrey 8th District Courthouse on Monday as part of a national movement to end child abuse.<br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • Residents joined in a march against child abuse outside the Jaffrey 8th District Courthouse on Monday as part of a national movement to end abuse.<br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • Residents joined in a march against child abuse outside the Jaffrey 8th District Courthouse on Monday as part of a national movement to end abuse.<br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • Residents joined in a march against child abuse outside the Jaffrey 8th District Courthouse on Monday as part of a national movement to end abuse.<br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • Residents joined in a march against child abuse outside the Jaffrey 8th District Courthouse on Monday as part of a national movement to end abuse.<br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

JAFFREY — On Monday morning, a small crowd of people stood gathered outside the Jaffrey courthouse. Some sported home-made T-shirts or signs, and mothers pushed babies or toddlers in strollers. It wasn’t a large group, but they were there, united, in support of a national march to end child abuse.

Million March Against Child Abuse, a national movement, scheduled peaceful walks in more than 45 states and 150 cities on Monday, in hopes of raising awareness and bringing a voice to a silent epidemic.

The event is spearheaded by Children Without a Voice USA, a nonprofit dedicated to raising awareness and preventing crimes of neglect and abuse against children.

In New Hamphire, the only march in the state took place in downtown Jaffrey.

Sherry Pento of Rindge, the organizer of the Jaffrey event, welcomed the those crowd who braved the windy Monday morning to make an appearance.

“I’m here, I’m excited, I’m overwhelmed that we have so many people here standing up for our kids,” Pento said. “There are a lot of kids out there that need us and need to know they have people to turn to.”

Local lawmakers, including N.H. Senator Peggy Gilmore, and N.H. Representative Susan Emerson, put in appearances at the event, to speak to the walkers and encourage their efforts.

“We know our most important asset our children. The children of our state, the children of our country, the children of our world, and that’s who we need to protect,” Gilmore said. “It’s amazing when we think about the fact that 10 children die every day in our nation from abuse and neglect. That’s something we must stop.”

Emerson read a letter from L. Phillips Runyon III, the judge who presides at the 8th Circuit Court in Jaffrey.

“The issue of abuse of children certainly needs more public awareness, and I agree whole-heartedly with that,” Runyon wrote. “Most of those offenses are little known outside the courthouse because the cases are subject to such strict confidentiality and restrictions. Moreover, the predators of abuse are rarely prosecuted publicly, because often, the only way to prove those cases would be to have the children themselves testify, further adding to the trauma of the little ones. Perhaps a high-profile event like yours might raise a level of debate about how the system might be improved.”

Gilmore encouraged the crowd to advocate for their cause, and to let their local and state representatives know what issues are important to them.

“In any given year, there are thousands of bills coming forward,” she said. “You can’t expect any single representative to know every one of them, it’s not possible. But if you identify, as my constituent, what is important to you, that is very powerful. Pick up the phone, send an email. It really is important.”

For more information about Million March Against Child Abuse, visit their Facebook page or www.cwavusa.org.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 235 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter at @AshleySaari.

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