The Naval Air Station North Island (NASNI) liberty center hosted the Lisa Project this fall to raise awareness about child abuse.
The Lisa Project, which started in 2010, is a mobile interactive exhibit which has visitors tour through the simulated living spaces of child abuse survivors while listening to their stories. The exhibit was from Oct. 24 to 26.
The eponymous Lisa, a real-life abuse survivor, narrates much of the exhibit.
The Lisa Projects visit to NASNI marked the first time they have ever visited a military installation. The Lisa Project has five locations spread out throughout California and Iowa, and has visited over 15 cities in California with their mobile exhibits.
One of the things we realized with child abuse prevention is the importance of bringing awareness directly to people.”-Beth Wilshire, a project coordinator with the Lisa Project..
“One of the things we realized with child abuse prevention is the importance of bringing awareness directly to people,” said Beth Wilshire, a project coordinator with the Lisa Project. “The exhibit is designed to be mobile, so we’ve taken it to high schools to get the students to participate so they can bring what they learn back to their communities.”
Millions of CPS investigations nationally
Organizers of the event said child abuse is a serious issue in every community with over 650,000 children being abused and over 3 million CPS investigations taking place annually.
The stories showcased within the interactive exhibit illustrated the different types of abuse children face as well as the different circumstances these children grow up in. And, they noted that child abuse occurs across all demographics and income levels.
“It happens to every walk of life,” Wilshire said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re affluent or poor, it can and has happened to everybody.”
Wilshire added that the exhibit was well received.
“The CO and the XO came through the first day and were really impacted by the messaging displayed in the exhibit,” she said.
Wide range of reactions
Sailors and other base personnel visited the exhibit and had a wide variety of reactions, ranging from motivating to sobering.
Many of the base first responders attended to get a better idea of what they may potentially face on the job.
“It helps our guys understand situations of domestic violence and child abuse better,” said Robert Kenny, an on base police officer at NASNI. “The heart wrenching stories here are true, and gives us a better idea of what to expect if we ever had to answer one.”
Anybody can help prevent child abuse, and the best way to prevent it is to report it wherever it is seen, Wilshire said.
“These kids are the future,” Wilshire said. “It’s much better to raise happy children than repair damaged adults.”