Children who are sexually abused face a long road of recovery but there is hope for healthy life.
While Brandon Smith was sentenced today for his child sexual abuse conviction, he reasoned that his behavior was caused by being abused as a child.
9&10 News reached out to several area health professionals and abuse advocates to learn more about this explanation, its validity and how a cycle of abuse can be stopped.
They told us statements like Smith's pass the blame and try to minimize destructive behavior.
Healing requires opening lines of communication to victims almost immediately, so they can learn healthy behaviors as they move into adulthood.
If you know a child who was abused, get help immediately.
9&10's Michael Kasiborski and photojournalist Anthony Zyber have more on breaking the cycle of abuse and helping victims heal.
In addition, here are some local contacts.
The Women's Resource Center in the Grand Traverse Region 24-hour crisis line: 1-800-554-4972
OASIS Family Resource Center in Cadillac: 231-775-SAFE
Women's Resource Center of Northern Michigan (Petoskey) 231-347-0067
Diane Peppler Resource Center (serving Mackinac, Chippewa and Luce counties) 906-635-0566
You can check your city here: http://mcadsv.org/help/locate.php