WERDCC’s 2016 Crime Victim’s Awareness Ceremony is going to be held on April 12 at 1 p.m. at the Vandalia First Baptist Church Multi-Purpose Building. The guest speaker will be Ellie Hagen.
Ellie Hagen is an incredible 15 year old girl who survived sexual abuse from a family friend when she was 7 years old. As her court process was drawing to a close, Ellie believes that she received a special mission from God to share her story with others. She believes He gave her a mission to also tell other kids to “speak up” if something bad like this is happening to them.
Ellie’s perpetrator was sentenced in both state and federal court. He will spend 15 years in prison. Thanks to Ellie’s courage, he can no longer violate her or the other children he violated who were too scared to speak up. But this is not where the story ends…..it is where it begins.
Since her perpetrator’s sentencing, in August of 2010, Ellie has carried out her mission of sharing her story and encouraging others to speak up. She has spoken at colleges, universities, public schools, prisons, various youth organizations, and churches. She also has spoken at Fort Leonard Wood Military Base for their CID (Criminal Investigations Division) training and made a training video that is now being used on Army bases all over the world. She has been a guest speaker multiple times for the Missouri Department of Social Services In-Service Trainings for several counties. Ellie has spoken to law enforcement, prosecutors, victim advocates, and social workers. In 2010 she was a guest speaker for the Child Advocacy Center’s annual meeting in Greene County. Since then, she has also spoken for Kid’s Harbor CAC multiple times. She also made a public service announcement commercial on sexual abuse for KY3 TV in Springfield, Missouri and it aired for a year. Ellie recognizes that many adults were victims as children, and may have never dealt with their own abuse; therefore, many adults turn to drugs and alcohol to mask their pain, so Ellie has spoken to several different 12-step programs. Ellie was a guest speaker at the 2012 Annual MOVA (Missouri Victim’s Assistance Network) Conference. She has also been a guest speaker many times with BACA (Biker’s Against Child Abuse) during presentations at public school assemblies. Ellie has also worked with Children Take a Stand and made a video for them to help other kids. In 2015, she was the guest speaker for SHARP (Sexual Harassment Assault Response and Prevention) at General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital. Ellie was also the featured guest speaker for the annual CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) “Shine Your Light” Gala in Springfield, Missouri.
The list goes on and on but, most importantly, many children, and adults, have come forward to disclose their own abuse after hearing Ellie share her story.
In 2011, Ellie was named an “Everyday Hero” by the American Red Cross for her work. Ellie’s mission is to encourage kids to put a stop to their abuse by letting them know they have the power to make it stop – they just need to tell someone who will believe them. Ellie encourages parents to speak to their children often about inappropriate touching. For those who work with abused children, she educates them on what it is like through the eyes of the child victim going through the legal process in the hopes they will do their job even better. Ellie says she will speak wherever someone will listen. She says she will continue to share her story until she feels like God doesn’t want her to do it anymore.
Paula Fletcher, WERDCC case manager, is coordinating this event. If you have any questions, you may contact her at 594-6686, ext 2510.