Oklahoma man tours the state to raise awareness about child abuse

"I want people to know that you can still survive after going through abuse," says Rodney Timms.
He says he was abused by his father for most of his childhood, but now, he's using his painful past to help other victims achieve justice.

"Child abuse laws are going to have to get tougher...and somebody is going to have stand up and say 'enough is enough'," said Timms.

He's traveling to all of Oklahoma's 77 counties to spread his message and raise awareness.
Tuesday he traveled through Marshall, Pontotoc, and Johnston counties.

"They estimate there's 12 million cases of child abuse in this country, a year and only a third of those get reported, but the most staggering statistic of all is, less than one percent ever make it to court," said Timms.

Johnston county sheriff Jon Smith says the child abuse rate in the area is going up and the department is doing the best they can to combat the issue.

"We work with our local department of human services child welfare in those investigations and we do see a considerable amount of them," said Smith.

"Parents using drugs, sexual abuse, neglect, physical abuse, it's important to raise awareness to the parents that are doing these things to know that there are consequences that you will face," said child welfare specialist, Lauren Palumbo.
She says it's vital that people speak up and report any signs of abuse.

"Tell somebody that you can trust, tell a teacher, tell a state official. Tell anybody you can and just tell them the truth and so that way we can better work with the families and try to alleviate the situation," said Palumbo.

Timms says his journey will continue, as long as there are kids that need to be protected.

"We've been to 39 counties so far, so, we're making progress and we've got a lot of response from a lot of people as you can see," said Timms.


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