Eva Hompoth (left) and Angelika Bendrich want to empower adults to prevent children from sexual abuse.

Peninsula duo shed light on child abuse

Eva Hompoth and Angelika Bendrich want to empower adults and children to help prevent childhood sexual abuse

Peninsula residents Eva Hompoth and Angelika Bendrich share a bond they’d prefer didn’t exist: both are survivors of childhood sexual abuse.

Born of that, they share a common drive: to do what they can to prevent other children from experiencing what they did.

“If I help one kid a week, she helps one kid – that’s 104 kids a year,” said Hompoth.

“I believe one person can make a difference.”

Hompoth and Bendrich met in February through Toastmasters, and Bendrich introduced Hompoth to the non-profit Darkness to Light organization’s Stewards of Children training – a child abuse-prevention program.

Participants learn about the prevalence of child sexual abuse, how to minimize opportunities for it to occur, how to talk about it – including to children – how to recognize signs of abuse and how to react responsibly when abuse is suspected.

“The scary news is 90 per cent of abuse is by someone the child knows,” said Bendrich, 49.

“It’s harder to talk about it after it happens.”

Bendrich – a Crescent Beach resident and two-time cancer survivor – said she came to Canada when she was 21, to get away from a situation where the men in her life “treated me… like a piece of furniture.”

“I was brought up to believe the role of a woman was to serve a man,” she said.

In the years that followed, Bendrich reclaimed her voice and is determined to use what she has learned to help others.

“The more I claim my voice and help other people claim theirs, I’m getting better and better.

“It’s not so much what happened, but what you do with what happened.”

Hompoth said it took her a long time to connect ways she was living her life to what happened to her as a child of about eight years old, when she was abused by a stranger in a park.

Now a grandmother to four, she says she only started opening up about that traumatic day about five years ago, after decades of blaming herself for what happened.

“I was very ashamed. I wouldn’t tell anybody,” she said. “I did not trust men for a very, very long time.”

Hompoth, 59, also believes the experience at least partly explains her passion for animals and children. With her dog, Lola, she volunteers for programs including Surrey Libraries’ Dog Tales (where children practise their reading skills by telling stories to an attentive and non-judgmental four-legged friend) and St. John Ambulance’s Therapy Dog Services (in which the pair visit patients to share the physical and emotional benefits of regular contact with a dog).

As a steward – she took a Darkness to Light course led by Bendrich in April – Hompoth hopes she can do more, including eventually take the program into schools as a facilitator.

“I love working with children,” she said. “Children are so innocent – they should grow up like that.”

Upcoming Stewards of Children training sessions are set for 5:30-7:30 p.m. June 5 and 2-4 p.m. June 8.

For more information on Stewards of Children, visit d2L.org or email Bendrich at fundamentalsoflife@gmail.com

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey man’s extensive report calls city’s policing claims ‘unsubstantiated garbage’

Surrey’s Richard Landale has taken public engagement to a whole new level

474 Surrey intersections monitored by live-feed cameras

Cameras prove to be useful tool for commuters, ICBC, RCMP

White Rock woman seeks fellow hockey players for BC 55+ Games

Sue Rittinger aiming to put Zone 3 women’s team together in time for September event

Surrey’s Eat the Dishes named finalist in Small Business BC awards

Marissa Bergeron says she ‘jumped for joy’ when she found out

Surrey RCMP investigating sexual allegation against Delta police officer

One officer suspended while the alleged off-duty incident involving another officer is investigated

VIDEO: Rare ‘ice circle’ spotted on Kamloops river

An ice circle or ice pan, has formed in the chilly waters just east of the Yellowhead Bridge

B.C. man rescued after getting trapped headfirst in well as water level rose

The rescue involved crews from Oak Bay and Saanich

Investigators in wildfire-torn Australia head to site of B.C. airtanker crash

The B.C. government sends condolences to Port Alberni-owned Coulson Aviation

Mud slide prompts evacuation in Burnaby as rain saturates southern B.C.

About 20 metres of a five to six-metre high wall gave way

Former Mountie, sports coach convicted of sex abuse in B.C. granted day parole

Alan Davidson was sentenced to almost six years for abusing seven boys in the late 1970s and early 1990s

VIDEO: Person in wheelchair narrowly avoids collision with car in Kelowna

There were no injuries in the scary looking near-accident last week in Rutland

Here’s what Canada is doing to stop the coronavirus from getting in

Health officials are monitoring multiple possible cases in Canada

Fraser Valley poultry producer’s $130,000 fight with the CFIA earns him a red-tape award

Canadian Federation of Independent Business Paperweight Awards ‘honour’ government over-regulation

B.C. still struggling to control non-resident medical care fraud

Unpaid bills, out-of-province claimants a costly legacy of MSP

Most Read

l -->