An author and speaker who has appeared several times in OC Weekly and on ocweekly.com for her tireless advocacy on behalf of young sexual abuse victims–and who was herself molested years ago by a choir director at Mater Dei Catholic High School in Santa Ana–receives a well-deserved honor Friday.
The Violence Prevention Coalition of Orange County (VPCOC) includes Joelle Casteix among its 19th annual Ambassador of Peace Awards recipients being feted starting at 11:30 a.m. Friday at Turnip Rose, 1570 Scenic Ave., Costa Mesa.
A former journalist, educator and public relations professional, Casteix has taken her own experience as a victim of child sex crimes and devoted her career to exposing abuse, advocating on behalf of survivors and spreading abuse prevention strategies for parents and communities. Since 2003, she has been the volunteer Western Regional Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. That has taken her around the world to expose abusers, help victims and train families, churches and communities to raise empowered children and keep communities safe from child sexual abuse.
She is the author of The Well-Armored Child: A Parents' Guide to Preventing Abuse and The Compassionate Response: How to Help and Empower the Adult Victim of Child Sexual Abuse. You can keep up on what she is up to at Casteix.com.
Established in 1996, the VPCOC is a countywide affiliation of businesses, community organizations, public and private agencies as well as individuals seeking to promote violence prevention through a public health model. (Learn more at vpcoc.org.)
The VPCOC recognizes community leaders yearly for their contributions and commitment to the prevention of violence in Orange County. Besides Casteix, the 2015 recipients are:
* Dawn Foor of the Community Service Programs (CSP) Sexual Assault Victim Services;
* Irvine Police Deputy Chief Mike Hamel;
* UC Irvine Medical School's Dr. Sandra J. Murray;
* and Dr. Lucy Vezzuto, coordinator of the Mental Health Initiative with the Orange County Department of Education.