The Moonwood Movement is dedicated to raising awareness and a system of support for victims of childhood molestation, incest, and sex abuse.
Alecia, Co-Owner of Moonwood Coffee, has a daughter who was diagnosed with Chronic Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Severe Anxiety, Depressive Disorder, and Suicidal Ideation at the age of seventeen while still in high school. Over three years later at the age of twenty, it was determined she had multiple personalities from severe, early childhood trauma. At that time, she was given the diagnosis of Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID).
The mental disability Alecia’s daughter is learning to survive is the direct result of abuse by a family friend over a ten-year period. Every day, co-owners Alecia and Bernadette fight for education on childhood indicators of abuse, raising awareness on courses of action within the justice system, and resources for abuse survivors and their families. Moonwood Coffee’s vocational training program is specifically designed so that child molestation and sexual abuse survivors like Alecia’s daughter can develop life and vocational skills that empower them to move forward and heal as adults. Contact Moonwood if you are interested in the following:
- Job Training
- Kitchen Training
- Speak up! Guest speaking and moral support at conferences and events relating to child molestation and sexual abuse
Moonwood Coffee is preparing victims of abuse to survive and build their lives in the aftermath of their childhood trauma. While there are several resources available to help victims to heal, Moonwood is dedicated to helping victims gain independence, get their voice back, and most importantly, to help the community learn to spot abuse before it’s too late. Moonwood knows that long after the trauma ends, the hurt continues. Within Moonwood’s kitchens, a safe community of support has been built to help victims heal and move forward. Moonwood’s hope is that, through job training, victims can gather the skills, resources, and confidence needed to enter the adult world with a fresh start.
Baking and coffee brewing has long been used as a cathartic release for those who need a soothing reminder of a bit of good in the world. Within the world of commercial food production, craftsmanship is key. You learn as you go, and start whenever you are ready. There is no need for long-drawn-out educational requirements. The journey starts as soon as you step foot into the kitchen.
THE SPECIAL MEANING OF THE NAME:
For years, co-owner Alecia’s daughter has used the imagery of the woods as a safe space when feeling overwhelmed by memories of sexual abuse during her childhood. Co-owners Bernadette and Alecia are focused on making Moonwood an environment where abuse survivors can work and gain skills they can take wherever they go next on their journey of healing.
MOONWOOD MOVEMENT'S STORY
Moonwood Coffee Co. co-owner Alecia Draper first noticed that something had changed with her daughter when she began to fall behind her third-grade classmates. She began to have hearing loss and vision problems (ie. dyslexia). Alecia did not realize, that these are only a couple of the myriad of symptoms of childhood molestation and severe emotional and sexual abuse.
During recovery from a suicide attempt at 17, her daughter revealed the truth. For ten years, her biological father, and Alecia’s ex-husband, had consistently dropped her off to be watched by an adult male friend whenever she was within his custody. This man abused, threatened, and manipulated her for years. Alecia's daughter has developed Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) as a response to her trauma. Moonwood Movement is a unique program for those who share similar stories with her daughter. Alecia and her daughter know that there is hope for a future, and seek to share that with other survivors. Moonwood Movement is here to help survivors learn the vocational skills needed to have full cups, full ovens, and full futures.
SEE. BELIEVE. TELL.
- See the things happening around you.
- Believe molestation and sexual assaults are happening by someone close.
- Tell someone.
HOW BIG IS THE PROBLEM?
According to the CDC Violence Prevention, Child sexual abuse is a significant but preventable public health problem. Many children wait to report or never report child sexual abuse. Although estimates vary across studies, the data shows:
- About 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 13 boys experience child sexual abuse at some point in childhood.
- 91% of child sexual abuse is perpetrated by someone the child or child’s family knows.
- The total lifetime economic burden of child sexual abuse in the United States in 2015 was estimated to be at least $9.3 billion. Although this is likely an underestimate of the true impact of the problem since child sexual abuse is underreported.
WHAT ARE THE CONSEQUENCES?
Experiencing child sexual abuse is an adverse childhood experience (ACE) that can affect how a person thinks, acts, and feels over a lifetime, resulting in short- and long-term physical and mental/emotional health consequences.
Examples of physical health consequences include:
- unwanted/unplanned pregnancies
- physical injuries
- chronic conditions later in life, such as heart disease, obesity, and cancer
Examples of mental health consequences include:
- posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Examples of behavioral consequences include:
- substance abuse including opioid use
- risky sexual behaviors, such as unprotected sex, sex with multiple partners
- increased risk for suicide or suicide attempts
Another outcome commonly associated with child sexual abuse is an increased risk of re-victimization throughout a person’s life. For example, recent studies have found:
- Females exposed to child sexual abuse are at a 2-13 times increased risk of sexual victimization in adulthood
- Individuals who experienced child sexual abuse are at twice the risk for non-sexual intimate partner violence
- The odds of attempting suicide are six times higher for men and nine times higher for women with a history of child sexual abuse than those without a history of child sexual abuse
Adults must take the steps needed to prevent child sexual abuse. Adults are responsible for ensuring that all children have safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments. Resources for child sexual abuse have mostly focused on treatment for victims and criminal justice-oriented approaches for perpetrators. While these efforts are important after child sexual abuse has occurred, little investment has been made in primary prevention, or preventing child sexual abuse before it occurs. Limited effective evidence-based strategies for proactively protecting children from child sexual abuse are available. More resources are needed to develop, evaluate, and implement evidence-based child sexual abuse primary prevention strategies to ensure that all children have safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments.
Our goal is to raise awareness, create effective and comprehensive early childhood programs that teach children safety and offer support surrounding childhood molestation, and sexual abuse prevention. We believe this needs to begin within our elementary school system.
RAISE AWARENESS FOR MOLESTATION. WHY THE DENIM?
“For the past 21 years, Peace Over Violence has run its Denim Day campaign on a Wednesday in April in honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. The campaign began after a ruling by the Italian Supreme Court where a rape conviction was overturned because the justices felt that since the victim was wearing tight jeans she must have helped the person who raped her remove her jeans, thereby implying consent. The following day, the women in the Italian Parliament came to work wearing jeans in solidarity with the victim. Peace Over Violence developed the Denim Day campaign in response to this case and the activism surrounding it. Since then, wearing jeans on Denim Day has become a symbol of protest against erroneous and destructive attitudes about sexual harassment, abuse, assault and rape. In this sexual violence prevention and education campaign we ask community members, elected officials, businesses and students to make a social statement with their fashion statement by wearing jeans on this day as a visible means of protest against the misconceptions that surround sexual violence.”
THE PERSONAL MEANING BEHIND THE MOONWOOD MOVEMENT TO OUR OWNERS
ALECIA DRAPER, CO-OWNER
Eventually, Alecia moved to California with her three children. Though her family was devastated after finding out about the long term severe sexual and emotional abuse, Alecia knew she could use her knowledge and skillset to bring light back into their lives. In 2017, Alecia Draper purchased Moondwood Coffee Co. with her business partner, Bernadette Ellis. Through Moonwood Coffee Co., they are dedicated to training survivors the vocational skills needed to move forward and live independently in a secure and comfortable environment which they need to heal.
Alecia is using her years of expertise in the baking industry, as well as her knowledge as the primary caretaker (and legal conservator) for a child molestation and sexual assault survivor, to make Moonwood Coffee Co. kitchen a safe haven for those who are on the lifelong journey of healing.
BERNADETTE ELLIS, CO-OWNER
Through Moonwood Coffee Co., Bernadette, along with her partner Alecia, has committed to creating a space where child sex-abuse survivors can work and gain the knowledge they need to succeed within the baking industry. Through her businesses and within her free time, Bernadette is dedicated to helping educate and support those within the survivor community. In her free time, Bernadette is also very passionate about helping with food donations to the homeless and volunteering with Feed America.