Yesterday, I did a Facebook live about the hearing, which I posted to my page. In it, I also discussed the importance of the moment in this video, and how it all ties together. If you missed it, you can still watch it here:
It was an incredible honor to receive the first Challenge Coin from the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (ICMEC) at the 20th anniversary gala. The CEO, Paul Shapiro, surprised me with a special, and personal-to-him, gift from my - actually our - hometown of Pittsburgh. The Terrible Towel was a reminder of home and how it's an amazing, wonderful place, and not simply filled with terror now. All of this was a surprise and truly, one of the most special moments of my life.
I took both the Challenge Coin and the Terrible Towel with me yesterday to court where I had to, once again, face my abductor and captor.
He was recently released into Pittsburgh, my hometown, and where my family still lives. He has no connection, ties, or family in the area. He is not from Pittsburgh.
I took these two special items to court with me as a reminder that I would not be standing there alone, for I have so much support, AND I was facing him and speaking, so that no other victims could be forced into a similar situation.
Child Abduction Survivor and Expert, Alicia Kozakiewicz, speaks at the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children's 5th Annual Gala for Child Protection. Alicia's rapist has been released to her hometown of Pittsburgh this year and she will be speaking at his hearing this May.
Thank you Alicia - for speaking at our gala, for speaking at this hearing, and for speaking up for all survivors. You are an inspiration!