Building a community of strong future leaders is imperative. During National Child Abuse Prevention Month in April, awareness is raised about the prevention of child abuse and neglect. Unfortunately, not every child escapes child abuse unscathed.
According to the Children’s Bureau (Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Administration for Children and Families) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “For FFY [federal fiscal year] 2021, 51 states reported 588,229 victims of child abuse and neglect.”
Latarsha Haughton can relate to unfortunate mistreatment that some children face at the hands of a parent.
Haughton—a business owner, minister, author of “Breaking the Silence,” certified transformational strategist and nonprofit leader— originally hails from Baltimore. She now educates others about the incidence of trauma, using her own life as a candid launching point.
“I was sexually abused by my biological father and I conceived a son from that abuse,” Haughton said.
Haughton revealed that she was afraid to admit to anyone what her father did to her. Receiving backlash from family added to her fearfulness. Haughton tried to mask events through wearing a smile. She also stated that her father, who is now deceased, even made her snort cocaine.
Writing letters and asking people to forgive her are some elements of her book that intertwine with various aspects of Haughton’s journey in life, including her decision to keep the circumstances of her child’s birth quiet. Haughton said that she became a mother at the age of 18.
“I never wanted anybody to know this dirty secret. I accused another person of being a father. I talked about this in my book,” Haughton explained.
She described her son as “intellectually disabled” He needs 24-hour care. Nevertheless, Haughton has not submitted to defeat. Healing is a part of her story, too.
“When you heal a part of you, you are also healing those around you. When you don’t heal, you bleed on all of those that are around you and you hurt them as well,” Haughton said.
Seeking professional help in her forties was sparked by what Haughton described as “a very emotional abusive marriage.” A therapist assisted her with understanding the normalization of trauma when a person is used to it.
After a sexual trauma therapist was recommended to her, the professional assisted her for eight years. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy is a technique that helped Haughton to emotionally free herself. It involves “recalling a specific troublesome experience while following a side-to-side visual stimulus delivered by the therapist,” per information provided by Psychology Today.
With the help of God, prayer and therapy, Haughton’s life took a positive turn. Not only did Haughton decide to divulge her story publicly, but she also created Breaking the Silence…Healing the Pain nonprofit, a 12 Steps to Self-Love Coaching Program and an annual, faith-based conference. Haughton has been holding these events since 2016.
The upcoming “Release the Baggage 2.0” Conference will be held at the Sheraton Baltimore North, located at 903 Dulaney Valley Rd. in Towson, Maryland on April 22, 2023 from 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. It was designed to enable male and female attendees to break the cycle of their silence about childhood trauma. Participants will also be encouraged to release unresolved emotional baggage from past, painful experiences. Attendees do not have to be affected by sexual abuse to attend the event. Four courageous women will also be honored.
Releasing her own baggage has been a blessing to Haughton.
“Everything that God blessed me with, all of the gifts, all that I have and my creativity is all manifesting because I was able to release that garbage,” Haughton said. “I don’t feel the bondage of shame anymore.”
LàShaun J P McNicholas is based in Florida. McNicholas said that Haughton’s Just As I Am: 12 Steps to Self-Love Program helped her. She stated that she suffered years of trauma from sexual abuse from family members, self-abuse and her oldest son’s death.
“The program helped me to know I am enough. I am special. Sadly, I am not alone in the traumatic things I had experienced,” McNicholas said. “God blessed me to release some very heavy loads of baggage that I have been carrying for so long. I am forever grateful!”
Haughton wants future conference attendees to achieve their best potential and get unstuck.
“When you walk out of this conference, I want you to release those things that hinder you. It will wake up something inside of you,” Haughton said.
Please visit www.latarshahaughton.com and https://www.eventbrite.com/e/release-the-baggage-20-tickets-535296495227 to obtain more details about Haughton and the upcoming conference. Advance registration is required.