A Story of Pain, Healing, and Hope

posted Sep 19, 2017, 2:37 PM by Bridget Derkash   [ updated Sep 22, 2017, 8:29 AM ]

Child abuse knows no demographic; no gender, race, or socioeconomic status.  It is difficult to think about, even harder to talk about, yet it affects millions of children every year. 

River Bridge is excited to bring Marilyn Van Derbur to Edwards on Wednesday, October 11th, 2017. Marilyn’s story shows us that child abuse can happen in any home and teaches us the power of breaking the silence.  The power for a child to come forward and talk about abuse, the power to overcome, survive, and stand without stigma, and the power to prevent abuse from happening to other children. 

Marilyn Van Derbur’s family was a part of Denver’s elite.  Her father was a millionaire socialite and pillar of the Denver community.  He served as the president of the Denver Area Boy Scout Council and helped establish Denver’s Cleo Wallace Village for Handicapped Children.  Marilyn, the youngest of four, was a beautiful, straight-A student, and champion AAU swimmer. From the time she was 5-years-old to 18, her father sexually violated her.   


In an interview with People Magazine, Marilyn explains, “People ask me why I didn’t tell what was happening to me.  It was because I perceived no way out. A young child tells on her father and what happens?  She’s taken away from her family. Her father goes to jail. The family is destroyed, and the message is, ‘It’s all your fault’.”

The pain that child abuse causes is not just in the moment of the act, but the long-lasting psychological impacts that it can have.  Marilyn talks about physical paralysis, acute anxiety, and profound struggles in relationships. 

Marilyn’s message, though raw and emotional, is one of healing.  “It’s the secrets and the shame that keep us shackled,” says Marilyn in an interview for San Luis Valley Health.  “Everyone needs a safe person that they can turn to.”   

Marilyn held her secret for most of her life, believing that there was no one she could tell.  “When you have an advocacy center and can go somewhere where people can believe you that makes the difference.  Just having that support can start a healing process that brought down my life at age 45.  You don’t have to live that way if you can work through it as a child.”

Therapy for child abuse survivors can be relatively short term.  With a trained professional who focuses on abuse and trauma, children and teens can regain their lives while they are still kids.  

To stop abuse, as a community we need to talk about it.  We need children and survivors to know that they can talk about their abuse and that there are people who are listening and who can help.

This is a small introduction to Marilyn’s Story.  I hope you can join us not only to hear all of Marilyn’s inspirational and moving talk but to help support children in our community.  We hope to spread awareness that there is a way out, that abuse does happen, and together we can stop it. 

Help support River Bridge and our community by attending our Marilyn Van Derbur event in Edwards on October 11th, 2017 at 5:30. 

Marilyn Van Derbur

For more information and tickets follow this link

Where Silence Ends
Healing Begins