Remove the Tape, speak up for child abuse campaign

A local photographer is creating powerful images to help raise awareness of child abuse in Gaston County.

GASTONIA, N.C. -- Gaston County's Department of Health and Human Services launched a new campaign to encourage people to know the signs of possible child abuse and to report it to authorities.

Entitled "Remove the Tape," the initiative was launched this April, which has been recognized as Child Abuse Awareness Month.

The highlight of the campaign are headshots of people whose mouths are covered in tape.

Garin Hyde took the photos and said they symbolize an individual's frequent hesitation to report suspected child abuse.

"[The goal is] to grab the attention of people and not just have them pass by while they barely read it," Hyde said.

Gaston County Department of Health and Human Services' Melanie Lowrance said the county investigates about 200 reports of child abuse every month.

She hopes the images will encourage more people to speak up if they suspect abuse.

"Obviously the images with the tape over the mouth are something that jump out of you," she said. "Something that grabs your attention."

Hyde said the images also have personal meaning to him: he said he was molested at a camp when he was a teenager.

He said the campaign allowed him to open up to his parents about his abuse.

"It was really interesting for them to be able to look at me and say, 'Wow, our son is pretty bold and brave to be able to do something like this,'" Hyde said.

For more information on the campaign, visit Remove the Tape's Facebook page.

© 2017 WCNC.COM


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