In a video released Tuesday, the actress and activist Dolly Parton discusses the importance of having her voice heard in her own story.
Parton, who died in 2012, is the founder of the National Council of Anti-Violence Programs and co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement.
She was an activist in the civil rights movement and also a mother of two who became an advocate for children.
In her video, Parton tells the story of her son, Jesse, who was abused at age 5 by his father.
Jesse was adopted by a couple and they were abusive toward him, she said.
Parton said he suffered emotional, physical and sexual abuse.
She said he became addicted to pain medication and began to have problems with his eyesight.
Partons voice is often heard in court cases and in discussions about the epidemic of child abuse.
The United Nations calls child abuse a global scourge, and the International Center for Missing and Exploited Children (ICMEC) says it is estimated that more than 5 million children are being sexually and physically abused every year.
Partono’s video, titled “Pledge to change,” is part of the “Pray for Jesse” campaign launched by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
In the video, the archbishop of Los Angeles calls on the nation to pledge its support for the advocacy of the abused child and calls for the passage of legislation to end institutional child abuse and the criminalization of child sexual abuse in the United State.
In his video, Francis asks Parton to take the lead in changing the criminal justice system for child sexual exploitation, including by increasing the penalties for perpetrators of the crime and reducing the stigma attached to child sexual offenses.
In a statement, the USCCB said it has received “over 500,000 calls” to its website and email list from people across the nation asking to help end child sexual violence and help bring the perpetrators to justice.
The USCCF has also partnered with the Office of National Drug Control Policy to work with states to make changes in child abuse laws, including criminalizing the crime of sexual abuse, and ending the criminal penalty for child molestation.
Partont, who received an Emmy for her performance in the 1977 film “Ida,” is survived by her husband, actor Michael Parton; two sons, Danny and David; and two daughters, Shani and Shania.