Dallas celebrities, politicians and citizens came together Thursday to read a list of more than 27,000 names representing the Dallas County children reported abused over the last year.
Dallas Children's Advocacy Center's first "Save Jane" event kicked off at 12 p.m. Thursday in Klyde Warren Park.
To protect the identity of the children, volunteers read the names Jane Doe and John Doe along with the ages of children reported abused. Read straight through, it'll take them more than 24 hours.
"We're hoping they get to see the size of the problem and know that it doesn't only happen in the poorer sections of our community. It happens everywhere in our community," said Dallas Children's Advocacy Center's President and CEO Lynn Davis.
Davis said because stories covering abuse rightfully name the perpetrator instead of the young victim, people often forget about it.
"What we've learned from research is that if you don't put a name with an incident people forget pretty quickly, and we don't want people to forget these kids," said Davis.
That's why they came up with "Save Jane" giving the children of abuse an anonymous face and name in a public setting where people can stop to learn more about the magnitude of the issue.
"I think when you really just stop and consider over 27,000 kids in Dallas County and that every 20 minutes there's a report of child abuse, I think those numbers speak so loudly," said volunteer Anna Harper.
Harper, a foster mom, has seen the effects of abuse first hand. She's also learned through conversations with her friends and neighbors that many Dallasites don't realize how often it's happening.
"The sad thing is the stories that you see on the news aren't one off stories… Not every story is reported. Not every kid is known that this happens to and it's really sad," said Harper.
Harper said she also believes people don't step in to help, because they think fostering is the only way to do so. She hopes "Save Jane" can also show others that's simply not true.
"There are so many ways to help: Donating clothes, donating your time. There's really a place for everybody," said Harper.
Of the 27,000 cases of abuse reported last year, DCAC was able to assist about 8,000 kids. Davis says that means the others may not have gotten the resources they need. He also believes that the true number of children abused could be even higher since research shows the majority of children won't tell someone they've been hurt.
In Texas, you don't have to prove child abuse to legally report it. A suspicion is enough to start an investigation.