Watch above: A girl from Paul First Nation was found almost unrecognizable after being beaten and sexually assaulted. As Lisa Wolansky reports, the six-year-old is now conscious and receiving support from the community.
EDMONTON – One week after she was found with traumatic injuries from a brutal assault on Paul First Nation, the six-year-old girl known as the “Christmas Angel” is awake and receiving much-needed support from the community.
“There’s just so much love for this little girl, her family and the community. And we want them to know that,” said Glori Meldrum, founder of Little Warriors, a national organization focused on preventing child sexual abuse.
With permission from the young girl’s family, Meldrum visited the girl in hospital on Christmas Day. A sexual assault survivor herself, Meldrum says she wanted to make sure the girl knows how much the community loves her.
“I had the pleasure of dropping off some gifts that we had put together for the little girl, and a handmade quilt and a little doll,” she said Saturday. “It was a very beautiful experience. I got to meet some of the family who are very amazing and very loving.”
Working closely with child victims of sexual abuse, Meldrum often hears stories of abuse, but says this little girl’s experience hit her particularly hard.
“I hear lots of stories all the time, but there’s some that just knock you to the ground, and for me this is one of them. I think because it was so violent and the other piece is I have a daughter her age.
“They’re so small and vulnerable and innocent, and what they should be worrying about is just being kids and having fun and enjoying Christmas.”
The six-year-old, who is not being identified, was found on the Paul First Nation last Saturday. A family member told Global News the child was beaten in the head and throat beyond recognition. She was airlifted to an Edmonton hospital in critical condition.
Over the past week the girl’s condition has improved, though. Earlier this week a family spokesperson said the girl was awake, calling her recovery “positive.”
Monique Bulmer, who lives on Saskatchewan’s Mistawasis First Nation and has a friend on Paul First Nation, went with Meldrum to visit the little girl on Christmas Day. Bulmer says the girl is off life support.
“The little girl is conscious now,” she said. “She’s gaining back her strength.”
The girl’s traumatic experience has impacted people across the country and North America, who have contacted Meldrum to offer their help. As a result, Meldrum and Bulmer are collecting items for the girl, her family and the hundreds of other children on Paul First Nation who have been impacted by the violence.
The women are collecting Safeway gift cards, Walmart gift cards, gas gift cards and toys for children 12 and under.
“We just want to make sure the family doesn’t have to worry about other things. They can just focus on their little girl,” said Meldrum. “And we want to show them how much our city and our country loves and supports the little girl and the family.”
James Clifford Paul, 21, has been arrested and charged with attempted murder, aggravated sexual assault and kidnapping in the case.
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