It’s unfortunate that it takes national headlines to get people talking about a problem that is all too prevalent in our society but we can take advantage of this opportunity to shine the light on the issue of child sexual abuse and recognize that we all have a responsibility to protect children.
- We’ve learned that this issue is not about big universities, celebrity, or the Catholic Church. It’s not about reputations, or legacies or any one institution. This issue is about children.
- We’ve learned that we have to step into the reality that there are people in our midst that would rob children of their innocence and they are people we know and trust. They will go out of their way to appear above reproach and they will infiltrate our families and organizations where they can have easy access to children.
- We’ve learned that it takes tremendous courage for children and adults that have been abused to come forward. We must support and honor this courage and work together to ensure their story is not handed down to other innocent children.
- We’ve learned that child safety is the job of an adult. Teaching children how to keep themselves safe from abuse is important, but adults bear the burden of stepping up and speaking out when something doesn’t look or feel right with respect to the wellbeing of a child. We’ve learned that it may or may not be our legal responsibility as mandated reporters depending on where we live but morally it is the right thing to do. If you see something or suspect abuse, call the police.
- We’ve learned that the ramifications of not acting responsibly are clear. More abuse occurs, more children are harmed, fewer children get the help they so deserve. To be silent bystanders is to be complicit in its occurrance and wake. To intervene is to ensure that a child is treated and supported, that they are healed and better protected from potential lifelong hardships of trauma.
- We’ve learned that child sexual abuse is preventable. We can learn the facts, we can acknowledge the reality, we can talk to others adults, we can ensure youth serving organizations have comprehensive child protection policy, and we can talk to our children. Awareness and education is the answer.
- The fight against child abuse cannot be the job of one agency; it has to be a collaborative effort. It will take all of us to change culture–to one where engaged adults offer no place for a perpetrator to commit their heinous acts and no access to children.
- We can be stuck in the shock and horror of what happened at Penn State staying focused on who knew what and when or we can pledge right now to stay focused on the things we can do today that better protect children. Let Penn State serve as a wake-up call. Will we stay vigilant or will we again become complacent when the smoke clears?
** This article came from the Darkness to Light website which is www.d2l.org. If you would like more information about how you or your organization can take an active stand against child sexual abuse, call Audrea at 402-379-2026 to learn how.