"Not addressing the elephant in the room doesn't make it go away. It actually perpetuates the problem. We must be willing to break through the silence and shame and start talking about child sexual abuse," encouraged Child Advocacy Center Community Education Coordinator Brittnie Noble. "This is the only way to prevent it from happening to our children."
Darkness to Light has 5 Steps to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse
Step 1: Learn the Facts
Experts estimate that 1 in 10 children will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday. 90% of child sexual abuse victims know their abusers.
Step 2: Minimize Opportunity
80% of child sexual abuse cases occur in isolated one-on-one situations. If you eliminate one-on-one situations, you significantly reduce the risk of abuse.
Step 3: Talk About It
One of the best protections against child sexual abuse is our relationship with our children. Have open conversations about bodies, sex, and boundaries. Start early and talk often.
Step 4: Recognize the Signs
Most signs are not always obvious. Most often signs are associated with emotional and behavioral problems like unexplained anger, withdrawal, and rebellion.
Step 5: React Responsibly
Disclosure, discovery, and suspicions of sexual abuse provide opportunities to intervene on behalf of a child. You are not making an accusation when you make a report; you are activating the Child Protective Investigative Team and taking the first step toward helping a child heal from the trauma.
In September 2012, the Child Advocacy Center began utilizing the Darkness to Light child sexual abuse prevention program to train parents, grandparents, and professionals how to prevent children from are being sexually abused and what to do if a child discloses sexual abuse to them. In the last 7 years, the Child Advocacy Center has trained over 10,900 adults how to protect children from child sexual abuse.
"Child sexual abuse is every parents' worst nightmare," said Child Advocacy Center director Sharon De Boer. "For more information on how to protect your children and grandchildren from child sexual abuse attend a free Darkness to Light training or bring a Darkness to Light training to your church, school, PTO, or civic group."
For information on training dates, times, and locations contact Brittnie Noble at the Child Advocacy Center at 615-867-9000 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo: Darkness to Light training.