One thing we can all agree on

is that our children need our protection. This includes children in our communities, those in our extended families, and our own children. Prevention starts with each of us individually.

Darkness to Light is a national non-profit organization committed to ending child sexual abuse. They have published a 7 step guide to protecting our children.

If you do nothing else today, at least read it – it’s only 16 pages. This guide is not a substitute for the advice of professionals. It is only to give you simple, proactive steps to help protect children. A few key parts below:

· Step 5 is to make a plan. First, and perhaps most important in the plan, is how to react. Don’t overreact. Your response to a child trying to tell you about abuse has a powerful influence on their subsequent behavior. They might shut down, change their story, or feel even guiltier. They may even change the account based on your questions, which may give the appearance of having been “coached” and this will be harmful if the case goes to court.

· Step 1 is to learn the facts and understand the risks.

o Experts estimate that 1 in 4 girls, and 1 in 6 boys, are sexually abused before their 18th birthdays.

o The median age for reported sexual abuse is 9 years old.

o Most child victims never report the abuse.

o Sexually abused children who keep it a secret, or who “tell” and are not believed, are at a greater risk for psychological, emotional, social, and physical problems, often lasting into adulthood

o 30-40% are abused by family members

o As many as 60% are abused by people the family trusts

o Nearly 40% are abused by older or larger children

o People who abuse children look like and act like everyone else.

o Approximately 40% of sex offenders report sexual abuse as children.

Those statistics are shocking. My fourth grader is in a class of 28. The stats imply 2 girls and 1 boy have already been abused, and 2 more girls and one more boy will be abused before they’re 18. Taking this one step further, with 28 moms and 28 dads, then 7 moms and 4 dads were abused before they were 18.

If you think that this won’t ever touch you or your local community in some way, then Awareness has not been raised enough.

7 step guide to protecting our children

Darkness to Light

See 1in6 for more info on stats


National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

A Behavioral Analysis

For those in Pennsylvania, use Child Line and Abuse Registry as a resource. Here’s a number you can call 1-800-932-0313.

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