Dropped and Dismissed: Seeking Justice and Accountability For Child Sexual Abuse Victims

[caption id="attachment_6810" align="alignleft" width="640"]Tennessee Watson Tennessee Watson. Photo by Kate Patterson for IRW.[/caption] Reporting child sexual abuse can be a monumental hurdle for survivors, but what happens once it's reported? What happens when the victims come forward, but the justice system isn't prepared or willing to do what needs to be done to prosecute perpetrators? Recently, Tennessee Watson shared her story, a story that many child sexual abuse victims may know all too well. "People who are victims of this kind of abuse often hear a refrain: Come forward and name your abuser....
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The Demographic Both Party Platforms Missed: Child Sex Abuse Victims

Photo by DonkeyHotey via Flickr.com CC This piece first appeared here and is reprinted with permission.  The wild ride of this year’s presidential election has left many looking for landmarks that will guide their choice for the next president. One place to figure out who stands for what lies in the 2016 Republican and Democratic Platforms. So I decided to explore how each party deals with children. It would not have been irrational to assume that this would be the year when the epidemic of child sex abuse might find its way...
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Delaware Announces New Mandate for Child Sexual Abuse Awareness and Prevention in Schools

The state of Delaware continues to be a leader in child sexual abuse prevention. The state has joined more than 25 states that require prevention and awareness training for school officials, teachers and parents. The legislation, which was signed on August 10th by Gov. Jack Markell, requires Delaware public schools to implement a curriculum to educate employees and parents of children in pre-kindergarten through grade six about personal body safety and child sexual abuse. The new law also provides for parental notification of the curriculum and requires school districts to report annually on implementation. [caption id="attachment_6773" align="alignleft" width="640"]...
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The Relationship Between Pornography, Trafficking, and the Sexual Abuse of Children

Two-Minutes-Header As part of our Two Minutes for Prevention series, Stewards of Children® author Paula Sellars provides additional insights and experience about the topic covered in the video below. I’ve been working in the field of child sexual abuse recovery and prevention for about 28 years. For reasons I don’t entirely understand, the subject of child pornography and commercial sexual exploitation of children grinds my gears like no other dimension of the work. So it is particularly challenging for me to write this post. It...
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The Factor of the Matter: Providing Support to Children

We recently made a mistake, and we want to make good on it. On the Darkness to Light Facebook page, we offer awareness-building statistics on “Fact Fridays.” We usually post them as stand-alone facts that grab attention and give some quick education. This was our post a few weeks ago: Children living without either parent (foster children) are 10 times more likely to be sexually abused than children living with both biological parents.  Children who live with a single parent who has a live-in partner are at the highest risk; they are 20 times more likely to be victims of...
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Healing Through Art: Jenna Rose Simon’s Story

Jenna Rose Simon had been drawing for years before one of her pieces went viral on social media. Ever since, she has been sharing her gift with the world via her online platforms. Her art, which began as a way to find her voice as a survivor of abuse, subsequently gave a voice to other survivors. She recognizes that her art can be triggering, both for herself and viewers. Please be aware that some of her art accompanies this article and deals with the issue of child sexual abuse in a direct manner and therefore may be upsetting. Darkness to...
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Three Touchstones for Healthy Hugging

Two-Minutes-Header As part of our Two Minutes for Prevention series, Stewards of Children® author Paula Sellars provides additional insights and experience about the topic covered in the video below.  Nothing feels more natural than to hug the ones we love. Especially children. And hugs are healthy physically and emotionally, for the giver and the receiver. Think of the many contexts in which we may hug someone:
  • To greet close friends and family
  • As a goodbye
  • To console and comfort
  • Congratulating a job well done
  • Giving affection in your intimate relationship
  • Celebrating a victory
  • Saying
...
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8 Questions For Safer Summer Sleepovers

D2L-Sleepovers-Header                 Several of us at Darkness to Light have kids and lately we’ve been talking a lot about sleepovers. It’s summer so just about every week sleepovers and slumber parties are on the list of possible activities. Some in the child sexual abuse prevention field would say that eliminating sleepovers altogether is a fail-safe way of preventing abuse that might otherwise take place during a sleepover. And definitely that’s a parent or caregiver’s prerogative; we always support prioritizing child safety. But sleepovers are one of the exciting joys of childhood, and...
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Active Bystanding in Families: How To Approach It

  Without safety, without happiness, without trust, without love, ‘family’ is but a shell. Last week we talked about active bystanding in families and the uncertainty it can create. We explored the prospect of what we may have to lose when we confront child sexual abuse or boundary violations in a family and why on earth we would do it. We sought that which was even more valuable than family cohesion, security, history, and tradition. And we discovered that it was perhaps on behalf of family unity and family well-being that we protect a child. Or that maybe it is as simple...
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Holding a “Breaking the Silence” Screening – Thoughts From a Facilitator

“It was the easiest thing to do. It’s a natural way to introduce not only the issue of child sexual abuse to the community, but Stewards of Children® and Darkness to Light too."

Tracy Leonard, SCAN of Northern Virginia


Tracy Leonard of SCAN shared with Darkness to Light about the successful screenings of Breaking the Silence that she conducted last month in the cities of Ashburn and Alexandria, Virginia. She felt that the events worked well because they were an excellent way to promote prevention education in her community, and to get commitments from key...
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