As a business working with many young children, it’s vitally important to protect your students and your business from the horror of child sexual abuse. Research shows that people who are sexually violated as children are far more likely to experience psychological problems often lasting into adulthood; devastating effects including Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, depression, suicide, substance abuse, and relationship problems.
While research shows that 10% of all children in the United States will be sexually abused before the age of 18, we rarely hear of cases of sexual abuse. Too often, children are afraid to disclose. 75% of children will not disclose their sexual abuse for at least one year, while 45% of children will not disclose for 5 years. Some children will never tell. Child sexual abuse is this country’s silent epidemic.
An Adult’s Responsibility
Child sexual abuse is not the problem of one region, race, creed, socio-economic status or gender. It impacts every community and every person in America.
That is why it is up to every single adult to keep the children in our lives safe from the horror of child sexual abuse. As parents, aunts, uncles, and guardians we make sure children are in car seats and seat belts. We walk them across busy streets. We ask our teens where they are going and who they will be with; all to keep them safe. And yet, when it comes to the crime of sexual abuse, we often grow silent.
We Can End Child Sexual Abuse
Darkness to Light (D2L) stands ready to help you find the words to have the conversation every family needs to be safe and empowered. The ultimate mission of Darkness to Light, to end childhood sexual abuse, can only be accomplished by sharing the solution of prevention, awareness, and education with more and more people. This, in turn, builds momentum and over time, changes the way our nation and culture cares for, protects, and nurtures children. Being an active participant in the mission to end childhood sexual abuse is one of the most rewarding things we will ever do ― and we cannot do it without you.
We believe that learning the facts about childhood sexual abuse helps prevent it. Talking about it helps prevent it. Getting involved helps prevent it. The truth is, if childhood sexual abuse can be prevented, it can be stopped. That’s why D2L exists — to empower adults through awareness and educational programs to prevent, recognize, and react responsibly to childhood sexual abuse.
Here are some startling statistics and facts around childhood sexual abuse:
- 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men experienced some form of sexual abuse as a child.
- 90% of child sexual abuse is perpetrated by someone the child’s family knows and trusts.
- Youths have higher rates of sexual victimization than adults.
- 70% of ALL sexual abuse occurs to children 17 and under.
The first step is education. I welcome you to download our 15-page guide: 7 Steps to Protecting Our Children. CLICK HERE to access the guide. This is a great resource for you and your staff to learn the facts around child sexual abuse, learn how to recognize abuse, and learn what to do/where to go if you suspect abuse.
To find out more about Darkness to Light, please visit www.D2L.org
Erika Rowell is the Program Support Manager for Darkness to Light (D2L), a national non-profit organization dedicated to the prevention of child sexual abuse. The organization’s sexual abuse prevention training program, Stewards of Children, is taught by more than 3,500 facilitators in all 50 U.S. states and 15 additional countries. For more information on the Darkness to Light Stewards of Children and Partners in Prevention programs, visit www.D2L.org.
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