A celebrity culture worthy of our children

This evening, millions of people around the world will watch the Oscars to celebrate the global gift of storytelling through film.

Many of the films tackle tough, emotionally challenging topics — often with sensitivity, care, and compassion.

What we’re asking, on behalf of the millions of survivors of child sexual abuse in America, is simple: once the curtain goes down on the Oscars, let’s lift the silence on preventing child sexual abuse.

In a saga that has captured recent headlines, Woody Allen’s alleged history of abuse towards his own adopted daughter has divided America — and the film community — over how we, as a society, should talk about victims and alleged abusers.

This conversation misses the key point — prevention isn’t just possible, it’s the most potent strategy to ending the specter of child sexual abuse that tears at the threads of so many American communities.

Imagine if all of the coverage of child sexual abuse allegations in Hollywood focused less on the sordid back and forth — stories that make victims re-live their pain in a horrifying, endless way — and more on what the entertainment industry can do to prevent future tragedies.

The truth is, it can be prevented. Children can’t protect themselves. It is our job as adults to learn the facts, to be able to recognize the signs and to act responsibly.

Numbers make Hollywood go round — production budgets, box office returns, salaries for stars, and how many Oscars line the shelves of prestigious movie houses and actor’s homes.

But for us, only one number matters: 1 in 10 American children will be sexually abused.

With the help of Hollywood and all its star power, let’s work together to prevent that fate and give our kids the picture-perfect childhoods they so richly deserve.

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