Personal Healing as a Public Project: Ignacio Rivera’s Story

As child sexual abuse survivors begin to stand up and speak out about their own experiences, they are filling the world with their perspectives. One of those survivors, Ignacio Rivera, hopes to not only share a personal experience with abuse, but amplify the voices of others. Through The HEAL Project, Rivera is giving survivors a platform and encouraging healing. The HEAL Project aims to prevent and end CSA by making visible the hidden tools used to guilt, shame, coerce and inflict violence onto children. The …

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Self-Efficacy: Allowing Children to Take Risks That Matter

At Darkness to Light, we’re in the business of preparing adults to shelter children from sexual abuse. But daily we also remember and embrace that we exist under a much wider tent of child wellbeing, which takes so many forms: Physical wellbeing – like nutrition and fitness Social wellbeing – like community connectedness, social support, and especially family resilience Economic wellbeing – like access to housing, material resources, and quality education Quality of life – like having a safe place to play, and activities that …

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

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. Justice will be done. But we …

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The Relationship Between Pornography, Trafficking, and the Sexual Abuse of Children

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 challenges …

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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 …

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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 …

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Three Touchstones for Healthy Hugging

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 …

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8 Questions For Safer Summer Sleepovers

                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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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