Google it

Having trouble understanding the prevalence of child sexual abuse? Just Google it. By now, you’ve probably heard the statistic that one in 10 children will be sexually abused by the age of 18. For many, seeing this number and actually understanding it are two different things. We hear statistics every day, and at some point we forget that these numbers represent actual children. You may think: Yes, this number is too high. Yes, someone needs to do something about it. I’m glad my children are …

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5 things every parent and youth serving organization must remember from Matthew Sandusky’s courageous interview with Oprah

Last night, Matt Sandusky sat down with Oprah Winfrey for an emotional, eye-opening interview detailing his abuse at the hands of Jerry Sandusky. Oprah promoted the interview as a “must watch” for parents. In addition to parents, everyone in a position or organization that serves youth needs to understand these important messages provided by Matthew’s first-hand account of child sexual abuse: 1. Grooming is a gradual process. “It started from the first moment he met me…when he picked me up for the football game for the …

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We must help teens understand the seriousness of child sexual abuse

Excerpt from THINKPROGRESS In an incident making national headlines, a 16-year-old girl from Texas says that photos of her unconscious body went viral online after she was drugged and raped at a party with her fellow high schoolers. But the victim isn’t backing down. She’s speaking out about what happened to her, telling her story to local press and asking to be identified as Jada. After other teens started mocking her online — sharing images of themselves splayed out on the floor in the same …

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Sandusky appeals his conviction yet again

Every time we think that we’ve heard the last of Jerry Sandusky, another headline appears in the news. Last March, we were subjected to an unnecessary and offensive TODAY Show interview with Dottie Sandusky. And last week, we had to hear the news that Jerry Sandusky is pursuing yet another appeal of his conviction on 45 counts of child sexual abuse. Each time we hear his name, we get angry all over again. Years later, the survivors, families, and entire community this man devastated are …

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The link between holidays and child sexual abuse prevention

We often encourage parents to use holidays like July 4th to spend quality time with kids. This is pretty common advice given by everyone from youth organizations to parenting organizations. But what is the link to child sexual abuse prevention? As parents, you spend a good amount of time making sure your children are protected – from holding their hands when you cross the street to buckling them up into the appropriate car seat as they grow. If you’ve taken D2L’s Stewards of Children training, …

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The truth about child trafficking

When movies or books address the topic of child trafficking, they tend to show it as something that happens in other countries on other continents. The plot of 2008′s Taken involves a 17-year old girl who is kidnapped after she travels to France with a friend, unaccompanied by parents or guardians. The truth is that the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) is much more pervasive than people realize. It affects communities and children across the globe, and in many cases, the perpetrator is not …

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The effects of child sexual abuse don’t end in childhood

The effects of child sexual abuse don’t stop in childhood. Without proper intervention and treatment, this issue can rob children of their potential and lead to life-long consequences affecting both victims and communities. Victims of child sexual abuse are more likely to develop substance abuse problems than those who have not been abused. In fact, adult survivors of child sexual abuse are nearly three times more likely to report substance use problems than non-victims. Mental health issues are a common long-term consequence of child sexual …

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Immediate consequences of child sexual abuse

Child sexual abuse is likely the most prevalent health problem with the most serious array of consequences. As parents and youth serving professionals, it’s important to understand the signs of child sexual abuse. They’re not always readily apparent, but they’re often present. There are several emotional and behavioral issues children immediately face as a result of abuse:   Emotional and Mental Health Problems These are often the first indicators of child sexual abuse. Examples include behavioral problems, physical aggression, non-compliance, anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts. …

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The role of educators in prevention

Educators may be the single most important group in the prevention and recognition of child sexual abuse. Not only do they see and work with large numbers of children every day, but children who disclose abuse often tell a teacher. In fact, educators are the source of over half of the abuse reports made by professionals to the authorities. How can we let sexual abuse happen to our community’s children when there are effective and inexpensive strategies for both prevention and intervention? Training for educators, …

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The need for educational reform

Government agencies and educational institutions constantly work together to develop strategies to improve academic achievement, particularly for children who are disadvantaged. The problem is that in many cases, we are treating a symptom rather than the root issue. Even the best educational strategies mean nothing to a child traumatized by sexual abuse. So how does child sexual abuse relate to academic achievement? The answer might surprise you. Research shows that children who are sexually abused perform at far lower levels than those who haven’t experienced …

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