Five Things You Can Do TODAY In Response to the Duggar Sexual Abuse Scandal

Posted: May 27, 2015 in Uncategorized
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Thursday afternoon my Facebook feed blew up with news about the Duggar molestation scandal. Just like a lot of America I spent the next couple of days reading headlines and blogs of varied opinions about this unfolding drama. Child sexual abuse is a terrible misfortune that many of our nation’s children innocently face daily. Unfortunately, we still live in an age where sexual abuse is under-reported and, in many instances, swept under the carpet. I do not know if that’s what happened with the Duggar family. I’m much more concerned about the thousands of children who are presently living through the shame and terror of sexual abuse even as I write these words. Stories of this nature uncover deep emotions which is why we’ve seen a plethora of strong opinions on social media. Putting all differences aside, I’m sure we can all agree that a tragedy has occurred anytime a child is sexually abused.  So how do we take a headline of this nature and use it in a positive way? I want to leave you with five things that you can do starting TODAY that will make a difference in children’s lives and move us closer to a vision of eradicating child sexual abuse.

1. Know the signs and symptoms of child sexual abuse.

Prevent Child Abuse America (with state chapters) is a great resource. The following link takes you to a brochure: Preventing Child Sexual Abuse: http://www.preventchildabuse.org/images/docs/sexualabusebrochure.final.pdf. There’s a variety of other resources available as well.

Contact the National Exchange Club. Their project of prevention of child abuse began in 1979. They will be able to connect you with local family centers that can teach you the signs and symptoms. Tennessee’s Exchange Club Family Center’s contact is: http://www.familycentertn.org/.

2. Find Stewards of Children training in your area or take it online: http://www.d2l.org/site/c.4dICIJOkGcISE/b.6035035/k.8258/Prevent_Child_Sexual_Abuse.htm#.VWU9EM9Viko. This is national program through an organization called Darkness to Light. You could also consider hosting a Stewards of Children workshop in your area. Take a minute and review their website. I’ve copied their “About Us” below:

We Believe Overcoming child sexual abuse requires us to change the rules, systems, and structures surrounding children so that the potential of every child can be realized.When prevention is a priority, only then can we eliminate child sexual abuse.

Our Commitment We will equip adults and organizations with the knowledge and skill needed to effectively protect children from sexual abuse TODAY. We will empower people to act in the best interest of children.

What We Do We challenge the notion of child sexual abuse as a societal taboo by encouraging communities to talk about risk, prevention, and child protection.We address the urgent need for education that protects children and provides a catalyst for broader societal change.We enable youth serving professionals, child advocates, parents, and communities to apply knowledge and skill to child protection, allowing them to become a dynamic force.When people have the knowledge and skill to stand up for children…and when they are empowered to overcome the fear, denial, stigma, and obstacles around standing up for children, they WILL choose the child.

3. Familiarize yourself with the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study. This research was gathered to assess associations between child maltreatment and health and well-being in later life. Review the information on children and toxic stress:  http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/acestudy/. You can also check out this fantastic TED talk by Nadine Burke Harris on the ACE study: https://www.ted.com/talks/nadine_burke_harris_how_childhood_trauma_affects_health_across_a_lifetime.

4. Know the child abuse reporting law in your state and report suspected child abuse. The following is the law for the TN area:  Tennessee law requires all persons must report suspected cases of child abuse or neglect. To report child abuse in Tennessee, call the Department of Children’s Services’ Central Intake at 1-877-237-0004.

5. Be a good neighbor. I love the verse form the bible, “love your neighbor as yourself.” Recently I heard a preacher ask, “who is your neighbor?” He answered, “Anyone that crosses your path.” Read more in Luke 10:29-37. It’s a beautiful story. Childhood is a special and unique time. Let’s do everything we can to be a good neighbor to the children that cross our path.

When prevention is a priority, only then can we eliminate child sexual abuse.”(Darkness to Light)

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