By: James M. Hmurovich, President & CEO, Prevent Child AbuseAmerica
Now that Jerry Sandusky has been found guilty of child sexual abuse, the question before us as a nation is: What have we learned?
We have learned that communities are prepared to come together and support healthy, happy childhoods and the prevention of child sexual abuse before it ever occurs. We have learned that policymakers both local and federal now better understand that the laws in place are inadequate if we are going to prevent child sexual abuse from ever occuring. And we have learned that as a country the impact of child sexual abuse remains far more reaching than most of us were able to acknowledge, or even understand, before the Sandusky scandal happened.
We have also learned that all adults must play an active role in the lives of the children who live in their neighborhoods and communities if we are to ensure that child sexual abuse is prevented.
To accomplish this we must:
- Learn about the grooming techniques of perpetrators and how to recognize the signs of abuse;
- Let our children, all of our children, know that we are interested in who they play with; where, and how, they spend their time; and what’s going on in their lives;
- Begin a dialogue with children and their parents focused on healthy sexuality at the age-appropriate time;
- Minimize one-on-one contact between adults and children;
- Advocate for innovative, evidence-based child sexual abuse prevention policies at all levels of government; and,
- Trust our best insticts when we believe abuse is occuring and report it.
What Have We Learned?
We have learned that what happened at Penn State is a terrible tragedy for those who were victimized and silenced, but that it doesn’t have to be the whole story. We as a nation can, and must, prevent this kind of abuse from occuring to future generations because at the very least all of our children deserve happy and healthy childhoods, free of abuse.
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James M. Hmurovich, President & CEO, Prevent Child AbuseAmerica
Website – www.preventchildabuse.org