School Age     Teens    

Don’t talk to your children at your own peril



I understand that talking to your kids about child abuse is not like reading a bedtime story.

                                                                                                                                   
Talking to your kids about child abuse is not like reading a bedtime story. But the topic must be discussed. I know what many will say. “It can’t happen in my family.” Or “It happened when I was young but I’m over it.”

 

And then there are others who have been abused but have never talked about it. Maybe there is shame involved, and you feel all alone. Or maybe you grew up thinking. “Okay it happened and now I’m a grown up.”

 

It’s time we realized that sex abuse is a pervasive problem in our society. It happens to the rich and the poor, to those who are educated as well as school dropouts, to the employed and unemployed. It leaves no group of people untouched.

 

Did you know that one in four girls are abused? And one in six boys. The numbers are staggering. If this issue affects so many of us, why are we not talking about it?

 

Meet Anne Lee, CEO of Darkness to Light (www.darkness2light.org). The group’s mission is to raise awareness of the prevalence and consequences of child sex abuse.

 

Q: Why is it so hard to get people to talk about child sex abuse prevention?

 

A: We, as a society, don’t do more because it is a tough issue to talk about. We need to mobilize both individuals and communities to talk about the people who are abusing and the effect it is having on all of us. We must create opportunities to talk about it.

 

Take ‘pop culture’ as an example. There are songs kids listen to that hit on women. Do parents talk about that with their children? When all the media was talking about Tiger Woods’ problems, kids probably heard about it too. Was it discussed in your house? What about the scandal in Ireland which revealed that priests and nuns had covered up extensive sexual abuse against children?

You can’t be with your kids 24 hours a day. So it is important to talk about these sensitive issues now. Not talking about it is the core reason why sexual violence happens.

 

Next time there are six or more people together, ask what they know about sex abuse. You will be amazed what you will hear when you give people permission to talk about it. We need to create environments where people feel comfortable in sharing.

 

We thank Anne Lee for her information, Hudson Valley Parent will be creating more opportunities for dialog. In the coming months, we hope to sponsor Parent’s Night Out programs. If you want to share information with me call me at 845-562-3606 or email me at publisher@excitingread.com.

 
You can also read the complete interview with Anne Lee.