I caught part of the news show 20/20 tonight and found myself move through a myriad of emotion. Anger, disgust and sorrow mixed together in my gut. I watched and listened as once again a familiar story was told. Sexual abuse of children. This time the perpetrators are swim coaches in the US.
As I listened to people talk about the need for organizations to do a better job of screening I wondered again at the responsibility of parents, relatives, neighbours, COMMUNITIES. Yes…organizations need to do a better job of screening but for a parent to assume that all the checks and balances are in place is naive. Every concerned adult needs to step up and learn how to PREVENT this epidemic.
We find time and money to go to the spa, to enjoy a meal with friends or buy a fancy, overpriced coffee but can’t commit 2.5 hours and about $30.00 to protect the children in our communities. We race to help causes all over the world and yet ignore what happens in our backyards…or in our own homes. We reuse to accept or acknowledge that it is rarely a stranger that abuses these children – 90% of the time they are people known and trusted. Yes. 90%! I am not in any way suggesting that investing in global issues or aid for other countries or indulging in a special treat is wrong – hell no. The world needs our help and treating ourselves is important to our well-being. What I AM saying is that we need to stop ignoring the facts about a taboo subject.
Here are a few points to consider…
- Abusers groom their victims and their families before they act. These are predators. They WILL and DO pull the wool over your eyes.
- Kids don’t know they can say no. They trust. They have no frame of reference. They are taught to obey adults and especially ones that are ‘trusted’ by the family. How does a 6 year old tell ‘uncle Charlie’ or the swimming coach to ‘stop that’!?
- Very few reported incidents are false. Kids don’t lie about this stuff.
You think you have done enough as a parent? Think again. You think the standard ‘criminal background check’ is sufficient? Think again. If a person is pardoned their crime does not show up on their background record. In Canada, criminal record checks are provincial. That means that if the crime was committed in a province other than where the check is being conducted it will not show up! Do you want to assume that all organizations are taking the proper steps to ensure your child’s safety?
The good news is that there are things we can do as adults to protect children and prevent childhood sexual abuse. This is a huge human challenge that can be impacted by collective power. You just need to know what to do. The Stewards of Children program provides you with the tools and information you need.
I’ve released the anger and dealt with the sorrow and disgust that I experienced while watching the show. Using my voice now to prevent CSA.
Want to make arrangements for a workshop? Drop me an email Cynthia@voicefound.ca.