This week’s Blog post is dedicated to the people and organizations that help heal sexual abuse survivors and provides training to prevent sexual abuse. It has taken me 47 years to get enough courage to say publicly that I am sexual abuse survivor. In the fall of 2010 I finally went to visit the Georgia Center for Child Advocacy. Before that visit I avoided any thing or any place that dealt with childhood sexual abuse. In the past I thought if I never said it out loud or visited a place that dealt with childhood sexual abuse, it never really happened to me. Even though I suffered for 47 years in silence, staying silence was what I thought was best. I have learned in the last year that sharing my story not only helped other survivors, but has been healing for me. Please take time to read the information below and please watch the 2 minute YouTube video. It is inspiring and shares some information that you might find helpful. I pray to God daily to guide my steps on how I can help other survivors heal. We can do more than survive, we can thrive. God’s grace and guidance is helping me have the courage to become free from my past and share my story when asked to help others heal. I have provided some information below that I have found helpful, and I hope you will too. Please read and share the information with others.
Child sexual abuse is likely the most prevalent health problem children face with the most serious array of consequences. The media is filled with accounts of child sexual abuse, in families, and in organizations. Children brave terrible abuses alone, with no protection. Sexual abuse is committed by adults and by youth against other youth. No youth environment, race, religion, or economic class is free of child sexual abuse. As a society, we often lack the ability to recognize signs. We haven’t known enough about it to prevent it. Sometimes people have denied it, and missed opportunities for courage. Some people have actively covered up sexual abuse at the expense of our children. Across generations, children have carried the weight of sexual abuse, often by themselves.
However, prevention of child sexual abuse is possible and necessary to end this epidemic. Whether as a parent, a volunteer or a youth-serving professional, every adult who has responsibility for children should be trained on how to prevent child sexual abuse from happening and how to react skillfully if it occurs. And, as a survivor of sexual abuse taking training may provide affirmation and empowerment. Darkness to Light’s Stewards of Children (http://www.d2l.org/site/c.4dICIJOkGcISE/b.6243681/k.86C/Child_Sexual_Abuse_Prevention_Training.htm) training, developed in 2004, is the only internationally-available sexual abuse prevention program scientifically proven to increase knowledge, improve attitudes, and change child-protective behaviors. Last month, Darkness to Light released a NEW version of Stewards of Children featuring updated statistics and a training video with new survivors sharing their stories of healing and experts providing prevention education. I have been featured as one of the survivors on the film. On September 26th I will be honored at the Red Carpet Premiere of the new program in Charleston, SC. Watch this 2-minute clip http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=AOd0b7S4p6o.
We are fortunate in Georgia to have the Georgia Center for Child Advocacy (www.georgiacenterforchildadvocacy.org) leading a statewide sexual abuse prevention initiative to bring the Stewards of Children training to every adult and institution that serves children in the state. In just seven years they have trained over 37,000 adults to minimize the opportunity for abuse within a variety of settings, to talk to children about their bodies and sexual boundaries, to recognize signs of abuse and to react responsibly. Contact the Georgia Center for Child Advocacy, firstname.lastname@example.org or (678) 904-2880 to find a training session in your area, to schedule one for your group/organization or to become a facilitator of the program.
The Stewards of Children training is available in all 50 states and in 16 countries. It is also available online and in Spanish. Wherever you are, find a Stewards training in your area or go online. It will be the most important 2 hours you spend learning to protect the children in your life. http://www.D2L.org
Enjoy some recent sunset pictures and a current project we are building. Architecture and construction helps in my healing. Nothing like constructing a new building or renovating the old and making it new. That is my life, rebuilding something new and better. Keep going for your dreams and never give up your faith or hope. Life is great.
Be an empowered adult. Take the training.