Oprah Broke the Silence…Let’s NOT end it!

Boy…will we miss Oprah! We will especially miss Oprah because she became the empowering voice behind the survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Thanks to Oprah the silence surrounding childhood sexual abuse has been broken. When Oprah came forward years ago and shared her story about being sexually abused as a child, it opened the door to others who believed they were alone in their pain and suffering. Oprah became a friend, a confidant, a role model, to millions of people…”Saying this happened to me…I survived..You can too!”

As Mental Health professional, we know that sharing your personal story is the beginning of the healing process. Oprah, through her sharing, inspired women, men, professional athletes, politicians, Actors, Actresses and musicians to share their stories. As heartbreaking as it is to hear these stories it has helped countless others and has made talking about childhood sexual abuse less taboo.

It seems every day (and maybe it’s just us because keeping children safe from abuse is our life’s work) there is story upon story about yet another child being harmed. It is time for lawmakers, politicians, and the president to realize that every child deserves the right to be safe and to learn the skills to help PREVENT child abuse. We need Prevention Education MANDATED in elementary schools across the nation.

Why? Because as the statistics show 1 out of 3 girls and 1 out of 6 boys will be sexually exploited before their 18th birthday. Every 10 seconds a child is abused. Those numbers are only the children who REPORT and most do not TELL. This is an epidemic and we need to treat it as one by helping all children learn how to keep themselves safe and educate adults on signs, symptoms and appropriate boundaries. Adults need to know what to do if a child comes to them and discloses – which is especially hard when it is someone in the family, as 68% of the time a child is harmed by a family member and 90% of the time it is by someone they know! Adults need to realize with those statistics how hard it is for a child to disclose and how rare it is for a child to lie about abuse…..BELIEVE THEM!!! Your response to their disclosure can make a child feel Powerful or Powerless!

How can we help more children? Continue to break the cycle of silence that prevails around sexual abuse and in doing so, hope others will have the courage to come forward. Make it the norm in your homes, in preschools, elementary schools, house of worship, and among your neighbors to talk with children about the rights they have to keep their bodies safe. Tell children directly that their bodies are special, their bodies belong to them, and touches can be safe or unsafe. Teach children to not keep secrets that make them uncomfortable or confused, and read empowering books with children regarding the rights they have over their bodies. All children would then be receiving the same message: “ There is no topic we cannot discuss – even about sexual abuse.”  When you give children this message,they gain an understanding of the rights they have over their bodies, how to keep themselves safe, and our children become EMPOWERED!! To do this we need to provide all children and adults with Prevention Education.

Our Gut Instinct – always trust your intuition – it is rarely wrong! Think to yourself ‘ what would I want someone to do to protect my child?’ Would you want someone to turn a blind eye or would you want them to protect your child? If you suspect a child is being abused, CALL the authorities…. If you’re not sure what number – call 911 – or your local child abuse hot line. We know from experience that this is not an easy thing to do, fear of the backlash, having self-doubt that your reporting will be helpful or more hurtful to the children, BUT…. We must always err on the side of protecting the child.

Educating ourselves on these issues as parents and even just as good citizens is important. It takes a village to keep children safe. Oprah may be leaving, but the effects of her disclosure and years of talking about child sexual abuse can still have powerful effects of keeping children safe if we all work together. Our book My Body is Special and Belongs to Me! Addresses the issues of Safe and Unsafe touch Secrets, Private Parts, Boundaries and how to get help in a developmentally appropriate, fun and natural way for children to understand. We also included an extensive parent section that can help you in your efforts to educate your children and keep them safe.

All Proceeds from our books go directly to our 501(c) 3 nonprofit to bring prevention education to all families.

Testimonials

"Thank you for giving us the opportunity to be included in the KidSafe program. I highly recommend this program to other schools. We hope that we will be given the same opportunity for our Kindergarten and 2nd grade students to be a part of this wonderful program during the 2016-2017 school year."

Mrs. Keelyn Meselsohn 2nd Grade Teacher/Team Leader Tradewinds Elementary School

"The Safe and Smart Series Book My Body Is Special and Belongs To Me is kept in my middle school clinic and has been a tool that has opened many conversations for me between students that have experienced a difficult situation and were unable to talk about it. Through the illustrations and nonjudgmental verbiage the author has allowed kids permission to share their feelings about invasion of their personal space. Thank you so much."

Nurse Connie, PBC School Nurse 6.8.2016

"I'm so grateful that KidSafe has partnered with my daughter's school.  I learned so much in the parent training--how to recognize potential sexual predator behavior; how to quiz my child about what they would do in different scenarios; and how to explain safe and unsafe touch.  In addition, knowing that my daughter is receiving weekly trainings on these topics gives me great peace of mind.  I have confidence that I can reinforce what she is learning in school in order to prevent her from ever being a victim of such a heinous crime.  Thank you KidSafe for your dedication to protecting our communities' most vulnerable citizens."

Christina Kranick

“It was a normal Saturday and I was at the rink with my 7 and 8 year old. My son asked me if he could use the Men’s Restroom by himself.  Without hesitation, my daughter said,  Absolutely not! I was in KidSafe today and you cannot go to the restroom alone.  It is very important that Mommy is with you.. with us.   I was so proud of my little girl!  We are so blessed to have Debbie Miller at our school teaching our children the importance of safety. Many thanks to you all!  Your program and instruction is absolutely amazing.  Keep up the great work!"  

Tara Henley Admissions Assistant, St. Mark’s Episcopal Church and School, Ft. Lauderdale

I am a parent of two Pine Crest children and I attended your program on Monday night. I just wanted to thank you so very much for the very informative seminar. As hard as it was to hear all of those things, it was very needed. We were thrilled that you were able to come and share that very important information with us and our children. So again...thank you.

Elisa Aronberg

Today’s training was awesome! It was very informative. Sally was a very good resource, she motivated us a lot! We want to pass on this information to parents, teachers and students! Thank you for offering workshops like this. These are tools we use to continue serving our children and families.

Participant from Children’s Services Council of Broward Seminar

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