Penn State Sexual Abuse Conference – A Step In The Right Direction!

Penn State took its first proactive public step in the healing process since the Sandusky sex abuse scandal broke a year ago and held a 2 day Sexual Abuse Awareness and Prevention Conference. The lineup of presenters specializing in the issue came from across the nation,  addressing an audience of 500 like-minded individuals,  was a testament that this is by no means a new issue – and if anything it needs all of our dire attention to make a dent in this epidemic. 

 

 

KidSafe attended this first annual event as exhibitors giving us the opportunity to hear all of the speakers while also meeting hundreds of participants and having the opportunity to speak about Sexual Abuse Prevention. At this event there was an extraordinary group of survivors from across the country, male and female, young and older who joined this conference to support the message of prevention and healing. Although all of their stories of abuse are unique there was one continuous thread – their abuser was always a known and trusted adult, often a family member. They noted to us from the point of view of a survivor – there was much discussion at the conference about treatment for victims and non-offending family members (all much needed), and even discussion of treatment for offenders (controversial topic among many, especially survivors), but they wanted to see more dynamic movement on Prevention pieces. We often hear from survivors that if people knew what to look for – the signs of a child being abused and the signs, red flags, from the adult offender behavior – more children could be saved earlier on.

 

 

One survivor and CEO of VOICE TODAY Angela Williams, states “I believe adults need to take responsibility for the protection of children through education.  A trained, conscientious and vigilant society puts the predator on notice and gives the child a community of safe people to watch over them.   My dream is that one day this silent epidemic will be exposed, leaving no place for a perpetrator to hide.”

Some tips Angela shared in her book, From Sorrows to Sapphires:

  1. Monitor one on one time with adults

  2. Drop in unexpectedly and ask how the visit went.

  3. Learn how to ask a difficult but vital question: “Has anyone ever touched your private parts?”

  4. Monitor online internet use and keep computers in a central public location.

  5. Listen for non-verbal signs and recognize behavioral changes.

  6. Believe your child and report offenders, child sexual abuse is a crime in all states.



So what did we “Learn” from this conference?  We learned that so many people continue to suffer in silence. We learned that we need to work harder to spread awareness about the epidemic of child abuse. We learned that there are so many incredible people doing extraordinary work to help prevent child abuse. We learned that although many survivors who received help are healing – just as many are not. We learned that this conference was just a drop in the bucket – and we need nationwide prevention education standards – mandated for all adults who work with or even in the vicinity of children.

For more information about preventing child sexual abuse visit

www.kidsafefoundation.org.

www.VoiceToday.org

 

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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