This letter was sent to us after we did a Sexual Abuse Prevention Training with Foster Families thanks to an amazing grant we received from The Paul Palank Memorial Foundation and the Broward County Sheriffs Office. We are posting as a blog so you can read about how effective prevention education can be and the REAL necessity for it. We will reread this when we are overwhelmed and asking ourselves – “Can we really make a difference?” They answer is YES! So please read and pass on so that we can make this world a safer place for all children.
“I want to take a moment to explain what an impact Cherie Benjoseph and her book “My Body is Special and Belongs to ME” had on my family, without breaching the confidentiality of my case. After our training class (on Saturday, 1/28/12) I went home and discussed the book with my kids. They were very engaged and asked a lot of questions about “unsafe touches” as well as actions that made them feel confused and uncomfortable. That night they revealed some additional information to me that was not mentioned before in this case. Five days later (at the most inopportune time I might add) the girls revealed a plethora of incidents that they were exposed to. I believe that without the combination of the book and the “poker face” training and me building a trusting relationship with the girls we may have never gotten to this point.
I can go on all day talking about how much we love these kids and the actions we take to protect them, but we were missing an extremely important element that could have very easily gone unnoticed. I cannot express how grateful I am that these kids will never be part of the statistics that don’t speak up. I don’t know how I would have reacted to receiving what they were telling me if I wasn’t told to have a poker face and reassure them about how brave they are and how happy I was that they felt like they could trust me with that information. They started the conversation shy and uncomfortable and at the end they were smiling and looked as if a huge load was taken off their shoulders. They were proud of themselves. And now they tell me every little thing that ever happens 🙂 I don’t think that there was ever a lack of trust. I feel that perhaps it never dawned on the girls that these things that happened to them were wrong and needed to be reported. Whatever the reason, I plan to read this book to every child I ever come in contact with. I have already shared it with family, coworkers and friends (but I told them that they had to buy their own!). Thanks again! G”