Verity is extending our services by introducing an office into Guerneville at the (West County Community Services and Family Service Agency of Sonoma County’s) River Family Service Center located at 16390 Main Street, Guerneville, CA 95446 every Friday from 11am-3pm starting April 6th. No appointment is necessary, drop-ins welcome.Leave a comment
By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF
Pimps are turning to the Internet instead of street corners for the sex trafficking of minors. Just look at the case of this teenage girl in Brooklyn.
Here is a link to the North Bay’s Backpage website, as discussed in the above article. http://northbay.backpage.com/FemaleEscorts/Leave a comment
By Chris Kirchner
Once again, child sexual-abuse allegations have people everywhere shaking their heads in disbelief. Anger and frustration fill the airwaves, news columns, and blogs with questions like “How did this happen?” and “How did it go unreported for so long?”
“Stranger danger” has often been overemphasized by those who would keep children safe from predators. While studies have shown that one in four girls and one in six boys are sexually abused by the age of 18, the sad truth is that 90 percent of victims know the offenders well. They are relatives, friends, neighbors, and, as alleged in the Penn State case, coaches.
Understanding what keeps child victims of sexual abuse silent is easy. They fear that revealing the abuse will bring harm to them or those they love, loss of affection, and punishment. Child sexual abuse is a crime that thrives in a climate of silence, secrecy, and shame. Fear is what offenders count on as they groom their victims.
What is not so easily explained is the silence of adult witnesses to such crimes. But if the problem is a lack of information about how to report such abuse and what will happen as a result, we must make sure that information is more widely known and understood.
When a report of child sexual abuse is made to the police or the Department of Human Services in Philadelphia, there is a partnership in place to ensure the abuse ends, that the child has a safe place to talk about what happened, and that the child and his or her family get all the services they need to start healing. The Philadelphia Children’s Alliance, a nonprofit child advocacy center that responds to allegations of abuse, is part of that partnership.
It is easy to feel powerless and overwhelmed in the face of the headlines. It is harder to turn our anger and frustration into positive action for victimized children.
Here is one positive action we can all agree on. Raise your right hand and repeat after me: “If I see, hear, suspect, or in any way become aware that a child is being abused, I will not keep silent. I will have the courage to help that child break free of the silence, secrecy, and shame that should never define a child’s life.”Leave a comment
Got your attention? Good. Because my point is not that Sesame Street is part of the problem in our epidemic of child abuse. This cherished institution has always been part of the solution. Before it was fashionable, Sesame Street tackled some of society’s most sensitive issues and found a way to talk about them to young children without scaring the bejesus out of them.
So hats off to Sesame Street for doing good by being good.
Some of our other cherished institutions, not so much. The unfolding scandal at Penn State has rocked college football to its foundation. But the real problem isn’t college sports — it’s us. For too long we’ve allowed child abuse to continue in a sick parallel universe while we go about our everyday lives. Even as Penn State continued to wow us on the football field, it allowed a child predator to operate unfettered on its own campus.
But we’ve been down this sordid road before. A respected institution Is revealed to have condoned child abuse and we pretend to be shocked. When asked why he robbed banks, notorious outlaw Willie Sutton replied: “Because that’s where the money is.” It should come as no surprise that sexual predators hang out in places where the kids are.
For nearly a decade, people who could have stopped the abuse at Penn State decided that protecting the university’s reputation and powerhouse football program was more important than protecting young boys from being raped in the shower. An unconscionable truth.
Although university officials acted quickly to contain the scandal once the lid blew by firing its legendary football coach and the school president, it was too little, too late. What makes the Penn State case especially despicable is that the accused sexual predator, a trusted guardian, reached out his hand to give at-risk youth a chance in life, then utterly betrayed them. Instead of turning these fragile lives around, they’ve been damaged even more.
Child abuse victims are 1,030 times more likely to abuse drugs and 740 times more likely to abuse alcohol, according to the Centers for Disease Control. The long-term health care costs associated with child abuse are staggering. Victims are 160 times more likely to be morbidly obese as adults, 220 times more likely to smoke and 1,220 times more likely to commit suicide, which is why the center calls child abuse this nation’s number-one public health crisis. Abused children are 30 percent more likely to commit violent crimes in later life, and are significantly more likely to abuse their own children or beat up their spouses. Aside from lost and wasted lives, child abuse is costing America billions.
How worried should we be? “Child exploitation crimes are exploding,” says US Attorney Barry Grissom, warning that there’s been “an historic rise in the distribution of child pornography, in the number of images shared online, and in the level of violence associated with child exploitation and sexual abuse crimes.” His dismal conclusion: “The only place where the numbers have dropped is in the age of the victims.”
In fact, it’s never been easier to exploit children. Many of our kids have become road kill on the information highway. The United States Attorneys’ Bulletin reports that the evolving Internet has “greatly expanded opportunities for offenders to find and distribute child sexual abuse images and to share with each other their mutual interest in sexually exploiting children.”
Americans may be divided on many issues, but clearly we can all agree our children deserve protection. We need more than just another well-meaning law. There were people at Penn State who were legally mandated to speak out, but stayed silent. Silence is not an option. We each need to take personal responsibility, because child abuse is everybody’s shame.
It’s time to put down your iPad and pay attention to what’s going on around you. If you suspect a child is being abused, step up and have the courage to speak out.Leave a comment
Despite the significant progress made to reduce violence against women since the landmark Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) – authored by then-Senator Biden – was signed into law on September 13, 1994, young women aged 16-24 continue to experience the highest rates of rape and sexual assault. One in five young women will be a victim of sexual assault during college, while one in ten teens have been physically hurt on purpose by a boyfriend or girlfriend in the last year.
“I am asking all of you to help get this message out, all across the country, on every single campus in the country,” the Vice President continues. “I want to know from you…what has your school done to make you feel safer? What could they do that they’re not doing, to make you feel safer? What ideas do you have to help prevent dating violence and sexual assault and make campuses safer for everyone?”
In April, the Vice President announced comprehensive guidance with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to help schools, colleges and universities better understand their obligations under federal civil rights laws to prevent and respond to the problem of campus sexual assault.
CALCASA has received quite a few questions about the Dominique Strauss-Kahn case. As some of you may be dealing with questions or conversations about this in your community, here is a recent blog post to provide support:
http://calcasa.org/publicaffairs/dominique-strauss-kahnLeave a comment