Penn State University faces a national scandal! In 2002, an assistant football coach witnessed a sexual assault of a child, told administrators and no one reported it to police. Seven more assaults have now been reported.
Americans have heard horror stories about sexual assaults by priests, sex traffickers and the growing porn industry. The tragic truth is, children are sexually assaulted at home and in their neighborhoods every day. These children grow up and become parents. Often, the cycle of abuse continues. Americans are paying a high price for their silence.
When children feel powerless, violated and/or unloved, they act out in self-destructive ways. They may turn to drugs, sex, food, cutting, bullying, become an easy victim or join a gang to feel powerful! Around 80 percent of prison inmates were abused as children.
SPEAK UP TO PROTECT CHILDREN!
During the past year, 3 out of 5 children were exposed to violence at home or in their neighborhoods. It is up to citizens to stop this epidemic. If YOU don’t speak up, you are guilty of allowing abuse to continue.
10 things you can do to help stop child abuse.
1. Watch toddlers at play. A child tries to dominate by shoving playmates and crying for a toy. This is normal, childish behavior. Adults must correct children so they mature properly and learn to respect others. Don’t ignore aggressive behavior! Little bullies can become abusers.
2. STAY ALERT! Don’t let anyone hit, slap or verbally abuse a child. Children need protection, attention and encouragement. Adults are role models. Discipline children by taking way privileges but don’t back down or you will teach a child how to manipulate YOU.
3. Peace starts at home! Make a family rule… we treat each other with respect. Bully/victim behavior is learned at home. (25 percent of women and 10 percent of men are in abusive relationship) Verbal, sexual or physical abuse teaches children to be victims and/or bullies.
4. Don’t be your child’s best friend! Undisciplined children become angry when they don’t have the skills to develop positive friends. They may bully or become targets of abuse because they don’t know what else to do. This could lead them toward self-destructive behaviors.
5. Discuss family problems together and allow everyone to have a voice. Children mature and grow strong when they are heard and help solve conflicts, peacefully.
6. Discipline, rules, love, attention and support give children self-confidence. If bullied, they know they are NOT the problem. Self-worth gives children the inner power to stand up to bullies, walk away and report bad behavior.
7. Self-discipline keeps children safe. For example: If I pick a fight with you and you fight back, I am in control. If I pick a fight with you and you walk away, you are in control. Children can develop courage and character by speaking up and standing up to bullies.
8. Does your school have an “anti-bully” policy? Do neighbors work together to stop bullies on the block? Don’t ignore bullies! They can form gangs and make your neighborhood less safe. Don’t tolerate any destructive behavior.
9. BE AN ADVOCATE and get involved! CNN Special, “Bullying: It stops here!” stated, “Social Combat: the new norm for youth.” We must all speak up and work with neighbors to stop bad behavior.
10. Start a movement to help create a safer environment in your school or in your neighborhood. Ask friends to join you. If you want to know what to do and how to do it, check out safekidsnow.com
Speak up to protect children and our future.
Stephanie L. Mann, Crime and Violence Prevention Consultant
Author, 4 national prevention books.