April is Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Awareness Month! What is childhood sexual abuse? Any sexual act between an adult and a minor or between two minors when one exerts power over the other. Forcing, coercing or persuading a child to engage in any type of sexual act. It also includes non-contact acts such as exhibitionism, exposure to pornography, voyeurism and communicating in a sexual manner by phone or Internet. It is a crime punishable by law. Child's safety is an adult's job. Children are often taught how to keep themselves safe from sexual abuse and that's important for them to learn but it's no substitute for adult responsibility. We make sure children wear seat belts. Why, then, would we leave the job of preventing child sexual abuse solely to children? Imagine how difficult it is for a child to say "no" to a parent, a teacher, a coach, youth group leader or older friend. Even the adults we trust to protect children can't always be trusted. Yet, a large percentage of those who groom children with affection and attention, then sexually abuse them, are from this group. Predominately, people we know hurt our kids. This is why programs that focus on adult responsibility are essential. Find a training in your area to attend, to increase your awareness and protect our children.
Suzanne M. Snydar