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My Letter to Michelle Obama by Amy J. Matthews…

October 28, 2012 1 comment

Dear Mrs. Obama:

I am writing to you today because I respect you very much, and I know how important both the issues of Domestic Violence and the right of everyone to have Affordable Health Care are to you.

I want to introduce you to an amazing woman and advocate Susan Murphy- Milano. Susan is currently dying of Cancer due to the lack of Health Insurance. Everywhere she applied for help turned her down and she was informed that she did not qualify for their services. I know you agree that there is something terribly wrong when a country as great as ours can let this happen to anyone, yet alone someone who has devoted her entire life to saving the  lives of others and without once thinking about what it could mean to her own.

Susan grew up in Chicago, the daughter of a 30-year veteran Chicago Police Detective and Violent Crimes Investigator Phillip Murphy. Susan’s father murdered her mother in 1989 and then turned the gun on himself committing suicide.  His intent was to kill his daughter as well. On the way to the house to try to save her mother something made her take an unexpected turn on the way. This decision is the only reason Susan is alive today. Had she taken her normal route Susan would not be with us now! Susan lived a life of trying to keep her mother alive her entire life and after her mother was murdered she devoted her entire life to saving others.

This most amazing woman is now on her last days after putting up a good fight. I am writing you today because I know you care. I know you care about the women and children in this country, the state of our health care, and every person’s God given human right. It is not just women and children that Susan has saved; there is no gender bias when it comes to abuses towards another.

Susan is the leading expert on Domestic/Intimate Partner Violence, and at the time when she discovered she had Cancer she was already in stage 4. This all happened just as her lifelong dreams were coming true. Susan is the women who mentored Rev. Neil Schori , Stacy Peterson’s Pastor and taught him everything he knows about Intimate Partner violence. Together they created The Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit    which is a legal document that can be used in court as legal testimony even if the victim is murdered or missing.

This tragic news about Susan came just as her lifelong work was getting known. Susan was getting invitations from law enforcement agencies all over the country to come and train Law Enforcement and first responders what to look for when they answer a call, or respond to a crime scene.  She was preparing to start working at a University where she was given Carte Blanche and offered full use of the Universities resources to help her with her work. She did not apply to work at this University they came to her asking her to please come and head this project. Susan was offered her own Television Show which was scheduled to air this winter.  Again she was approached by the producers she did not seek them they sought Susan. These are just a few of the triumphs that have a major impact in the field of Intimate Partner Violence!  Susan was now in high demand all over the country. But her work was suddenly halted in its prime due to her health.

Susan had a good chance to recover had she had the treatment she needed. This is a disgrace and an embarrassment for this Country which I know you and the President both agree. I am so sorry that the President’s Health plan has been fought against and has not been put into place. This is something that may have saved not only the life of this amazing woman but could have saved countless other people both through Susan’s work and the health plan combined.

This is what Susan said when she made the announcement about her Cancer:

“My dreams and hard work are now becoming reality.
In early fall there will be a national announcement about the Intimate Partner Violence Institute with two major universities.

A national conference and training hosted by the Naperville Christian Church is scheduled for the first week of October on the Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit for law enforcement, prosecutors and first responders.

The Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit APP will be at the Apple Store on Monday July, 2, 2012.

Holding My Hand Through Hell will be released nationwide October 1, 2012.

Everything will still happen as scheduled”.

Susan Murphy Milano June 27 2012

Please check out these links and Google her name for more on Susan. I know you will love her as much as I do and as the countless women she has saved

Susan’s Cancer blog Conquering Cancer which she started to try to change the way society looks and Cancer treatment

Susan’s Main Blog  Susan Murphy Milano’s Journal to educate the public on Intimate Partner Violence

Document the Abuse website for the Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit 

Susan’s latest book “Holding My Hand Through Hell” is about her life and what it was like for her growing up in an abusive home.  She wrote this book for the purpose of helping others who are living the same hell that Susan grew up living in.  After reading this book people will know why Susan is the who she is.

See Susan’s other books here

Chicago Tribune article and interview with The Rev. Neil Schori.

Listen here to Rev. Schori interview after the trial of Drew Peterson

Susan Murphy Milano and her work in Chicago. Please watch this video and you will see the great work she has done in the past!

Thank you for taking the time to read this and listen to the interviews.

I would like to invite you to the Facebook prayer page for Susan. You will be in awe of the outpouring of prayers and thoughts of people whose lives were changed just by knowing her.

God Bless you and The President for all the work that has been done and is being done to make our lives better.

Sincerely,

Amy J. Matthews

Book Release, Susan Murphy-Milano – Holding My Hand Through Hell…

October 24, 2012 Comments off

Susan Murphy-Milano once again has gone over and beyond the call of duty in her most recent released book, Holding My Hand Through Hell.

Susan, a “Success Survivor” herself of victimization and a well known Advocate in the Domestic/Intimate Partner Violence arena takes you on the ride of her life.  Ladies and gentlemen……………HOLD ON! and get ready for the read that you will not be able to put down!

Susan has never been an open book.  She has seldom opened up, never allowing the women in crisis, her close friends nor others to see or hear the damning side of her life that existed from the time she could remember. 

It was nationally known that her father was a decorated detective in the Chicago Police Department.  He killed her mother and then himself after many years of dealing the many forms of abusive power at her mother, brother and herself.   Susan was hell bent that she was going to make a difference in our society and that she does.  Yes, her father was hidden behind the blue badge, everyone covered up for him and/or turned their cheek rather than to slap his ass in jail with charges that would have stuck.

Susan has made sure in her book, Holding My Hand Through Hell that no stone was left unturned.  This book is graphic and extremely detailed, but guess what…..domestic/intimate partner violence and child abuse is graphic, raw, ugly and nasty.  One never knows when it may rear it’s ugly head.  This book can be overwhelming at times but yet……there is inspiration throughout her life that is shared.

I have personally witnessed Susan in “crisis mode” with victims who reached out to her.  Susan is always twenty steps ahead of the assailant, compassionate but firm as she instructs the victim exactly what to do and how to get it done.  Keep in mind that no victim ever died on her watch.  When assisting in solving homicides she is always on target, she would sniff out the perp just like a K9.  Susan doesn’t ever back down, yes she walks the walk and most definitely talks the talk.  When a mission presents itself to Susan she immediately goes into survival mode.  Survival mode is what Susan has known all of her life all too well.  To witness her in this mode is simply breath taking.

Holding My Hand Through Hell also proves to us all that God is always present in our lives and Susan has proved this over and over.  God was with her through every trial and tribulation; God has a purpose for each and every one of us.  We may not understand at the time while in the pain but eventually when we realize the purpose we must act upon it and follow God’s plan.  

Susan’s Murphy-Milano‘s testimony proves that she never gave up on God, she could have but never turned her back on her spiritual Father.  In turn he has used her story to make a major difference in countless lives.

**********************************************************************

At this time Susan is slipping away from us after suffering from Stage IV cancer.

May you feel God’s loving embrace as He wraps His arms around you protecting and guiding you on your journey home.  Blessings my friend.  I love you.

**********************************************************************

Holding My Hand Through Hell is available at:

Ice Cube Press

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Take care and STAY SAFE!

“FEMALES & GUNS”, Myths=Excuses / Facts=Reality

October 23, 2012 Comments off

Even though I have shot guns since I was in junior high school, had a concealed carry permit in my lifetime and I support the Right To Bear Arms; I do not support the myth, “I own a gun and that is the best possible method of self-defense. If someone attacks me, I can use it to protect myself.”

Let’s take a look at why not……the facts/reality of such myth. First, I say congratulations! I have heard this comment from females and males on behalf of the women in their lives with a cavalier attitude – all thinking/feeling that if owning a gun is the only sufficient method of personal safety/self-defense. Weapons are advantageous and necessary when situations demand their use. Our military are not equipped with bottles of pepper spray, really loud whistles and table knives. Our soldiers are armed with top-of-the line deadly weapons in order to fulfill their duties to be able to fight defensively during wartime. Good common sense.

Supporting the right to bear arms comes in when you wake up in the middle of the night, you hear a strange noise, having a gun safely in your night stand is a good thing. You will probably have enough time to make a 911 call; get your weapon, gather up enough courage to head toward the direction of the noise and attempt to intimidate and stall him until the police arrive. A gun is a handy when it is used with KNOWLEDGE, GOOD JUDGMENT AND RESPECT. Most important…….it’s best IF you have time to use it.

Realistically, when you are attacked by an assailant, it happens without warning. You are not given the smallest margin of time to prepare your defense. I don’t care what your weapon of choice is you will not be given the time necessary to pull it out and use it. If you are unexpectedly pushed or ambushed to the ground, even if you have your weapon in your pocketbook, it’s not going to help the situation. When faced with predicaments the call for immediate personal safety training/self-defense, only two thing are readily available – your MIND AND BODY. That’s all you have.

Guns are useful in certain situations or as a means of intimidation; the odds of being able to access a weapon in enough time so that it retains its benefits are pretty damn slim. A gun in your safety box or save at your home won’t help you when someone attacks you while you are jogging in the park.

Learn how to use yourself as a weapon and you might not have to worry about owning a gun. This same principle applies to any weapons – including pepper spray, Mace or knives.

Food for thought…….why do you think our military and law enforcement are taught “hand-to-hand combat” extensively in training? Simple answer…….they may not have enough time to draw their weapons to defend themselves in an altercation. They must know how to protect and defend themselves “realistically” with their minds and bodies rather than depending on their weapon.

So, why wouldn’t you do everything in your power to learn how to use your mind and body “realistically” to defend yourself?

Take care and STAY SAFE!

Warning Signs of Teen Dating Violence…

October 15, 2012 1 comment

Warning signs to watch out for teen dating violence include: sudden loss of interest in activities, low grades, changes in appetite, changes in sleep patterns, loss of regular friends and drastic changes in clothing.

Often victims will wear long sleeves, long pants and scarves to hide bruises and marks. If you as a parent suspect that your teen is in an abusive relationship, encourage zero tolerance for inappropriate dating behaviors.

If you suspect that your teen is being violent to their dating partner, talk to them. Let the teen know that love is about respect. Sometimes it is difficult to realize that your child is being mean or violent. Do not allow aggressive behavior in the home. Talk to the teen about emotional abuse and how it is unacceptable in any relationship. You could say something like, “It bothers me when you yell at so-and-so.” Express concern and talk to the teen about appropriate behavior. You may even want to seek professional help for your teen.

Teen dating violence is a problem that parents can help prevent. Talk to teens about the different types of violence. Be alert for warning signs and let the teens know that you care. Most of all, show teens the appropriate way to behave by being respectful and caring towards other people.

Encouraging teens to have healthy relationships before they begin dating is important. Be aware and keep the lines of communication open with teens about their relationships.

Signs of an abusive relationship

There are many signs of an abusive relationship. The most telling sign is fear of your partner. If you feel like you have to walk on eggshells around your partner—constantly watching what you say and do in order to avoid a blow-up—chances are your relationship is unhealthy and abusive. Other signs that you may be in an abusive relationship include a partner who belittles you or tries to control you, and feelings of self-loathing, helplessness, and desperation.

To determine whether your teen relationship is abusive, ask her/him to answer the questions below. The more “yes” answers, the more likely it is that your teen may be  in an abusive relationship.

Your Inner Thoughts and Feelings

Do you:

  • feel afraid of your partner much of the time?
  • avoid certain topics out of fear of angering your partner?
  • feel that you can’t do anything right for your partner?
  • believe that you deserve to be hurt or mistreated?
  • wonder if you’re the one who is crazy?
  • feel emotionally numb or helpless?

Your Partner’s Belittling Behavior

Does your partner:

  • humiliate or yell at you?
  • criticize you and put you down?
  • treat you so badly that you’re embarrassed for your friends and family to see?
  • ignore or put down your opinions or accomplishments?
  • blame you for his/her own abusive behavior?
  • see  you a property or a sex object, rather than a person?

Your Partner’s Violent Behavior or Threats

Does your partner:

  • have a bad and unpredictable temper?
  • hurt you, or threaten to hurt or kill you?
  • threaten to commit suicide if you break up with him/her?
  • force you to have sex?
  • destroy your belongings?

Your Partner’s Controlling Behavior

Does your partner:

  • act excessively jealous and possessive?
  • control where you go and what you do?
  • keeps you from seeing your friends or family?
  • constantly checking up on you?
  • excessive texting or calling you?

If your teen is afraid for her/his safety or has been assaulted by her/his partner please dial 911 or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline, 1-800-787-3224.

Take care and STAY SAFE!

Authorities missed chances to stop a rapist, Sandusky who preyed on children for years…

June 17, 2012 Comments off

Yet evidence and testimony from the trial show there were plenty of people, not just those at the highest levels of Penn State university, who had ample opportunity to stop a man accused of violating 10 boys over 15 years:

A janitor failed to tell authorities he allegedly caught Sandusky performing oral sex on a boy in a campus shower a dozen years ago.

A district attorney with a reputation for prosecuting cases involving children and sexual abuse victims declined to charge Sandusky over a 1998 molestation allegation even though the detective who investigated thought it was a solid case. The DA, Ray Gricar, disappeared in 2005 and was declared legally dead last year.

School district officials were skeptical of abuse claims brought by the young man known in court papers as Victim 1 because, the accuser testified, Sandusky was considered to have a “heart of gold.” Victim 1’s allegations eventually triggered the state investigation that produced charges.

— One accuser testified he screamed out for help at least once when Sandusky’s wife, Dottie, was in the house. He doesn’t know whether she heard his cries.

— And, famously, coaching assistant Mike McQueary saw Sandusky having what he believed to be anal sex with a young boy in 2001. But his report to Athletic Director Tim Curley and Vice President Gary Schultz went nowhere. McQueary’s dad testified that during a conversation, Schultz said he was suspicious of Sandusky, and NBC reported this week that emails between former university President Graham Spanier and Schultz aiming to keep McQueary’s allegation from going further were turned over to the attorney general.

— Others also saw Sandusky engaging in behavior that was at least odd, if not criminal. Longtime assistant coach Tom Bradley walked into the shower when one boy was with Sandusky, the accuser testified, and a wrestling coach told jurors he saw Sandusky and a child rolling on the floor.

— Several accusers said their parents or caregivers failed to grasp what was happening to them. Victim 4 testified that one weekend he did not want to go with Sandusky and told his mother, “I’m pretty sure he’s gay,” but she dismissed the idea. “She said, oh, whatever, this is just one of your lies,” he told jurors. He also said at one point he told his grandmother to tell Sandusky he wasn’t home when he called.

The testimony of eight of the 10 alleged victims named in a grand jury report prompted disgust and revulsion from Penn State alumni and others who took to Twitter last week to express their dismay — and to call for the heads of anyone involved in concealing abuse. “Anyone who knew and didn’t report should burn!” tweeted one.

The sad part is that most children know their abuser. Parents are concerned with letting their children outside to play, fearful that someone will abduct them or worse. But really, they should be concerned with the people their child interacts with on a daily basis. These are the people that abuse children (for the most part).  Our job is to guard against those who would prey on children.

The description — “sickening” of adults using young people to satisfy their sexual fantasies — isn’t harsh enough.

Take care and STAY SAFE!

In part via Associated Press

Taking a bold effort to reach into communities across the country, Anny Jacoby is a Prevention Specialist and an authorized Facilitator for Stewards of Children through the Darkness to Light program, an organization whose mission is to train adults in every community to responsibly attack the issue of child sexual abuse.

Please contact Anny to schedule Children’s of Steward’s training or to arrange a Prevent Now! meeting for your community.

anny@annyjacoby.com

New Adam Sandler movie “That’s My Boy” glorifies outdated views on healthy sexuality

June 16, 2012 Comments off

Sony Pictures released “That’s My Boy,” a movie that glorifies statutory rape between a teacher and her 13 year old student.

Numerous media outlets are reporting that Adam Sandler’s new movie “That’s My Boy” makes light of statutory rape in its depiction of a thirteen-year old boy’s sexual relationship with his teacher at school. That relationship results in the teacher’s pregnancy, a jail sentence, and Sandler’s character being forced to raise the child himself.  When the child turns eighteen, he leaves home and does not interact with his father again until the eve of his wedding, when the Sandler character shows up at his home in need of money.

Some will argue in defense of this movie by stating that the story ultimately focuses on the characters’ reconciliation and that since the movie is a comedy, advocates such as organizations like Prevent Child Abuse America, Darkness to Light and Stop It Now! are taking the story line too seriously. We would suggest that these arguments are specious at best. They do not excuse the movie’s outdated views on child sexuality, and the sexuality of boys specifically, much less the long term impact of sexual abuse on children. Nor do these arguments ameliorate the fact that the corporate culture of Columbia Pictures and Happy Madison Productions is one that embraces child rape as a means for making a profit.

“It goes without saying,” stated Jim Hmurovich, President & CEO, Prevent Child Abuse America, “that Adam Sandler and Columbia Pictures would never have made a similar movie about a thirteen-year old girl and a teacher of hers, so how is it that in 2012 they still find it acceptable to make such a movie about a character who is a boy? This is a movie about rape, plain and simple, and while we could have an endless dialogue about how is this is a comedy, or a story that highlights the resilience of children, I call upon the viewing public to express their strong disapproval. Along with my colleagues from Darkness to Light and Stop It Now! we have sent the producers of the film an offer to discuss how misguided this attempt at humor is, and what message can be salvaged from this screenplay. All of us regardless of what we do in our lives have a responsibility to the children and families in this country. I suggest we figure out together how they can fulfill that responsibility in a way that supports the healthy child development of all children.”

Via Darkness to Light:

Help us send Hollywood a message that sexual abuse is not a joke.

Click to sign our petition against Sony Picture’s movie “That’s My Boy”

As you know, for victims of sexual abuse, this issue is no laughing matter. Sony Pictures should stand with victims, not unite against them. At a time when child sexual abuse is finally getting the attention it deserves, Sony Pictures wants to take a huge step back by endorsing statutory rape.

Click to sign our petition and tell Hollywood sexual abuse is not a joke

I hope you will pass this petition along and keep the pressure on Sony Pictures so they will see the error of their ways.

Thanks again for your partnership in protecting children and for using your voice to speak out!

ABOUT DARKNESS TO LIGHT
Darkness to Light is a national non-profit organization with the mission to empower people to prevent child sexual abuse. We do this by increasing public awareness of the issue, educating adults to prevent, recognize the signs and react responsibly to child sexual abuse, and by engaging communities in building and sustaining child sexual abuse prevention initiatives. Learn more D2L.org.

ABOUT PREVENT CHILD ABUSE AMERICA

Prevent Child Abuse America, founded in 1972, works to ensure the healthy development of children nationwide while recognizing that child development is a building block for community development and economic development. We believe that communities across the country are doing innovative things with great results to prevent abuse and neglect from ever occurring, and what we need to do as a nation is commit to bringing this kind of ingenuity to communities everywhere. Based in Chicago, Prevent Child Abuse America has chapters in 49 states and over 400 Healthy Families America, home visitation sites in 37 states, the Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and Canada. For more information, please visit preventchildabuse.org and healthyfamiliesamerica.org.

ABOUT STOP IT NOW!
Stop It Now! ® prevents the sexual abuse of children by mobilizing adults, families and communities to take actions that protect children before they are harmed. We provide support, information and resources so individuals and families around the world can keep children safe and create healthier communities. Read more at StopItNow.org.

Take care and STAY SAFE!

Pinwheels Call Attention to Child Abuse, Ways to Identify and Prevent It!

April 1, 2012 Comments off

Many communities “plant pinwheel gardens” each April of colorful pinwheels spinning in the wind which represents a child living in the community who was abused last year.

April is National Child Abuse Awareness Month and many local organizations offer tips on preventing abuse.

Congress first declared April as National Child Abuse Awareness Month, a time designated each year to raise awareness about child abuse and neglect, in 1983, and each year the president issues a proclamation calling on Americans to use the month to help prevent child abuse.

The first step in helping abused children is learning to recognize the symptoms of child abuse.  Although child abuse is divided into four types – physical abuse, neglect, sexual abuse and emotional maltreatment – the types are more typically found in combination than alone.  A physically abused child for example is often emotionally maltreated as well, and a sexually abused child may be also neglected.  Any child at any age may experience any of the types of child abuse.

Child abuse leaves more than just bruises.  Long after children have recovered from the physical results of any type of abuse, abused children suffer from emotional and psychological trauma that can last the rest of their lives.

Unfortunately, many bystanders witness child abuse and do nothing about it. Neighbors and friends may hear or even see child abuse happening, but don’t want to intrude or interfere with “the rights” of the parents.  Such inaction can mean years of pain and heartbreak for young children who are unable to get out of a horrific situation.

Abused children need your intervention.  In their helplessness, they must rely on capable adults who are willing to take a stand and get them out of an abusive environment.  By being aware of child abuse, and helping to educate the people you know, you can help prevent child abuse in your community.

Identifying Child Abuse

While it is impossible to determine the presence of abuse or neglect by behavior, the following signs may signal the presence of child abuse or neglect:

The Child:

  • Shows sudden changes in behavior or school performance
  • Has not received help for physical or medical problems brought to the parent’s attention
  • Has learning problems or difficulty concentrating that cannot be attributed to specific physical or psychological causes
  • Is always watchful, as though preparing for something bad to happen
  • Lacks adult supervision•Is overly compliant, passive or withdrawn
  • Comes to school or other activities early, stays late, and does not want to go home

The Parent:

  • Shows little concern for the child
  • Denies the existence of, or blames the child for the child’s problems in school or at home
  • Asks teachers or other caretakers to use harsh physical discipline if the child misbehaves
  • Sees the child as entirely bad, worthless, or burdensome
  • Demands a level of physical or academic performance the child cannot achieve
  • Looks primarily to the child for care, attention, and satisfaction of emotional needs

The Parent and the Child:

  • Rarely touch or look at each other
  • Consider their relationship entirely negative
  • State that they do not like each other

Preventing Child Abuse

Learn about child abuse.  Educate yourself and keep these key facts in mind:

  • Child abusers can be any age, any gender and any race.  They can be from any economic class, and have any level of education.
  • Children are more likely to be abused by their own parents than by a stranger.
  • Rarely does an incident of child abuse happen in isolation.  When a child is abused once, it is likely to happen again.
  • Educate your neighbors and friends about child abuse.

Stop child abuse when you see it.  If you have trouble identifying the difference between child abuse and acceptable forms of discipline, learn the Federal and State laws and find resources that distinguish between discipline and abuse.  Do not hesitate to contact the National Child Abuse Hotline (1-800-4-A-Child).  During your anonymous call, their counselors can help you evaluate the situation and help you make a child abuse report to the proper authorities.  If you are nervous about making a report, they will even stay on the line during a 3-way call to offer you support.  If a child is in life-threatening danger, call 911 immediately.

It’s time that people take a stand against child abuse.  Your simple actions will help prevent child abuse and give abused children hope for a brighter future.

Take care and STAY SAFE!

YMCA’s Take Child Protection Very Seriously

November 28, 2011 Comments off

YMCAs take child protection very seriously.  Their extensive policies and attention to safety regarding every program and service make them a leader in “state of the art” child protection policy.  They also know that this alone does not keep children safe in their communities.  They instead recognize the need for leadership at every level to be involved and engaged in protecting children from sexual abuse.  With the health and well being of children and families at the heart of their mission and a long history of tackling tough community issues, Y’s across the country are stepping up to convene leaders and engage the entire community in prevention.

Teaming up to support these local Y efforts, D2L and The Redwoods Group Foundation are providing tools, resources and funding assistance to help YMCAs operationalize wide spread community awareness and education.  Our vision is that Ys, serving as the natural conveners, bring together community leaders, other local child-serving organizations, and policy makers as partners in prevention.  This exciting collaboration is empowering communities with a strategy and a model for creating and sustaining positive change in the protection of children from child sexual abuse.

YMCAs are helping lead a national effort to build community initiatives that increase awareness of the problem of child sexual abuse and bring prevention to the local level.  A key to their success with such initiatives is their ability to bring together the right people and resources to facilitate change in communities nationwide.  Locally, they do this every day generating solutions to challenges facing their communities.

While community prevention initiatives across the country are having an impact, Y’s have the ability to exponentially increase participation in the effort.  Serving over 9 million children and 12 million adults in 10,000 communities they can be the most effective and efficient pathway to reducing child sexual abuse.  In addition, one of the Y’s focus area is social responsibility, and their emphasis on youth development makes them a natural partner to address this issue.  As former Y CEO, Ralph Yohe stated, “Y’s are uniquely position to take a leadership role in prevention as we are often at the heart of a community, we have a long history of tackling community issues, and bottom line, the protection and well being of children is part of our mission.”

Thanks to the impact YMCAs have on kids, families and communities—and the sheer number of communities they serve—this “Y movement” will lead the way in engaging the largest group of citizens yet in child protection!

YMCA Background

In early 2009, The Redwoods Group, a commercial specialty insurance group based in NC and one of the largest insurers for YMCAs, contacted Darkness to Light to explore synergies between the two organizations.  Redwoods felt that they could provide benefit to their clients by adding Stewards of Children prevention curriculum to their training offerings, believing that the empowering and emotional elements of the program would augment the policy and procedure training components that were also necessary.

Kevin Trapani, founder and CEO of Redwoods, had a bigger vision.  The Redwoods Group is a privately‐held, Certified B Corps that takes their responsibility for the safety of children at Y’s across the country very seriously.  Not only that, social responsibility is at the core of everything Redwoods believes so it wasn’t enough to just address child safety within the 4 walls of a Y.

A collaboration begins…In 2010, the social enterprise’s Foundation made a commitment to facilitate community‐based child sexual abuse prevention through YMCA’sOver the past three years, the Redwoods Group Foundation has dedicated significant time, energy, and financial capitol to protect children from the trauma of sexual abuse. Collaborating with Darkness to Light, a Stewards of Children “seed fund” was created to assist YMCAs in starting community initiatives.  The Foundation has two staff members working to bring YMCAs together to propel the effort to scale.  Their goal is to help YMCA’s engage community partners in child sexual abuse prevention and intervention.  Ultimately, they hope the effort will be expanded to all YMCAs.

Via d2l

Anny is a Steward’s of Children Authorized Facilitator and Prevention Specialist who trains adults to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse through Darkness to Light’s certification programs.  Please contact Anny to bring Prevent Now! community meetings your area and to arrange Steward’s of Children trainings.  You may contact her via email, anny@annyjacoby.com or 919-225-1421.

Take care and STAY SAFE!

What Can We Learn From Penn State?

November 27, 2011 Comments off
It’s unfortunate that it takes national headlines to get people talking about a problem that is all too prevalent in our society but we can take advantage of this opportunity to shine the light on the issue of child sexual abuse and recognize that we all have a responsibility to protect children.
  • We’ve learned that this issue is not about big universities, celebrity, or the Catholic Church.  It’s not about reputations, or legacies or any one institution.  This issue is about children.
  • We’ve learned that we have to step into the reality that there are people in our midst that would rob children of their innocence and they are people we know and trust.  They will go out of their way to appear above reproach and they will infiltrate our families and organizations where they can have easy access to children.
  • We’ve learned that it takes tremendous courage for children and adults that have been abused to come forward.  We must support and honor this courage and work together to ensure their story is not handed down to other innocent children.
  • We’ve learned that child safety is the job of an adult.  Teaching children how to keep themselves safe from abuse is important, but adults bear the burden of stepping up and speaking out when something doesn’t look or feel right with respect to the wellbeing of a child.  We’ve learned that it may or may not be our legal responsibility as mandated reporters depending on where we live but morally it is the right thing to do.  If you see something or suspect abuse, call the police.
  • We’ve learned that the ramifications of not acting responsibly are clear.  More abuse occurs, more children are harmed, fewer children get the help they so deserve.  To be silent bystanders is to be complicit in its occurrance and wake. To intervene is to ensure that a child is treated and supported, that they are healed and better protected from potential lifelong hardships of trauma.
  • We’ve learned that child sexual abuse is preventable.  We can learn the facts, we can acknowledge the reality, we can talk to others adults, we can ensure youth serving organizations have comprehensive child protection policy, and we can talk to our children.  Awareness and education is the answer.
  • The fight against child abuse cannot be the job of one agency; it has to be a collaborative effort.  It will take all of us to change culture–to one where engaged adults offer no place for a perpetrator to commit their heinous acts and no access to children.
  • We can be stuck in the shock and horror of what happened at Penn State staying focused on who knew what and when or we can pledge right now to stay focused on the things we can do today that better protect children.  Let Penn State serve as a wake-up call.  Will we stay vigilant or will we again become complacent when the smoke clears?

Ways to Get Involved

Via d2l.org

Anny is a Steward’s of Children Authorized Facilitator and Prevention Specialist who trains adults to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse through Darkness to Light’s certification programs.  Please contact Anny to bring Prevent Now! community meetings your area and to arrange Steward’s of Children trainings.  You may contact her via email, anny@annyjacoby.com or 919-225-1421.

Take care and stay safe.

Child Sexual Abuse Community Awareness Meetings Being Planned…

November 19, 2011 Comments off

The Darkness to Light’s child sexual abuse program(s) are trainings across the United States.

Have you taken a stance again CSA?  If not, why not?  Call or email me to plan Darkness to Light’s Child Sexual Abuse Community Meetings, Prevent Now! (45 mins) and/or “Stewards of Children”, two-and-a-half training sessions for adults.  Darkness to Lights program seeks “to empower adults through awarness and educational programs to PREVENT, RECOGNIZE AND REACT RESPONSIBLY to childhood sexual abuse. 

“The only public good thing that came out of the horrible Penn State situation is it’s brough major attention to Child Sexual Abuse.”  Take a stance, NOW!

Take care and STAY SAFE!

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