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:
- 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- Lacks adult supervision•Is overly compliant, passive or withdrawn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
- 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!
Shane Alexander Donates Proceeds From His Song “Look Out For Me” to Darkness to Light – an Organization to Help Prevent Child Sexual Abuse
Via Music Blog
LA based singer/songwriter/guitarist Shane Alexander is paying it forward. He has written his latest song “Look Out For Me” to help the charity Darkness to Light, whose ultimate mission is to end childhood sexual abuse through education and awareness. CEO of Darkness to Light Anne Lee says, “Shane Alexander’s “Look Out for Me” is a beautiful, melodic reminder that our children need us and depend on us to protect their only childhood.”
Possessing a singularly evocative voice, Shane Alexander writes songs that Performing Songwriter Magazine has called “stunning,” and The Los Angeles Times described as “beautiful.” Shane has opened multiple US tours for Jewel and Seal and performed in Europe with Bon Iver and Suzanne Vega, among many others. Since his debut in 2005, he has released 4 solo albums, including his latest effort Mono Solo, on his own BuddhaLand Records imprint. No stranger to the road, he tours the US and Europe constantly. This fiercely independent artist has amassed a global fanbase and has nearly one million plays on MySpace to prove it. His popularity has been driven in part by over 50 television and film placements, including the season finale of MTV’s highly rated “My Life as Liz” (aired April 29th 2011). He has recently signed with Warner Chappell Publishing and Rough Trade Distribution in Europe.Even with all this success, Shane Alexander is finding the time to help others; he has a huge talent but a big heart to match it.
Shane Alexander’s current efforts have been directed at raising funds and awareness for the charity Darkness to Light (D2L). This is a cause Shane feels strongly about: “I believe in giving back as much as possible, and to lend my voice to an organization with such a noble mission just felt right. The statistics of childhood sexual abuse are pretty staggering, and Darkness to Light is working so hard to help prevent the suffering that these kids might face. It’s a real privilege for me to be working with such great people.” Shane Alexander was so compelled by what the charity stood for that it inspired him to write this touching and poignant song and to donate proceeds to the charity upon its release. Anne Lee believes that Shane Alexander’s song “has captured the pure essence of childhood that every adult needs to hear.”A portion of the proceeds from Shane’s US summer tour will be donated to the Darkness to Light as well.
Child sexual abuse is regarded as an epidemic. According to statistics from D2L, There are more than 39 million survivors of sexual abuse in America and they estimate that 1 in 4 girls will be sexually abused by the time she is 18. More than 90% of abusers are people children trust love and know.
Darkness to Light was founded in 2000 by Anne Lee, now President and CEO. The ultimate mission of D2L is to end childhood sexual abuse and empower adults through awareness and educational programs to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to childhood sexual abuse. Recently featured in April 4th 2011 issue of People Magazine’s Heroes Among Us, Anne Lee shared her story of abuse and how it led her to launching Darkness to Light. A true “hero among us,” Anne says, “Darkness to Light is honored to have had Shane write this song for our organization and we are excited about his working with us to raise awareness.” Darkness to Light and Shane Alexander are both dedicated to preventing sexual abuse in this lifetime.
To purchase the song please go to:
I am an Authorized Facilitator via D2L to bring Steward’s of Children training to your community throughout the US ;every adult in every capacity from professional to parents, grandparents, family, faith based communities, law enforcement, etc. should be educated about prevention and awareness. please feel free to contact me for further information. I am also a Prevention Specialist via D2L to introduce our program to communities to speak about the emotional impact as well as the economical impact that child sexual abuse has every community and individual – even if you have not personally been touched by child sexual abuse….you have.
Please feel contact me TODAY for further information, details and how we can make a difference in your community and protect our innocent children from this epidemic.
Take care and STAY SAFE!
A building that once housed a daycare center and later became a “swingers’ club” in Mineola, Texas turned into a house of horrors for four children who were forced to perform sex acts on others and each other.
Shauntel Mayo, 29, the ringleader of this unthinkable abuse, made her three kids (then age 5, 6, and 7) and her own 6-year-old baby sister perform sex acts if they wanted dinner. “The unthinkable,” said Smith County assistant district attorney Joe Murphy. “She had her kids have sex with each other and taught them to masturbate. She taught them how to strip. She withheld food from them. All so she could make money.”
According to prosecutors, the kids were groomed for sex shows in what Mayo called “kindergarten” classes. At “kindergarten,” they said they learned how to strip, dance and perform sexual acts–first on dolls, then on each other. Upon “graduating” from “kindergarten,” they were forced to have sex with each other in front of 50 to 100 adult members of a swingers’ club once a week. Before going on stage, they were given the painkiller Vicodin — which their abusers called “silly pills” — to loosen them up for their performances. The children were forced to have sex with each other or perform sexual acts for club members who paid a fee to watch. Investigators believe up to 15 other children were victimized, and are still trying to locate them.
According to the Associated Press, the police department first investigated a complaint in June 2005 in which the siblings’ foster mother said one of the girls described dancing toward men and another child said that “everybody does nasty stuff in there.”
“We learned to strip (at ‘kindergarten’),” said the 7-year-old. ” I had to touch my privates with my sister’s and brother’s privates for the people in the club.”
The mother of the three siblings and her live-in boyfriend have already been convicted in the case and were sentenced to life in prison. A third person goes on trial today to face charges of aggravated sexual assault of a child, tampering with physical evidence and engaging in organized criminal activity. Four others are awaiting trial.
The siblings, who have been adopted and have gone through intense therapy, are now doing better, the welfare agency said. However, the man who gained permanent custody of the children, John Orville Cantrell, 64, of Mineola, was arrested last week for aggravated sexual assault of a child on a California case from 18 years ago.
His wife, Margie Cantrell, who has been a foster mom for 36 years, said Thursday she believes the accusations are in retaliation for their roles in the Mineola sex ring case. “What John and I want to do is continue to seek justice for the kids in this case,” she told the Tyler Paper. “And if we have to climb a few mountains to get there, it will be worth it. And at the end of all this, John will absolutely be proven innocent.”
What’s your reaction to this horrifying case?
One more reason, not that I personally need one but I WILL continue to make a bold effort to reach into communities across the country, as a Child Abuse 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. The focus of the Stewards of Children Program is to effectively shift the responsibility of recognizing and reacting to child sexual abuse to adults, and teach them how to make a local impact.
Won’t you take a stance? Won’t you be a leader in your community? Won’t you be a voice for innocent children? Enough is enough!
Take care and STAY SAFE!
Program trains adults to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse
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. The focus of the Stewards of Children Program is to effectively shift the responsibility of recognizing and reacting to child sexual abuse to adults, and teach them how to make a local impact.
“Stewards of Children is the only national program which is evidence-based and proven to increase knowledge, improve attitudes, and change child protective behaviors. Training is offered to community groups, parent groups, grand-parents, all organizations that serve children and youth (paid staff and/or volunteer), church congregations, every employee in school districts, coaches, law enforcement, etc. All adults.” (www.d2l.org)
Not only is the Stewards of Children a training program, but it’s also being used to change the way society looks upon child sexual abuse, to remove the secrecy, denial and fear and move the issue into the open where children can grow up in a safer environment, find assistance when needed, and know that there are responsible adults within the community to meet their needs.
Anny Jacoby, whose expertise is in personal safety and victim advocacy, has broadened the scope of her experience by joining forces with Darkness to Light and advocating through the Stewards of Children program.
Jacoby is also an independent Consultant for the organization and, if there is not the Stewards of Children program or it may be inactive in your community, she can assist in its development. She is also available for workshops and events to promote, educate and bring training of the program to your community. Anny can connect with area Prevention Specialists and Facilitators, and aid in reaching out to those who wish to provide adults with the training necessary to become actively involved in preventing and repairing the damage of child sexual abuse.
To arrange assistance from Anny Jacoby, she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Security On Campus and Promoting Awareness, Victim Empowerment Launch Unprecedented Approach to Shattering the Silence of College Sexual Violence
For Immediate Release
Via Security On Campus, Inc.
May 26, 2011
Washington, DC –Soon-to-be high school graduates entering college this fall may not realize there’s more to worry about than getting good grades. Many should be worrying about sexual violence.
PAVE and SOC announce the launch of the “Safe Campus, Strong Voices” Campaign to follow today’s introduction of the Campus Sexual Violence Elimination (SaVE) Act – national legislation designed to help campuses better respond to and prevent sexual violence. “Safe Campus, Strong Voices” is a nationwide campaign to raise awareness and shatter the silence of college sexual violence. To end the epidemic of campus sexual violence, students and faculty, men and women, will to work together to create safer and more supportive campuses.
According to the US Department of Justice, 1 in 4 college women will be sexually assaulted, and the majority of those sexual assaults happen fall semester to freshmen and sophomore women. An astounding 95.2% of these will never be reported. Addressing this issue is critical when thinking about the safety of everyone in that environment.
PAVE: Promoting Awareness, Victim Empowerment and SOC: Security On Campus, Inc. are joining together with other leading sexual assault groups for this campaign during September for National Campus Safety Awareness Month.
“Safe Campus, Strong Voices” focuses on prevention of sexual assault and raising awareness of the high level of under reporting by victims of these crimes. NPR’s recent series “Seeking Justice for Campus Rapes” reveals how most colleges are not successfully dealing with this issue. The campaign will empower students as bystanders to make changes in their campus environment, and encourage victims to seek justice.
PAVE Founder Angela Rose said “Every time I speak on a college campus, there’s a line of students who want to disclose that they have been affected by sexual assault and most have never reported. This unprecedented campaign will help build the national movement to shatter the silence of sexual violence on college campuses.”
SOC and PAVE have put together tool kits to create effective, simple-to-run campaigns in an ever-busy campus environment. The campaign provides materials, training, and ideas to bring prevention education programs to campus, to hold tabling events, and to collaborate with other groups and offices on campus throughout the month of September and beyond. On September 30, all participating groups across the country will stand in solidarity by holding simultaneous rallies. They will encourage reporting of sexual assault and a culture shift to create the safest most supportive campus community for survivors of sexual violence.
“This campaign seeks to shed light on crimes that so greatly impact the lives of far too many college students every year,” said Melissa Lucchesi, SOC’s Outreach Education Coordinator. “By speaking out and encouraging a supportive response to sexual assault survivors, students across the country will be a part of a movement that creates ripples of change in their campus community.”
Take care and STAY SAFE!
The opening segment of a forthcoming autobiography by Sugar Ray Leonard runs counter to the cunning style he used in winning boxing championships in five weight divisions more than a quarter-century ago. It is more like hearing the bell, rushing to the center of the ring and being hit with a straight right hand.
Most fans of Leonard remember him for his sweet smile and lightning-fast hands, as a transcendent and breakout celebrity in a brutal profession. But by Page 36 of “The Big Fight: My Life In and Out of the Ring,” to be published next month by Viking, Leonard has mentioned his cocaine use, growing up in a home with alcohol abuse and domestic violence, luckily surviving a car wreck with his mother at the wheel, almost drowning in a creek as a child who was unable to swim, and fathering a son at 17.
Two pages later, Leonard delivers the book’s bombshell while indirectly addressing a growing concern in the sports industry at large. He reveals publicly for the first time that he was sexually abused as a young fighter by an unnamed “prominent Olympic boxing coach.”
Leonard writes that when the coach accompanied him as a 15-year-old and another young fighter to a boxing event in Utica, N.Y., in 1971, he had the teenagers take a bath in a tub of hot water and Epsom salts while he sat on the other side of the bathroom. They suspected “something a bit inappropriate” was occurring but did not want to question a strong male authority figure.
Several years later, Leonard describes sitting in a car in a deserted parking lot across from a recreation center, listening intently as the same coach, said to be in his late 40s, explained how much a gold medal at the 1976 Olympics would mean to his future.
Leonard was flattered, filled with hope, as any young athlete would be. But he writes: “Before I knew it, he had unzipped my pants and put his hand, then mouth, on an area that has haunted me for life. I didn’t scream. I didn’t look at him. I just opened the door and ran.”
He adds that when he first decided to discuss the incident in the book, which is written with Michael Arkush, he offered a version in which the abuser stopped before there was actual contact.
“That was painful enough,” Leonard writes. “But last year, after watching the actor Todd Bridges bare his soul on Oprah’s show about how he was sexually abused as a kid, I realized I would never be free unless I revealed the whole truth, no matter how much it hurt.”
Through his publisher, Leonard, who turned 55 on Tuesday, declined to comment for this article, saying that he would begin doing publicity for the book in June. But several people who were close to him when he was routinely banking multimillion-dollar purses for title bouts with Roberto Duran, Thomas Hearns and Marvin Hagler were taken aback when told of what he has revealed in the book.
“This is the first time I’ve ever heard that, and I’ve known Ray since he was just a kid,” Dave Jacobs, who was Leonard’s first trainer as an amateur and later served as assistant trainer for many of his professional fights, said in a telephone interview. “He never talked about that to me and no one in the group ever mentioned it, so I assume he never talked about it to them, either.
“But if that incident did happen, I feel sorry for him in that part of his life and for having to carry that around with him.”
Angelo Dundee, who achieved fame as Muhammad Ali’s trainer and later became the head man in Leonard’s corner, said he knew very little about his fighter’s personal lives and preferred it that way.
“Ray never mentioned anything, but I never mingled with anything to do with a fighter except fighting,” Dundee said from his Florida home. “You never wanted personal stuff getting in the way when you sent a kid into the ring. And as far as I could see, Ray was as mentally tough as they came.”
Continue Reading: http://nyti.ms/kt4Phn
Take care and STAY SAFE!
It can happen at home. It can happen at work. It can happen in a car. It can happen in a dorm. Sexual assault occurs whenever someone is forced, coerced or manipulated into any unwanted sexual activity. The list of offenses is graphic and includes rape, incest, date rape, marital rape, sexual harassment, child sexual assault, stranger rape, forced prostitution, exposure, voyeurism and statutory rape. Silence continues to surround the topic of sexual assault, yet according to RAINN, the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, one in six American women and one in 33 men have experienced an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime. Seventy three percent of rapes were committed by a non-stranger — a friend, intimate, relative or acquaintance. In other words, sexual assaults are happening more often to people we love by people they know, rather than the stranger hiding in the bushes. And it’s happening to our daughters, mothers, girlfriends, sons and co-workers.
There are many myths that still exist today that place blame on the victim, such as past consensual sex, whether alcohol was involved and even the type of clothing worn by the victim. No one, under any circumstances, deserves to be sexually assaulted . Period. Sexual assault is not about sexual desire gone wrong but about power and control over another, utilizing sex as a weapon. Most often sexual assault happens as a pervasive result of attitudes, beliefs and behaviors that assert male privilege over females, as evidenced by advertising, music videos, video games and other media. When males are taught to respect their peers, both male and female, how to understand boundaries, the elements of consent and how to appropriately challenge negative behaviors of peers, then change at the individual level can happen. However, beyond individual responsibility, we need organizations that support the redefining of positive parameters that define masculinity beyond brute strength and sexual activity. We need organizations that challenge young people to develop effective communication and negotiation skills for healthy relationships. We need systems that support victims and understand the devastating impact of trauma due to sexual assault. We need churches, educational institutions, community agencies, parents and youth organizations to step out of the box and talk about sexual assault in authentic, informed and creative ways.
Sexual violence is preventable. However, prevention is more than educating individuals concerning objectification and healthy sexual boundaries. By following the Spectrum of Prevention, a tool developed by the Prevention Institute and tailored by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, communities like yours can participate in comprehensive sexual-violence prevention initiatives. The spectrum consists of strengthening individual knowledge and skills, promoting community education, educating professional providers, fostering coalitions and networks, changing organizational practices and, finally, influencing policies and legislation.
Programs to help youth navigate the maze of relationships that often includes violence in many forms. Teens-4-Change is a social-change organization for young women ages 14 to 18 that focuses on healthy bodies, minds and relationships. R.A.P., Raising Awareness and Prevention, works with males at the high-school and college level to challenge pervasive attitudes, beliefs and behaviors that perpetuate sexual violence.
Take the opportunity during April, which is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, to learn more, do more and understand more about an issue that affects entire communities. Challenge leaders to reinforce positive cultural norms and send clear and consistent messages that sexual violence is traumatic in any form, as well as inappropriate. Because sexual violence happens in all races, socio-economic classes, genders and age groups, we need to send the message to everyone that no one, under any circumstances, should be blamed for being sexually violated. Intervention is important and necessary; however, primary prevention, stopping sexual violence before it ever starts, is a worthy goal for ALL communities.
Take care and STAY SAFE!
Contributor Al Renna