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While all the hoopla and media coverage dies down about the Penn State, Syracuse, Citadel, and the Hollywood minor actors’ child sex abuse scandals, I worry that our attention span for the next salacious article has made many forget that about the issue that lies at the heart of the headlines.
This isn't just about a cover-up,the unraveling of an institution, or the take down of “model” citizens. The real story is about hellacious crimes against children.
The institutions will recover and even the players will go on with their lives, perhaps some without so much as a slap on the wrist. But we can tell you that there are many children out there right now still suffering in silence, abused, scared and unsure how to reach out for help. Scared they won’t be believed, fearful of stirring the pot and having the lid blown off. Those children, and the advocates for children’s rights are hoping that these stories don’t go away so quickly.
At this juncture, the media wields a lot of power. They control what we read; they control what makes the headline news. Of course, we are certainly not hoping to hear about more children being abused, but when survivors do come forward it empowers others to know they are not alone. It gives them the strength to come forward as well. My fear is that when the next big story comes along, the media will place child abuse on the back burner again - and these children and adult survivors will stay in hiding, feeling that they do not have a voice, thinking they deserved what is happening to them and believing everything their abuser is/has been telling them.
We can’t let that happen. We need to treat child abuse like an epidemic, because it is one. If there were an outbreak of any other “epidemic," every stone would be overturned to stop it. We must turn over every stone to prevent child abuse. So please, as you pick up the paper, turn on your computer, and TV, and you don’t hear another “sex abuse newsworthy big media” story hitting the front page, remember there are children out there being abused (every 10 seconds a report of child abuse is made) that still need your attention, your outrage, and your help to end child abuse.
Call to action: Take a few minutes and raise your own awareness so you can at least know better how to protect your own loved ones, understand the process of grooming, and continue this dialogue with your coworkers, friends, and family. Let’s keep this “news” on our own front headlines even if the media does not deem it newsworthy anymore.
For more information about our nonprofit www.kidsafefoundation.org, visit our website to see what we are doing to prevent child abuse!