I have a dream that I will wake up one day and there will not be a single story in the news about a child being abused.
I don’t know if this will happen in my lifetime. But through my life’s work teaching children, I know that they have the RIGHT to be safe, that their bodies belong only to them and that they need to know how to access help.
One of the most direct ways to effect change is through parenting seminars and teacher workshops to educate adults that we can no longer be complacent in our children’s safety. What does that mean? It means that we need to supervise our children when they are outside playing, at school, on the computer, on their cell phones and watching TV. We have to actively teach our children the skills to be safe in this day and age. This is not to say we have to helicopter our children – but we need to at least remain on the same runway!
Why? Because child predators who are getting bolder each day. They are smart, savvy and way too manipulative for our kids to handle. Child molesters often seek job positions and/or volunteer in child-related programs. They groom your children – in fact, they groom you and you don’t even know it. Remember all those old sayings our parents and grandparents use to say: “If it seems too good to be true it probably is.” Or the oldie but goodie: “Trust your instincts, they are rarely wrong.” It’s hard because we want to see the good in people and we are also so busy that we rarely take the time to sit back and listen to our instincts. But we need to start, right now. Seven years ago when we started KidSafe, I used to read maybe two stories of child abuse in the news each day. Today I am reading too many to even count. It’s true that child abuse has always existed, but it is worse now on so many levels.
Prevention education is the key to fighting this problem. KidSafe Foundation is on a mission to break the cycle of silence about child abuse and educate as many children and adults as we can.
As our grandparents use to say, “It takes a village.” And it’s true. It does take a village to keep our children safe. It takes parents, teachers and children working together, raising awareness, understanding and pursuing the rights of children, speaking up if you see something, feel something or your gut tells you something. We must always air on the side of protecting children. Why? Because there is a child out there who does not have a voice. A child who does not know who to tell. A child who is scared, ashamed, sad, nervous and whose world is falling apart.
If we can reach out to these kids, then maybe – just maybe – my dream will come true: a world in which children have found their voices and know they have the right to be safe.
For more information about KidSafe and our programs for children and adults visit our website – www.kidsafefoundation.org