Our awareness of child sexual abuse is heightened in so many ways. We read about it in this newspaper. We hear reports through other media sources. There is a Child Abuse Awareness Month (April) and a World Day for the Prevention of Child Abuse (Nov. 19).
Children need to be protected through this much-needed attention. However, I often wonder: Once the stories are reported, after the newspapers go into recycling bins, are we still paying attention? Do we ask ourselves what we can do, personally, to help?
I am so grateful for the diligence of the many local individuals who work to protect our children. However, I am also compelled to reach out to my fellow community members with this reminder: Please be mindful that on any given day a child in Portage County could be suffering from this abuse at the hands of a trusted adult or teen. It happens to children in your neighborhood, in your church, and to children whom you might even know. Child sexual abuse is severely undereported.
Please, let's remember that each and every one of us can give children a voice. We can be watchful. We can get past our fear that we may be reporting something that our hearts believe is true but that we're not sure about. We can educate ourselves.
The Children's Advocacy Center is providing a training called "Darkness to Light: Stewards of Children" on Dec. 4 from 1 to 4 p.m. at Family & Community Services in Ravenna. This training can help adults to better understand child sexual abuse and know how we can help.
Please report child abuse and neglect to the Portage County Department of Jobs and Family Services: Call 330-296-2273.
For information about the training contact The Children's Advocacy Center at 330-297-8838 or email email@example.com.
The Children's Advocacy Center of Portage County