Exposed and Uncovered – Child Sexual Abuse in Your Community: How it Happens, How to Respond Part II

 

By Laura Young, Youth Advocate, Umbrella

On Friday, June 9th a local St. Johnsbury counselor was arrested for sexual assault of a child (a 14 year old young man) and recording a sex act of a minor. Many of our community members have been left reeling and angry. In my role as the Youth Advocate at Umbrella in St. Johnsbury, I would like to continue to share my thoughts on how this happens and what to do if your community has been affected by child sexual abuse.

  1.  Child sexual abuse is common and a person who sexually abuses a child could have multiple if not many children that they are abusing.

According to the organization Child Lures Prevention: “Male offenders who abused girls had an average of 52 victims each, men who molested boys had an astonishing average of 150 victims each, and only 3% of these crimes had ever been detected.” These statistics only reflect men who perpetrate sexual violence.  Although offenders are overwhelmingly male, it is estimated that women are the abusers in about 14% of cases reported among boys and 6% of cases reported among girls (Statistics on Perpetrators of Child Sexual Abuse, National Victims of Crime).

  1.  It’s not easy to know how to respond to child sexual abuse, especially when it’s someone well known in the community.

Knowing “how” child sexual abuse can occur can be helpful but, when an incident happens, the information on “how” is often less important to the community affected by Continue reading

Staying Positive

 

by Matt Renaud Youth Advocate and Prevention Educator, AWARE

 

Earlier today, I saw a news story titled, As pressure mounts, ISIS militants hide behind kids.  The title really says it all – ISIS militants are now literally using children as shields to avoid being targeted by U.S. military forces.  This story was kind of the proverbial icing on the cake for me after the recent events in Paris, Colorado, and California.  Even though all of these events seem to be terrorism-related at this point, it’s not even the terrorism that has me feeling down, it’s the amount of violence in general in our world that seems to be increasing as of late (or maybe the media is just paying more attention to it) and how there seem to be more and more innocent people (including many children) getting caught in the crossfire either literally or indirectly.

After seeing this news story and reflecting on recent events, I thought I’d look for some positive news stories involving youth to share in my post because it seems to me that one way to effectively “combat” this ongoing violence is to promote positivity.  Sorry for a short post this time around – I just wanted to share some uplifting stuff (more for my own self-care than anything), so I hope you enjoy the following links!  By the way, I read more news sources than just CBS, that’s just the site I happened to be searching on.  I’m usually more of a Fox News person (just kidding!).

I hope everyone has a great holiday season and let’s keep in mind how much we all have to be truly thankful for, even in the face of such senseless violence.

Twin Boys Reunited with their WWII Hero

On The Road:  Explaining Terrorist Attacks to Children

7 Year Old Donates Money in Piggy Bank to Vandalized Mosque

Breathe deeply!  Taking Care of the Caregiver

~by Judy Szeg, Educator, Office & Volunteer Coordinator, Safeline, Inc.

 “You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe                                          deserve your love and affection.”  – Buddha

Watch a lit candle.  Do yoga.  Walk your dog.  Smell your favorite scent.  Listen to music.   Dance.  These are small things but, oh, so important when done mindfully.

The readers of this blog have very diverse roles – teachers, other school staff, parents, counselors, therapists, faith leaders, youth group or community leaders, the list goes on and on.  One thing that we may experience in common is that we may sometimes feel overwhelmed as we do our best to support the children and youth in our lives.

Unfortunately, many of the children and youth that we know experience very serious challenges in their young lives, whether due to domestic or sexual violence, alcohol or substance abuse, bullying, poverty, homelessness or many other issues.  When we interact with them on a regular basis, become aware of their situation and witness their pain, fear or sadness, we may find that we are impacted more than we realize.

Have you found yourself having difficulty sleeping and worrying about a youth you know?  Continue reading