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WASHINGTON, D.C. – The YMCA of Metropolitan Washington is participating in the Five Days of Action, October 26-30, 2020. The Five Days of Action is a week designed to raise awareness and inspire adults to take action to protect children from sexual abuse. 

The Y encourages adults and organizations in the community to play a vital role in making the Washington metropolitan area a safer place for children, especially during this ever-changing environment. As our communities continue to press pause and participate in social distancing, we know that protecting kids looks different this year. Not only is our community dealing with a pandemic that is separating kids in need from the safe adults in their lives, but there are spikes in domestic violence, cries for social justice for Black lives, and more concerns about the mental health of youth and adults.

Five Days of Action will help communities and parents/caregivers take it One Day at a Time and will offer tips, tools and resources that are relevant to the current environment.

When adults know how abuse happens, see the warning signs, and respond quickly to prevent abuse, they foster a culture of child abuse prevention. Together, we can bring awareness to the issue of child sexual abuse in our communities and have important conversations around how we can all work together to prevent it from happening.

“Protecting children from sexual abuse must be the number one priority if we are to safeguard the health and well-being of kids,” said Angie L. Reese-Hawkins, President and CEO, The YMCA of Metropolitan Washington. “Together, we can stand up to demand that children are protected and encourage adults to make it happen in our community. It takes all of us.”

The YMCA of Metropolitan Washington with support from the YMCA Guardians for Child Protection, YMCA of the USA, Darkness to Light, the Redwoods Group Foundation, and Praesidium have made materials available to help adults learn more about preventing child sexual abuse.

For more information about preventing child sexual abuse visit www.fivedaysofaction.org.

Materials are derived from YMCA of the USA’s “Know. See. Respond.” copyrighted in 2020.

CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE STATISTICS – PROVIDED BY DARKNESS TO LIGHT

  • One in ten children will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday.
  • 90% of child sexual abuse victims know their abuser.
  • Approximately 30% of children who are sexually abused are abused by family members.
  • 60% of child sexual abuse victims never tell anyone.
  • False reports are rare. Research shows that only 4 to 8% of child sexual abuse reports are fabricated.

WHAT TO DO IF YOU BELIEVE A CHILD IS BEING ABUSED – PROVIDED BY DARKNESS TO LIGHT

  • You do not need to have proof that abuse is occurring to make a report, only reasonable suspicion. Reasonable suspicion means that you have witnessed maltreatment or boundary violations, either in the child or adult, or both. Or, you have received a disclosure from a child about abuse, neglect, or boundary violations towards them.
  • Child sexual abuse reports should be made to the police and/or state child protective services.
  • Contact the Darkness to Light Helpline at 866-FOR-LIGHT or text LIGHT to 741741 to have questions answered by trained counselors at no charge.

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1 Comment

  1. A noteworthy line from the book Childhood Disrupted (How Your Biography Becomes Your Biology, and How You Can Heal, pg.24) in part reads: “Well-meaning and loving parents can unintentionally do harm to a child if they are not well informed about human development …”
    Yet society generally treats human procreative rights as though we’ll somehow, in blind anticipation, be innately inclined to sufficiently understand and appropriately nurture our children’s naturally developing minds and needs.
    I strongly believe that a psychologically sound as well as a physically healthy future should be all children’s foremost right—especially considering the very troubled world into which they never asked to enter—and therefore basic child development science and rearing should be learned long before the average person has their first child.
    By not teaching this to high school students, is it not as though societally we’re implying that anyone can comfortably enough go forth with unconditionally bearing children with whatever minute amount, if any at all, of such vital knowledge they happen to have acquired over time? Perhaps foremost to consider is that during their first three to six years of life (depending on which expert one asks) children have particularly malleable minds (like a dry sponge squeezed and released under water), thus they’re exceptionally vulnerable to whatever rearing environment in which they happened to have been placed by fate.
    “It has been said that if child abuse and neglect were to disappear today, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual would shrink to the size of a pamphlet in two generations, and the prisons would empty. Or, as Bernie Siegel, MD, puts it, quite simply, after half a century of practising medicine, ‘I have become convinced that our number-one public health problem is our childhood’.” (Childhood Disrupted, pg. 228).
    Unhindered abuse and exploitation typically launches a helpless child towards an adolescence and adulthood in which his/her brain uncontrollably releases potentially damaging levels of inflammation-inducing stress hormones and chemicals, even in non-stressful daily routines, thus making future drug use and addiction, even suicide, much more likely.
    (Frank Sterle Jr.)

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