You Have To Educate Yourself If You Really Want to Help Children
by Svava Brooks
Let me ask you a question. How would you react if you discovered a trusted relative was sexually abusing a child in your family? Or maybe the abuser is a highly respected, influential person in an organization you support.
Would you be outraged? Or would you worry about what people think about your family or that organization? Unfortunately, when most people have the opportunity to protect a child’s well-being in a sexually abusive situation, they choose to preserve the reputation of the family or organization rather than coming to the aid of the child. They choose to do nothing. I’ve been teaching about Child Sexual Abuse Prevention for over a decade, and I’ve seen this response too often. Just look at the media. Penn State, the Catholic Church, Larry Nasser along with the Olympic Committee, MeToo movement etc. All of these incidents are perfect examples. This is happening all around us. Sad, but true. And I know what you’re thinking now, that you would be the exception, right? That you’d react differently by speaking up for the child. But what you don’t realize is you can’t do that effectively until you’ve been educated about child sexual abuse. You’d need to know the facts, as well as the warning signs and how to prevent CSA from happening in the first place. You may think you already know enough. But you don’t. Unless you’ve attended a CSA seminar or presentation, you don’t have the skills necessary to help a child in a sexually abusive situation. Concerned adults need to be educated about CSA. It’s important to learn how offenders groom parents before they go after their kids. That’s the only way you’ll know how to act in the best interests of the child.
You may never actually see someone abuse a child but I can guarantee you may run into a situation where there is something going on that makes you feel uncomfortable. Without the proper training, you may not feel confident enough to speak up, ask questions, talk to other adult to get the support you need to intervene. Fortunately, there are caring people like you, who recognize the need for education and preparation. You realize it’s more important to protect the child than the reputation of the family or organization. When you learn how often CSA occurs, you’ll create a safety plan to protect your kids as well. Once people are educated about CSA and how it fuels a toxic cycle of abuse generation after generation, they’ll understand there aren’t several choices in this kind of situation. There’s only one.
And doing nothing is no longer the answer.
Svava Brooks is a survivor of child sexual abuse and the co-founder of a nationwide child sexual abuse prevention and education organization in Iceland called “Blátt áfram.” She is also a certified instructor and facilitator forDarkness to Light Stewards of Children, as well as a certified Crisis Intervention Specialist, a certified Positive Discipline Parent Educator, a BellaNet Teen support group facilitator, a Certified TRE® Provider, and an Abuse Survivor Coach. The mother of three children, Svava has dedicated her life to ending the cycle of child sexual abuse through education, awareness, and by helping survivors heal and thrive. She is a certified facilitator for Advance!, a program created by Connections to restore authentic identity. Every week she writes about healing after trauma on her blog, and also leads a discussion forum on Child Sexual Abuse Healing and Recovery online.