Child Abuse Prevention
Today's topic is quite different from our usual meditation topic. For some reason, I woke up today with an overwhelming concern about Child Abuse Prevention. I decided to Google the topic to find out in which month we typically have National Child Abuse Prevention Month. This normally occurs in April. But, I don't think we should dedicate just a single month to Child Abuse Prevention or to the prevention of any abuse or assault. Abuse Prevention should be a daily endeavor.
The fact that children are all going back to school in September and that they are suddenly more suceptible to abuse, makes me think this would be a much better month to focus on Child Abuse Prevention. At this time of year, children are suddenly under the care of other adults and no longer under the watchful eye of parents. They are also in the company of so many other children, some of whom may be bullies. And, yes, even children can perpetrate sexual abuse on other children.
At Sage Meditation we regularly receive emails and phone calls requesting donations, items or money, for various causes. We wish we could donate to every request, but we simply cannot save the world with our limited financial resources. However, we do give quite regularly. In fact, today we donated $50 to Stop it Now! There are many organizations dedicated to helping children and adults who have suffered abuse. But, Stop It Now! has a strong program of informing parents on how to prevent sexual abuse as much as possible. As Frederick Douglas quoted, "It is easier to build strong children that to repair broken men." Or, for that fact, any broken adult.
Even if you do not have any children yourself, you can be helpful with preventing abuse. I was recently shopping at a department store. A father brought his young son (I would guess around 8) to the Men's Room door and said, "Go ahead, I'll wait right here for you." It took some courage on my part, but I turned to him and said, "You don't know who is in there, you should go in with him." The man looked a bit disturbed by my comment, but nodded and proceeded into the bathroom with his son. I felt good knowing that I might have taught this man a little bit about taking an extra step toward protecting his son and that he had to change his boundaries about giving his son privacy in a public restroom.
You, too, can look for any potential trouble, always being mindful that children are at risk constantly. If you've ever heard the expression, "Speak up, even if your voice shakes a litte" just remember that you have some responsibility to step in when you see something wrong. You don't need to be aggressive or make the parent look foolish. With all the compassion you can muster, guide these young parents to understanding how to protect their children. The worst thing that will happen is they will tell you to mind your own business.
If you are a parent, I would encourage you to seek out articles and other material to educate yourself on how best to protect your children from harm. This excellent article is thorough and offers some great resources:
Yes, it is a bit disturbing to talk about abuse - especially the sexual kind. If we suffered this ourselves, we may be afraid to read about this topic. But, you can bet that the information we have today is much more useful than the information, or lack of it, that it existed when we were children. Reading about how to protect your children may actually make you feel better about your own past. It is very healing and empowering to learn how to be a protector and how to empower vulnerable people.
Finally, if you are someone who has the potential to commit abuse, there is help for you as well. In many cases, people who commit abuse have themselves been abused in the past. This must be resolved in order to learn to live happy, productive, and non-abusive lives. If you have bouts of explosive anger or unusual thoughts of hurting, abusing, or engaging in inappropriate sexual activity, this may be a sign of unresolved past abuse - even unkown to you. Don't think of yourself as being weak for seeking out therapy - think of yourself as being strong for facing your own abuse and for working to resolve it.
Stop It Now! has resources for survivors. If you aren't certain whether you are a survivor, it can only benefit you to explore the possibility. Resolving your own personal struggles will improve the world.
Thank you for reading,
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