To the Gazette:
Nationwide, April is recognized as Child Abuse Prevention Month. Be courageous and protect the most vulnerable among us by communicating about keeping children safe. Courage is a word we typically associate with soldiers, firefighters, police officers, and others fighting on the frontlines to keep all of us safe from harm. Courage can also be ascribed to those who push stigma and discomfort aside to talk about that which society keeps in the shadows.
In 2012, SCARF’s Sunlight Child Advocacy Center conducted 185 interviews with children from Butler, Elk, and Greenwood Counties to investigate abuse. We at SCARF believe in the courage it takes to speak out for our children and prevent abuse. We know that as many as 95% of child abuse perpetrators are family members or someone the family knows and trusts. It is courageous to speak out when someone pays unusual attention to a child. It is courageous to talk openly to our children about inappropriate attention and how to report it. If your child has been abused, it is courageous to show them they are not alone or at fault.
While this crime of secrecy is brought to the forefront during the month of April, we hope our local communities continue to have courage year-round, and help win the fight against child abuse and neglect in every community. We can only eradicate child abuse after we are informed and willing to talk openly. Visit www.onewithcourage.org or www.scarfks.com to join the fight.
Coordinator, Sunlight Child Advocacy Center