Presentation on theme: "A community service presentation of Cherry Hill Seminary Education for leadership, ministry & personal growth in Pagan and other Nature-based spiritualities."— Presentation transcript:
A community service presentation of Cherry Hill Seminary Education for leadership, ministry & personal growth in Pagan and other Nature-based spiritualities
What happens when a car alarm goes off on a busy street? Everyone ignores it because we all assume that someone else is taking care of it --- Right?
But what if it’s a real emergency? Should we just look away? What if we are not sure what to do?
We may think that abuse is something that happens to others, people we don’t know. But the truth is that abuse is all around us, often in our own families or groups of friends.
In fact, studies show that abuse – including neglect, domestic violence, and sexual abuse- happens in all social classes, all ethnic and racial groups, all levels of education, all ages and regardless of gender.
We can’t just look away. We can’t assume someone else is taking care of it. But how do we know whether our friend just fell down, or her partner gave her those bruises? How can we tell a child is being molested – maybe he is just shy?
Watching this presentation won’t make you an expert, but it can help you better understand the problem. We have also included some references and links where you can find more information or get help.
A skeleton in far too many family closets, the problem of sexual abuse is receiving a great deal of media attention lately. Whether it’s happening more frequently or simply becoming easier to identify, the long-term damage is immeasurable, producing all manner of psychological, physical, and professional challenges in adulthood.
Sexual abuse is one of the more difficult forms of abuse to detect —often because the victim is too young or too intimidated to report it. Even an older victim may feel intimidated enough to stay silent.
Fear -- the threat of exposure -- If you tell, I’ll say you made me do it-- or physical harm-- I’ll kill you if you tell! -- can prevent a victim from reaching out for help.
Sexual abuse happens whenever one person dominates and exploits another using sex. Sometimes a victim feels guilty about experiencing physical pleasure while being abused. This does not mean it is not abuse.
Never Assume-- While more victims tend to be girls, boys are equally at risk. Sexual abuse occurs in all social classes, all religious groups, income strata, across cultures and at many ages.
Who Are The Sexual Predators? In the news we hear about sexual abuse by childcare providers, baby sitters, and others who have only occasional contact with the child. But the abuser is rarely a stranger. Often a trusted member of the victim’s immediate family—a brother or sister, uncle or aunt, grandparent or step-parent, even a biological parent—may be responsible.
Sexual abuse in childhood may damage the ability to have healthy relationships. Sadly, many victims of child sexual abuse become abusers themselves. Sexual abuse robs children of their childhood.
Adult survivors often suffer-- Depression Body issues Eating disorders Medical problems Stress & anxiety Mental health problems Relationship issues Sexual difficulties
Protecting Your Children from Sexual Abuse -- The typical advice, “Don't talk to strangers" doesn't apply in this case. Most sexual perpetrators are known to their victims. Do not instruct children to give relatives hugs and kisses. Let them express affection on their own terms. Teach your children basic sexual education. Teach them that no one should touch the "private" parts of their body.
Encourage your children to ask questions and talk about their experiences. Explain the importance of reporting abuse to you or another trusted adult. Let your child know that he or she does not have to keep a secret for someone. Teach your children that sexual advances from adults are wrong and against the law. Give them the confidence to assert themselves against any adult who attempts to abuse them. Make an effort to know children's friends and their families.
Instruct your child to never get into a car with anyone without your permission. Teach your children that their bodies are their own, that it is okay to say they do not want a hug or that certain kinds of contact make them uncomfortable. Remember that physical force is often not necessary to engage a child in sexual activity. Children are trusting and dependent and will often do what is asked of them to gain approval and love.
If You Suspect Sexual Abuse -- Help a child feel safe talking to you or another trusted adult. Do NOT ask the child in front of the adult who might be the abuser. Do not suggest events that may not have happened. Do not display emotions that would influence the child's telling of the information. Reassure the child that he or she did nothing wrong. If you believe there are credible grounds to suspect child abuse, contact police or social services immediately.
Mandatory Reporting -- Many states have laws requiring that any person who knows or suspects that a child has been sexually-abused must report that abuse to either local law enforcement officials or child protection officials. In all 50 states, medical personnel, mental health professionals, teachers, law enforcement personnel and ministers (this includes Pagans) are required by law to report suspected abuse.
If you have been sexually-assaulted -- Try to get to a place where you feel safe. Reach out for support. Call someone you trust, such as a friend or a family member. You are not alone; there are people who can give you the support you need. Call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at (800) 656-HOPE—your call is free and is anonymous and confidential. Seek medical attention as soon as possible. Medical care is important to address any injuries you may have and to protect against sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy. Most important, know that the assault is not your fault. (U.S. Department of Justice)
If you become aware of abuse at a festival or other event call the local child abuse hotline or 911.
If you are an event organizer, consider looking around your local community for a Pagan mental health- related professional who will agree to be the designated on-site emergency contact.
Car alarms don’t just go off; there is always a reason. Many times it is simply a misunderstanding. But ignoring the alarm may allow needless harm.
If we look away from abuse we become part of the problem, allowing it to continue. But we can be part of making it stop.
It’s our community – Let’s all do our part to make sure it is a safe one. Don’t look away from abuse.
Resources “Special Resources” quick reference page on the Cherry Hill Seminary web site, under For Students/Materials www.cherryhillseminary.org
National Child Traumatic Stress Network http://www.nctsn.org/content/resources
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children Charles B. Wang International Children's Building 699 Prince Street Alexandria, VA 22314-3175 24-hour hotline: 1-800-THE-LOST www.missingkids.com
Child Help USA 15757 North 78th Street Scottsdale, AZ 85260 (800) 4-A-CHILD www.childhelpusa.org
Prevent Child Abuse America 332 S. Michigan Ave Suite 1600 Chicago, IL 60604-4357 (800) CHILDREN www.preventchildabuse.org
Child sexual abuse: What parents should know American Psychological Association http://www.apa.org/pi/families/resources/child- sexual-abuse.aspx
The National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) Or go here to chat online: http://www.thehotline.org/help/
Child Welfare Information Gateway (formerly National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information) Children's Bureau/ACYF 1250 Maryland Avenue, SW Eighth Floor Washington, DC 20024 (800) 394-3366 www.childwelfare.gov
Recognizing Sexual Abuse U.S. Department of Justice www.nsopr.gov
This presentation is a community service of Cherry Hill Seminary. Please share freely but credit the creator and do not modify. Copyright 2014 by Cherry Hill Seminary. www.cherryhillseminary.org All rights reserved.