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The Jerry Sandusky case is a tragic reminder of what occurs daily in communities across this nation and in Northern Kentucky. Children are being sexually abused, exploited, physically abused and neglected, and they are waiting for adults (any adult) to stand up and protect them.
The Northern Kentucky Children’s Advocacy Center, Women’s Crisis Center and The Family Nurturing Center are three non-profit organizations in Northern Kentucky committed to helping and healing children and families who have experienced child abuse. The victims in the Sandusky trial had the courage to speak out. That isn’t always the case, and so often, adults who suspect abuse remain silent, compounding the tragedy as well as the impact.
As adults, we must understand the risks and the signs of child abuse. We need to talk openly with our children about their bodies and safety. We need to let children know we are interested in understanding their friendships, their relationships, their feelings and their lives. We need to minimize one-on-one contact between adults and children. We need to advocate for children, taking the time to talk to organizations about their child abuse prevention policies. Most important, we need to get involved and trust our instincts. This is the role of every adult in every situation: When an adult suspects abuse, it simply must be reported. Silence is not an option!
The Penn State tragedy started when the first child was hurt, and it continued amid a sea of silence. The final tragedy was that the victims grew into adults and continued to suffer – again, in silence – for years.
As three organizations that serve children and families in Northern Kentucky, we want every adult in Northern Kentucky to take a stand and say this will not happen to our children, in our families and in our communities. For information on each of the organizations identified and for evidence-based child abuse prevention programs that each organization offers, please visit our websites:
•Northern Kentucky Children’s Advocacy Center: www.nkycac.org <http://www.nkycac.org>
Vickie A. Henderson, NKCAC Executive Director
Marsha Croxton, WCC Executive Director
Jane Herms, FNC Executive Director