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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Silence Is NOT Golden

A lot has been written of the Penn State and Syracuse Child Sexual Abuse scandals and I know that several several sports fans around the country have been taken aback by these stories. Media, including ESPN, has done a pretty good job covering them, although some of the language of their reporting has been misleading. But one thing that continues to bother me is how quick we are to move on with our lives and, in doing so, miss an opportunity to prevent something like this from happening to those we care about in our communities. Or as Larry Cohen of Prevention Institute puts it, "we standby rather than stand up".

In many ways, this response is predictable and puts us all on par with the men and women that had a responsibility within these institutions to protect the children that were abused but didn't do enough about it. We are shocked and awed by these incidents and have a knee-jerk reaction to call the acts for what they were as depraved assaults on innocent children and youth. We talk about it. Judge those who did wrong. Pray for the kids and their families. But then we do nothing else. We go back to our lives as they were and move on... until the next scandal. Then we do it all again.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." We all can play a role as a part of the solution but we need to stop moving on and start dealing with these issues in our communities. The failure in each of these scandals (and in the Catholic Church scandal that has rocked Kansas City) is that, over and over, people know something is wrong but fail to do enough about it, then move on and become silent. My question to you is "What are you doing about it?" -- because these scandals aren't going away by them selves.

In case you are unsure how to help but you want to, let me provide some local and national resources. In Kansas City, MOCSA is a great resource providing prevention, intervention, treatment, and advocacy to the community and we are always in need of good volunteers to help us in a variety of ways. Check us out on the web at RAINN is a national network that provides information, awareness, and on-line hotline. The National Coalition to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse & Exploitation provides a variety of information for parents and child-care workers as well as those interested in getting involved with a variety far-reaching proven models. Another site with a wealth of information and resources is The Center for Disease Control and Prevention. If none of these interest you, please don't hesitate to contact us by providing a comment as we would be happy to help you consider other options.

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