Responding to Sexual Abuse in Your Community

KARK InterviewEarlier this week, I had the pleasure of speaking with Alexis Jordan and KATV Channel 7 News about the recent Faulkner County arrests of men suspected of targeting minors online for sex. Check out their story, including a short video clip, here.

Sexual predators are just one of the many dangers that youth face in today’s world. I am grateful that action is being taken to confront this growing problem, but it is important to understand that no amount of legislation or law enforcement action will solve this problem.

You likely want to do something about this as much as I do. One way you can help is to end the silence. Admitting there is a problem and bringing it into the open is the first step to a solution. Victims are often not believed, dismissed, and even blamed. This makes it very difficult for them to speak about what they have endured. Talking about sexual abuse is often painful because it gives us uncomfortable thoughts and even memories. You can help by being a non-judgmental listener. Don’t force a victim to talk about it either. Someone must feel safe in order to talk.

You can also help by being a safe person and making your surroundings safe. Be aware of what is going on in your neighborhood, at the park, and in your children’s schools. Get to know the people who live near you. Building and maintaining safe, healthy relationships is the best way to teach children to have the same.

Keep your own children safe by establishing and maintaining healthy boundaries and a trust-based relationship. Encourage your children to talk to you about what is going on in their life. Utilize available tools, like parental controls and other resources, to keep your child safe.
Please visit these online resources we use every day in our work with children and families. And don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you need further resources, services, or just to let us get to know you.

Sign up to attend our next community workshop, Boundaries and Consequences on April 16.

John Cunningham
Executive Director
johnc@ghyr.org