Child Abuse Prevention Month
Whenever meeting someone for the first time, there’s a series of familiar questions that seemed to be asked. Where are you from? Where do you live? What brings you to Utah? What do you do for work? I look forward to the latter because I get to respond with, “I’m a Prevention Specialist for Peace House!” Admittedly, most people I talk with have no idea what a prevention specialist is or where Peace House is located. Sometimes I’m asked for more information but, more often than not, I add more information by sharing that I have the opportunity to give child abuse prevention presentations in Summit and Wasatch County schools (K-12). The puzzled look after that is usually wondering if the presentations are for the faculty or the students. The answer is both, along with community presentations open to the public. My favorite part of this meet and greet is when this question is asked, “How do you teach children about child abuse?” I often wonder if they know what they just got themselves into by asking a prevention specialist, one who is passionate about the work, to share how he teaches children. Most the time, I’m aware of time and offer the “elevator pitch” as to how we present, explaining that we use age appropriate language to teach kids to listen to the “Uh-oh” feeling from their bodies, say no, and tell a trusted adult. If the person I am meeting asks anymore questions beyond that, the “elevator pitch” is no longer in play. April is Child Abuse Prevention Month and I believe it is important two recognize that over 4 million children are reported abused, every year, in the United States. Children often believe it is their fault for the abuse and therefore do not tell what is happening to them. Another reason why children don’t tell is that 9 out of 10 children being abused, are being abused by someone they know, love, and/or trust. Our message to the children we present, is that it is never the child’s fault for abuse and it is necessary to tell a trusted adult in order for the abuse to stop.