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giovedì 23 marzo 2017
"No More Secrets" Help victims of child sexual abuse
We're all obligated to help victims of child sexual abuse find the light from the darkest depths of their ordeals.
It's unconscionable that a clear tool for helping such victims would rest at the fingertips of our school officials and lawmakers but not be brought to bear.
The Indiana House has an opportunity to require such a tool be incorporated in public schools. Now the House Education Committee must act to give the bill a hearing and pass it on to the full House for final consideration.
The Indiana Senate already saw the wisdom in passing a version of Erin's Law, which requires schools to teach sexual abuse prevention curriculum in schools.
Versions of the law already exist in 28 states, and the Hoosier state should join the ranks.
The Region's recent "No More Secrets"campaign shows the worth of educating students and others on the importance of reporting child sexual abuserather than keeping it secret, as many victims are inclined — or instructed by an abuser — to do.
The campaign recently brought the message of victims speaking out to about 14 Region schools. As a direct result, 73 students have stepped from the shadows to report sexual abuse, organizers of the campaign said.
Those children received immediate support from state child services workers.
Imagine the effectiveness of such a message if all schools were required to teach this important lesson.
North Township Trustee Frank Mrvan and others who partnered in the "No More Secrets" campaign deserve praise for shining a light on a hideous reality in our society.
Indiana lawmakers must take the next crucial step in mandating sexual abuse prevention curriculum in our schools.
Erin Merryn, a sexual abuse survivor and champion of Erin's Law, noted in a recent guest column that one in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused by the age of 18.
There are an estimated 42 million survivors of child sexual abuse in America, and about 3 million of those are children, she added.
"The statistical evidence of drug abuse, alcohol abuse, suicide rates are just astronomically higher for people that have been abused," said Indiana Sen. Mark Messmer, R-Jasper, who sponsored Senate Bill 355. "And this just allows that intervention to start at an earlier age."
It's time for a resounding approval of Senate Bill 355.
We cannot allow our society's most vulnerable members — the ones who represent our future — to suffer in silence.