This week marks the beginning of both Child Abuse Prevention Month and Sexual Assault Awareness Month. This April, we urge you to join the child protection movement. Whether you are a survivor of child abuse, a relative or close friend of a survivor, or an advocate working to support survivors, the movement needs you. As advocates and survivors, you and we have the power to change the conversation around child abuse and sexual assault.
Throughout the past year, sexual abuse and sexual harassment have been at the forefront of the news headlines. The “Time’s Up” and #MeToo movements have sparked a revolution in the way society views, treats and responds to cases of sexual abuse and harassment. We must keep this momentum going and not let the important topic of sexual abuse and sexual assault fade away into the background.
In order to end child abuse and sexual violence, we must talk about it and break the stigma that it often carries. The #MeToo movement has provided survivors of sexual violence everywhere with a platform to break their silence. As allies, it’s our turn to step up and support the actions of the brave survivors who have shared their stories with the world. If you want to be a part of the child protection movement, reach out to your local child abuse prevention organization to find out how you can help prevent child abuse and get involved, not only this April but all year long.
Additionally, during this legislative session, several state legislatures are considering a change to current laws that enable and protect sexual predators and the institutions that harbor them. Now is the time to contact your local legislators and get involved in policy change that will impact how your community responds to child abuse, prevents child abuse, and supports survivors of child abuse. Now that lawmakers are listening, it’s time to add your voice to the conversation.
During Child Abuse Prevention and Sexual Assault Awareness Month, one of the most important things allies can do is support survivors. Research has shown that social support encourages disclosure and promotes healing. If someone you know discloses to you, be there for them. Tell them that you believe them. Tell them that what happened to them is not their fault. It takes a lot of courage to disclose. Your support can play a role in someone’s healing.
It’s time to take action. You can make a difference by joining the child protection movement.