About 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 13 boys in the United States experience child sexual abuse before turning 18 years old.
Ninety-one percent of child sexual abuse is perpetrated by someone the child or child’s family knows. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cdc.org, many children never report their abuse.
These statistics are grim, but there are steps that parents can take to protect their children from sexual abuse and these numbers can be decreased. Upcoming classes in Pleasant Grove can give parents these important skills. PG Cares, Pleasant Grove’s Communities that Care Coalition, and Defend Innocence are teaming up to present a class aimed at teaching parents, grandparents and other caregivers “Top 5 Ways to Protect Children From Sexual Abuse.”
“One of our PG Cares Coalition members has been through the Defend Innocence training process and is excited to share this information with our community, or anyone who wants to attend from outside of Pleasant Grove too,” said Tamara Oborn, PG Cares director. Defend Innocence, part of the Younique Foundation, has a mission to eradicate child sexual abuse and its effects. The organization focuses on risk reduction and prevention and provides free educational resources to parents, caregivers and community leaders.
According to its website, www.defendinnocence.org, children who experience sexual abuse are at least three times more likely to attempt suicide later in life. Sexually abused youth are five times more likely to be hospitalized for a mental or physical health problem. Defend Innocence provides resources on a variety of topics aimed at protecting children. These topics include signs of sexual abuse and how to respond, sexual development at all ages, online safety, managing emotions, open communication and boundaries and consent.
Oborn said that one of the goals of PG Cares is to help prevent child sexual abuse. “Sexual abuse increases the risk of substance abuse, mental health struggles, unhealthy relationships and suicide,” she said. “One in four kids in Utah is sexually abused. If we can prevent childhood sex abuse, we will reduce the risk of so many other tragic issues. It’s not the only solution, but it’s something we know we can change for the better.”
There are options to choose from for the free one-hour class. The first class is Thursday. Classes also will be held on Aug. 5 and Aug. 21 at 7 p.m. at the Pleasant Grove Public Safety Community Room, 108 S. 100 East. The class is designed for adults who care for children of all ages. Register at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdqmHzvD8jQHEUGp4yOZL4nP0zLXM13MmelA20eMGAhWeQn9A/viewform or simply show up.
“By partnering with Defend Innocence and offering these educational classes and increased discussion about sexual abuse prevention, we can be a stronger and safer community,” Oborn said.