As adults, perhaps our biggest responsibility in our lifetime is to protect our children, and the uncertainty of the world today has made that more important now than ever before.
Statistics from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reveal that 1 in 10 children in the United States are sexually abused before their 18th birthday, typically by someone they know and trust; and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children reports that 1 in 5 children will be solicited sexually on the internet.
Child sexual abuse is happening regardless of age, gender, race, religion or socio-economic class.
But these are not just numbers. Behind every number is a child, a child who has been robbed of their innocence. A child whose life will forever have been changed by the heinous act of an adult. We owe it to our children, and we owe it to their future, to do better.
As part of our commitment to social responsibility to the communities we serve, the Hockomock Area YMCA, along with YMCAs throughout Massachusetts and across the nation will be sponsoring Five Days of Action for Child Abuse Prevention, a campaign committed to raise awareness and inspire adults to take an active role to protect children from sexual abuse.
While child protection is our Y’s number one priority every day, this critical campaign will run from June 7th through June 11th as we approach summertime, and will shine a collective spotlight on how everyone can do something to prevent child sexual abuse.
Our Y will share information and resources each day to our members and community partners about how adults can prevent, recognize and respond to child sexual abuse situations to keep children safe.
Help us prevent child sexual abuse through Know, See, Respond. When adults know how abuse happens, see the warning signs, and respond quickly to prevent abuse, they foster a culture of child abuse prevention. Together we can bring awareness to the issue of child sexual abuse in our communities and have important conversations on how we can all work together to prevent it from happening. Please join our YMCA to spread important awareness and resources with your social networks and family and friends around this devastating epidemic.
Our YMCA is proud to have partnered and collaborated with school systems, municipalities and other human service organizations throughout our service area to help bring awareness, education and training regarding this issue. We remain committed to this collaborative cause and our effort to be part of a community-based prevention movement.
For more information and resources — including training opportunities for your organization, visit hockymca.org/child protection or email [email protected]
As responsible adults, we need to give children a happy, healthy and safe childhood. Our world needs them, and they need us. Let’s give them the childhood they deserve.
The writer is president and CEO of the Hockomock Area YMCA.