This moved me to tears.
During the time in which we anxiously awaited a verdict, a friend of ours wrote me an email and said that he was completely torn up in anticipation of the verdict and in fear that Jerry Sandusky would be acquitted.
This friend confided that a guilty verdict for Sandusky would be a verdict-by-proxy for him, because as an abuse survivor himself, he identified so closely with many of the kids whom Sandusky abused.
We were all relieved to learn that Sandusky was found guilty on 45 counts of child sexual abuse.
And for so many, it is a message loud and clear: You are heard. You are important. We want to try to prevent abuse. You are worth standing up for.
This viral thank-you letter was created and shared by an organization called Darkness to Light. On their Facebook page, they describe their organization like this: “Our programs raise awareness of the prevalence and consequences of child sexual abuse by educating adults about the steps they can take to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to the reality of child sexual abuse.”
And while not every child who has been abused will be able to speak up, and some will not be believed, we support all survivors of sexual abuse regardless of their situation.
I hope we can continue to stand behind survivors and to learn more about prevention of child sexual abuse. This message on Darkness to Light resonate with me particularly:
“The nation is talking openly about child sexual abuse. Right now, let us all commit to keeping the conversation alive.”
What can we do to help keep this conversation alive?
How can we better support the survivors of abuse, like those in Sandusky’s case?
For those of us who have children, or are concerned about children in our lives, MaleSurvivor.org offers a great guide to helping keep your kids, particularly boys, safe from sexual abuse and exploitation. Read their guide here.
Most of all—commit to believing the children in your life when they tell you something. Never punish a child or make them feel guilty for telling you the truth about something that happened to them. Tell your kids they are worth fighting for.