Now that Jerry Sandusky has been found guilty of child sexual abuse, the question before us as a nation is: What have we learned?
We have learned that our community is prepared to say, I Will Not Be Silent. When communities are prepared to come together to support healthy, happy childhoods, we can prevent child sexual abuse before it ever occurs. According to Prevent Child Abuse America, we have learned that policymakers both local and federal now better understand that the laws in place are inadequate if we are going to prevent child sexual abuse from ever occurring. And we have learned that as a country the impact of child sexual abuse remains more far-reaching than most of us were able to acknowledge, or even understand, before the Sandusky scandal happened.
In Santa Barbara County we know that all adults must play an active role in the lives of the children who live in their neighborhoods and communities if we are to ensure that all forms of child abuse are prevented, and that when child abuse occurs, we must address it and help children to heal. We at CALM are committed to using evidence based techniques to both prevent and treat child abuse.
What happened at Penn State is a terrible tragedy for those who were victimized and silenced, but that it doesn’t have to be the whole story. Our community can, and must not be silent. We must work together to become a community of responsibility to protect children from abuse, neglect and exposure to violence.