Why Did So Many Adults Minimize the Abuse in US Gymnastics?
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Why Did So Many Adults Minimize the Abuse in US Gymnastics?

So, when I look at a highly successful program like US gymnastics, like Penn State football, like USA Swimming, like English Youth Football, etc. I think we can clearly see this. Why be such a downer, don’t you see how much good this program, and the people in it, are doing? It’s probably nothing, just some misunderstanding by over-imaginative kids. Nothing to worry about, look at the success we are having in the field, gym, or water. That’s what this is all about. That’s the important thing. The rest of this will pass.

Except in the case of US Gymnastics, these ladies, and dozens of others, have not simply let it pass. They have remained steadfast in talking about it, making sure they can do everything they can to make sure it doesn’t happen to the next generation and reminding all of us that winning at all costs, is not worth the damage that is done to children who are sexually abused.

They are truly resilient, like many of us who have survived sexual abuse, and gone on to talk about it, share our own stories, and live our adult lives. But never confuse that resiliency with how hard it really is to do. Never look at a survivor who has appeared to overcome their abuse, and assume that it’s ok to diminish what happened to them. It’s never easy, and for each one who might appear to have overcome, I’ll show you 5 who are still struggling every single day. You’ll find many of them in prison, or mental health care centers. Still dealing with the aftermath of their childhood trauma without access to the same support and resources that we lucky few have had the privilege to have. Yet they are all human beings, and they were all children once, children who had to suffer at the hands of adults who were more interested in their own pleasures, comfort, and place in their society than they were to consider the damage being done to these children.

Don’t be one of those adults. There are many ways to abuse a child. Larry Nassar did and is paying for his crimes, finally. But there were a whole lot of other adults who abused these girls, by not taking it seriously, not investigating, and not caring enough about them as human beings to protect them. Make no mistake about that.

Want to Save the Children? Listen to the Experts, Who Say the Truth Matters

Want to Save the Children? Listen to the Experts, Who Say the Truth Matters

Somehow, I had missed the statement put out prior to the elections by almost every organization out there doing the real work of battling human trafficking. They minced no words, and I wanted to share them here, so that readers all know where I stand as well.

When it Comes to Abuse, Trafficking, and Violence, Do We Have a Race and Gender Problem?
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When it Comes to Abuse, Trafficking, and Violence, Do We Have a Race and Gender Problem?

What I want to address, however, is how our society defines victim, and how it leaves far, far too many people behind. That article above is a great example. How many people, if asked about sex trafficking, picture little white girls or women abducted from Target? Probably a lot. For many, the only real information they’ve ever gotten about trafficking are warnings about Target or shopping mall parking lots from their Facebook friends. They don’t know how many teenage boys from broken homes, living in poverty, are pulled into being trafficked. How many gay youths, rejected by their families, fall victim to it. How many immigrant children here with no parental supervision, are sold off by the people who should be protecting them, into sexual slavery. 

Those stories, even if they’re told, are not going to grab national headlines. They are not going to evoke world-wide outrage and sympathy. Those are things that happen to “other people”. We might even be tempted to start looking for reason why it’s their own fault, or at least the parents fault, right? 

From a media perspective, we also have to keep this in mind. An abduction of a young white girl from her home, is a rare event. It’s actually newsworthy because it happens so rarely. When it happens, it’s shocking. A trans, minority, teen being coerced into selling themselves, with no one to turn to for protection, isn’t any of those things. A gay male teen being kicked out of their parents house and trying to make it through homelessness, is also not something that happens so rarely that there would be major news coverage of it. These things happen all of the time. So often, that they aren’t really news. 

So, which group should we have support and services for? I’d like to vote for ALL OF THEM. But that will take educating people about the reality of who gets abused, who gets trafficked, and for us all to accept that it happens everywhere. Until we get there, and are willing to see all different types of people as victims, we will continue to fail one group or another. That’s not acceptable. 

Child Abuse Advocacy Groups Caught up in Facebook QAnon Purge?
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Child Abuse Advocacy Groups Caught up in Facebook QAnon Purge?

Am I sad that there are fewer child abuse advocacy groups on Facebook overall? Sure. But, what makes me sadder is how many legitimate advocacy groups fell massively short of their duty to tell the truth to their followers. How many continued to share these theories well after they were disproved in some bizarre effort to show how much more they cared about children, while diverting attention and resources from real victims and organizations trying to help them.

So no. I don’t feel sorry for you if your page was taken down by Facebook for violating their terms of service around spreading disinformation. You owed real survivors, and the people who followed you to learn more about true child abuse stories, more than that. You are right about one thing, child abuse and child trafficking is an incredibly important issue. Spreading lies doesn’t help that message, it provides the rest of the world an excuse to ignore it. If you truly want to advocate for children, stick to the truth, or suffer the consequences.

Lauren Book on Fight, Flight, or Freeze

Lauren Book on Fight, Flight, or Freeze

Somehow, even though this is from 2016, I hadn’t seen it until last night. It’s a TEDx talk by survivor, and advocate Lauren Book. (https://laurenskids.org)

In it. she shares her own story, and some words about going from victim, to advocate and how we can all advocate for children, but the part that really caught my attention was the beginning, and no not just because she uses an air horn. It’s the description of our responses to trauma, and how they are just part of us, mostly outside of our control, especially as children. Lauren’s freeze response wasn’t just a one-time event either, it went on for years, and was tied to thinking that all of it was her own fault.

If this sound familiar, that’s because it is really common. We just don’t talk about it. We don’t talk about sexual abuse at all, and if we do, this kind of response is usually met with some nasty comments about why we waited to say anything. Those comments simply communicate that the person saying them, knows nothing about the brain and trauma response.

Don’t be that person. Watch and learn a thing or two.

It’s a Good Question – Why Aren’t We Talking More About The Sex Abuse Scandal at Ohio State?
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It’s a Good Question – Why Aren’t We Talking More About The Sex Abuse Scandal at Ohio State?

These men will never get their day in court to read their victim statements, and be cheered on by the public, but given how uncomfortable we are with the subject matter, even if they did, would we welcome it the same way we did during the trial of Larry Nasser? If not, what does that say about us?