I was just speaking to my husband about the need for children to be educated and given coping skills for abuse.

I remember this last summer when my granddaughter who was going to visit her non-custodial father was concerned that she would be spending time with her father's parents who would be abusive to each other in front of her. She wanted to know what to do?

It was funny my other two grandsons, who had been abused also (by their now incarcerated father), told her to go play video games and just ignore it.

I told her no, don't ever ignore someone being abusive. I told her first always be safe but if she thought she could to say out loud, ""you're scaring me, stop it." Then my daughter called and spoke to her ex and we made sure she had a cell phone and spoke to her several times a day.

It made me think, How many children now, have actually witnessed or been exposed to abuse. So many it needs to be taught about in the schools. Maybe we can effect change the same way we effected change about the health risks of smoking.

I know an author who has done and excellent book on sexual abuse called, "My Body Belongs to Me." In the book she makes the child into a hero for telling. She does it in a very nice way, not embarrassing. She used an Uncle's friend as an example.

Jill Starishevsky Author, My Body Belongs to Me
www.MyBodyBelongsToMe.com

Check out a recent review:
http://www.makeandtakes.com/talking-to-your-kids-about-abuse

My question is how do we educate the kids when it's their parent or grandparent. We need to speak up and not be silent anymore.

Is it possible to get this introduced into the school curriculum?

I thought of a series of books teaching children coping skills. They could be in school libraries. Does anyone know who produces such books? I was wondering about one's used by Police Officer's and DA's office's or child advocacy groups.

Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Tags: Jill, MyBodyBelongsToMe.com, Starishevsky, abuse, battery, child, domestic, rape, sexual, social, More…therapy, workers

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Cherry,

You might jump on virtus.org. This is the Catholic's initiative to protect children. It's a great program that all in the Catholic faith who work or volunteer around children have to participate in...it's mandatory. And, the program is set up so it's ongoing education as we have to read monthly articles to stay in compliance. I have read and learned from some of the best articles on there. For you and what you are proposing if you go on the site the authors and, if I remember correctly, I believe ways to contact them are listed on there. These are some of the most amazing professionals on abuse in the country. My guess is they would have all sorts of input into what you are proposing for the schools.

Maureen
Thank you so much Maureen!
Thanks for sharing this, Cherry. So essential...sorry I haven't any creative thoughts at the moment to share regarding (currently just trying to get through our own day regarding) however! Something will come to mind, and I'll be sharing! Can't wait to hear everyone elses ideas!
I believe abused kids need to have their self-worth and self-image restored, which means that these mistreated kids need adults in their lives who will consistently affirm their value and talents. I've seen that art can be one way to help a child regain a sense of self-worth and giftedness:
http://www.freearts.org/.
- Bob
Cherry,
You've brought up a very important issue among children these days, (probably something that has been an issue for many decades actually) although no one ever "talks openly" about it, as I am sure many are well aware. As you have duly pointed out, the lasting effects of not only "suffering" abuse but being "exposed to" and "witnessing" abuse are tremendous upon children!

I've "seen" these effects all to commonly among the students I work with in my school district and even with my own stepson who, unfortunately, is forced (according to the court) to visit his non-custodial AND non-biological, yet, "legal" father. More the pity.

In my community, the only recourse seems to be this when the so-called "law" fails (you may take the suggestions or leave them, and I admit, they might seem a bit radical to some people. However, when it comes to protecting children and/or preventing child abuse, I feel that we ought to pull ALL of the stops:

1) Coordinate with local YWCA and/or Child Protective services offices to create a "grassroots" organization with the specific mission of "Alerting the community" to the prevalence of child abuse and other forms of domestic violence. (Often times, these agencies will provide a speaker and literature free of charge and local libraries will host meetings free as well as a "public service"). Make it the PURPOSE of YOUR organization to not only educate the public, but EXPOSE ABUSERS. (This is all perfectly LEGAL) Check your state and or locality just to be on the safe side, but it's fine where I live and I actually have done this several times.

2) Watch local newspapers and court reports to catch wind of the names and specifics on those convicted of (AND I DO MEAN CONVICTED) not accused of, (to avoid libel). Make note of these individuals and, if possible, obtain a photograph of them (a simple black and white will do). I think you might see where I'm headed here but please bear with me. A simple "CONVICTED OF" poster, listing name and "CHILD ABUSE" with PICTURE, plastered on telephone poles throughout the town, city, county or even neighborhood, (works really well near their place of employment or near where they go to church).

3) The message it sends is clear: "IF you ABUSE children or anyone, YOU will be EXPOSED to the COMMUNITY and it is all legal because it is all a matter of public record anyhow!

4) The point is this: If it prevents just one abuser from hurting a child, for fear of public shame, you'll have accomplished a very worthwhile thing. Added to this is the fact that it does increase COMMUNITY awareness and involvement immensely! That alone can pressure schools and police agencies to step up the pace, keep up with the times, institute programs to educate kids and empower them.

I sincerely hope these ideas help (or at the very least, inspire some other ideas),

Keep up the good fight my friend!

James
Jim,

My husband is a professor and he sees this in a lot of his students. Which why I think it should be addressed throughout the educational process.

My husband has had to rescue a cutter who shredded his arms with razor blades. He's also has a large foreign student body and with that comes even more kinds of abuse. Sometimes whole families have been murdered.

Teachers need training in how to help students. What my daughter has endured and my seeking help from a therapist has made my husband very empathetic. He's even developed a class on conceptual drawing where he has the students draw themselves and their families.

I like to call it his "Our House" assignment. The students are to draw themselves and their families and then they tell the story. The drawings are large 4' by 6'. My husband didn't know what he was opening the door to. His class has become very popular. Some faculty don't like it as they believe some things are better left unsaid. But what my husband has seen is a out pouring of understanding and empathy for those who have suffered. He sees a growing number of students who has experienced some klnd of abuse in their short lives.

One student, from Nigeria drew his entire family being murdered inside his small hut. He showed himself running away. This young man was a sport scholarship for running. He had won the silver metal in the Olympics a few years before. I remember as he was leaving for the games in China he embrased my husband and asked that he never forget him. My husband told him, "You will forever be in my heart and in my prayers."

The horrible experience we have suffered has made it easier to share with others.

Has anyone seen the movie Precious? I haven't yet but I did notice the woman helping the young girl was a teacher.

Being a teacher is to me like a calling and I thing the perfect place for beginning this kind of help and change for such young victim's.

Thank you for sharing with me your thoughts and resources.

May God Bless You Really Good,

Cherry
You are certainly correct, great care should be taken to avoid anything that might "identify" a child or victim while we publicly identify/shame the abuser. Granted, the victim(s) of these crimes are tortured and have suffered enough.

I think that your focus on books which deal specifically with "COPING SKILLS" for victims of abuse is a FINE idea and likely among the most productive.

Another route might be to hold teacher training sessions that help teachers "identify" signs of abuse, thus enabling them to better identify victims and refer guidance counselors and proper authorities to the students who need the help but are "afraid" to seek it. (I know in my state, this training is mandatory but is not very extensive and many new teachers see it as "just going through the paces" of becoming a teacher). Unfortunately, they do not realize that identifying abused kids is a very important aspect of their job AND it IS their job.

Let's keep this discussion going gang; I think together we can brainstorm and by God, I believe we can turn things around for the good!
What great points. Please always be careful when advising children who are in situations that might be abusive. It is important to teach children to trust their instincts too. Some children need to not yell out while people are being abusive or it will bring the abuse towards them. One good thing is for children to have SAFE words that they can use in a phone call where the abuser will not pick up that they are really telling the person on the other end of the phone that they need to be rescued. Because of the legal system right now some children are exposed to abusive parents or grandparents during visitation time and legally there is no way to protect them until the abuse happens. If you want to look at children who were kidnapped and did not walk away the reason why is they were using their instincts to survive. Children have a great inner strength to survive. They need to be able to call on that inner instinct and be given an out if they have adults who can come rescue them. This is a very sensitive and complicated subject because each abuser is so different. Some would NEVER harm a child physically and others its just a matter of the timing as to when they will be abusive to the child. As a child who survived some of the worst abusive situations I relied on my inner instincts (and of course GOD) to stay alive when others died. There are times that as a person or even small child I wished I could have made different choices but to this day there is no way to say if those would have led to me being killed. Remember to always teach the children to trust themselves and those who truly love them in their lives.

Just my little two cents...........
Have an awesome day! Thanks so much for caring about children so much and making changes that make a difference! RAD Kids is an agency that goes to school to teach children skills for this.

Findmywayhome
Wow some great discussion's on this very important subject.

THANK YOU

http://www.radkids.org/

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