Thursday, December 30, 2010

Holding Something So Painful, So Close, For So Long

I had a request to meet for coffee recently from a woman who wanted to purchase several copies of "Kisses From Dolce." She is in her 80's, had seen the book at a friend's house and wanted to be sure to give a copy to each of her grown children and their families. Such a request is, of course, gratifying, and I was happy to meet with her. As is so often the case, during our meeting she proceeded to tell me about her own experience with abuse when she was a young girl, so many years ago. Not much about child sexual abuse surprises me anymore and, given the statistics, odds are the person you're with at any given time has been a victim. Perhaps because of that I have found that, since the book's release, many of my most ardent supporters are people, usually women, who were assaulted when they were young and are now in their later years. CSA victims of all ages have come forward to tell me their stories but so many older victims have literally embraced me in gratitude for feeling they now had someone they could share their story with who would understand, liberating them from holding something so painful, so close, for so long.
Another woman, in her late 70's, shared with me recently that she had never said a word to anyone about an uncle who had fondled her as a young teen - until she sat at a table with female relatives, including her sister. One of the women made a comment about the uncle and the next thing this woman knew they were all comparing notes about their experiences. The uncle had abused each of them and for all this time, so many years, no one ever said a word. Now they could speak, give voice to their experience and pain, and take strength from knowing they did nothing wrong - he was a predator. That woman, one of my biggest supporters (and I one of her biggest fans), bought numerous copies of "Kisses From Dolce" right from the beginning, donating them to libraries, schools and other community organizations. I believe she felt it was the voice she never had and she wanted to be sure that she was giving that voice to others.
Another woman, also in her late 70's, shared with me that when she was about 9 years old, she and a friend were playing and had walked into an abandoned building to explore. A man appeared from one of the rooms and exposed himself to them. The girls ran home. This woman said nothing to her family - she was too afraid. The other girl told her parents. That girl and her family came over to the friend's house to share the story with the other parents. When they did, the first little girl's father walked up to her and smacked her across the face. He hit this little girl, his daughter, because a man had exposed his genitalia to her and she had been too afraid to tell. One  assault atop the other. My heart broke when she shared this with me. Instead of understanding and compassion this little girl received anger and more abuse. Perhaps her father could not handle his own myriad emotions upon hearing such distressing news...I do not know. All I know is that a little girl, 9 years old, received no support just when she needed it most. That woman had never shared her story before telling me. I can only hope that finally, after so many years of carrying it around, she found some comfort in knowing she had a voice, a right to be heard and my support. I heard her, understood what she was saying and how painful an experience that was.
If we adults learn nothing more from our awareness of CSA and its prevalence, it's that we must TALK ABOUT IT. Child sexual abuse can no longer be a taboo topic. Adults have to face the truth about how child sexual abuse happens, its prevalence, who are predators (90% are known and trusted by the victims and their families) if we are to begin to rid society of this scourge. Children are not responsible for their safety; it is our job to carry that load. Do we need to talk with children about their bodies and boundaries and trusting and telling? Absolutely, and often, whenever we are able, just as we should broach many difficult topics with them throughout their childhoods, at age-appropriate levels. You've heard me say it many times: adults need to learn how to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse. When we do, this will be a much safer world for our children.
I encourage you to visit Darkness To Light's website. If you like, you can take their prevention training online.
StopItNow! has wonderful resources online as well.
I hope you will consider purchasing a copy or two of "Kisses From Dolce," either directly from me at, from Amazon or from the publisher, Trafford.
Whatever you do, please take time to get educated about child sexual abuse and to implement the prevention and response strategies that could very well spare a child years of pain and shame. The wonderful ladies I spoke of here deserved better and so do today's children.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

"Intimations of Immortality"

"Though nothing can bring back the hour 
 Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;
 We will grieve not, rather find 
 Strength in what remains behind..." *
Glorious words from the brilliant William Wordsworth. Some days, like today, I find they offer tremendous comfort, hope and inspiration. I do believe that, among other things, healing requires grief but feeling that grief moves us along and frees up space within for strength and joy. 
I offer up these great words to you today in hopes that you, like so many of Wordsworth's readers, will find "strength in what remains behind" and the ability to forge ahead in peace. 
*Excerpted from Wordsworth's poem "Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood."

Thursday, December 2, 2010


The last time I visited my hometown for an extended solo stay, I had a chance to do some healing. Part of that was the place I stayed: on the beach, with a new friend, one who's traveling her own road of self-discovery and was happy to share her place with me. This was my morning view and I find now that just looking at this photo takes me back to the peaceful, grounded feelings I had then, sitting there, contemplating and reflecting. A visit with an old friend while I was in town, one who played an important role in my journey, had been rich, and sitting facing the water, listening to the sounds of the beach, gave opportunity to take that visit in, put it all in perspective.
I know the healing road is ongoing: sometimes it's bumpy and painful, other times joy-filled. No matter which, it is deeply rewarding and moving forward with new awareness has, at least for me, opened up life's possibilities.
So, until I can get back to my perch at the beach in person, I'll stay close to my photo and just be.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Pearl of Wisdom

“You never find yourself until you face the truth.” 
                   ~ Pearl Bailey

  No more layers...


"There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face." ~ Ben Williams

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Shattering Silence

Shatter the Silence - Courage Network PSA from Courage Network on Vimeo.

I am honored to be included in Courage Network's new public service announcement and, especially, in their roster of folks, both men and women, working to make the world a safer place.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

"An Immediate and Tangible Result"

 clip art Open Door Pictures, Images and Photos

Yesterday I was informed by the superintendent of a local school system that our recent Stewards of Children training, delivered to school professionals, had, in her words, "an immediate and tangible result." Directly after that training, several attendees, all school guidance counselors, approached her to express concern that none of the high school guidance rooms had doors with a window (one of the tenets of Stewards, Step 2 of the 7 Steps To Protecting Our Children, is "minimize opportunity"). The superintendent, who shared the counselors' concerns, ordered estimates on installation and the panels will soon be installed.

One on one time with an adult can be very valuable, but it doesn't have to be behind closed doors and, when it does, there are ways to reduce opportunity for abuse. One of those ways is to install a window in the door, allowing the happenings within to be seen. This is protection not only for the child, but also for the adult.

It felt great to learn that the prevention message was heard and, most importantly, inspired action. Even small changes can make a difference in mitigating child sexual abuse. Kudos to those guidance counselors and their superintendent (who had requested the Stewards training in the first place) for taking action!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

New Look, Same Vital Mission, 10 Years Strong

Have you visited Darkness To Light's new website? I encourage you to do so; as always, there is extensive, vital information on child sexual abuse prevention, recognition and resolution, but now the format makes navigation easier. Please share the site with friends, family, colleagues...all the folks you know who can make a difference in the life of a child and a community.
Darkness To Light is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year and while I wish with all my heart there was no reason for this great organization to exist, there is, and so, also with all my heart, I am grateful for Anne Lee's vision and commitment to educating adults on preventing child sexual abuse. Prevention IS possible; Anne has known that all along, and she, surrounded by devoted, talented, tireless individuals has steadfastly, doggedly pursued her dream of a world free from CSA. Almost 3000 facilitators around the world deliver the award-winning 2.5 hour Stewards of Children prevention training and every day that number grows. Every adult those facilitators train may mean as many as 10 children safer from sexual abuse.
And so, though I hope there will be a day, sometime soon, when Darkness To Light's work is done and they/we can all call it a day in a world free of CSA, in the meantime, I salute Anne and her team for all that they do. I am proud to be a part of that team and I know, in their capable hands, we are making a difference, one day, one training, one child at a time. Happy Birthday, D2L!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

From One So Young, Who'd Seen So Much

"Everyone has inside of him a piece of good news. The good news is that you don't know how great you can be! How much you can love! What you can accomplish! And what your potential is!" ~ Anne Frank

I am continually amazed by the hope that pervaded the writings of Anne Frank. Her words, her outlook were truly testimony to the best of what lies within; if only we could all have access to it the way she did. In the midst of fear and evil can lie hope and healing, something I know survivors of many things, including child sexual abuse, deal with each day. 
There is love and support out there. I hope you are in a place where you can be open to it, recognize your unique gifts and worth, and embrace the life you deserve so much. It is not an easy road but you are not alone and, yes, you can find peace and soar!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Freedom, Decency and Justice

"Every time we turn our heads the other way when we see the law flouted, when we tolerate what we know to be wrong, when we close our eyes and ears to the corrupt because we are too busy or too frightened, when we fail to speak up and speak out, we strike a blow against freedom and decency and justice." 

~ Robert F. Kennedy

Friday, August 27, 2010

Dylan Would Be Proud

Pedal for Prevention's Subterrenean Homesick Blues from Pedal for Prevention on Vimeo.

Tyler, Landon and Mike are cycling 4000 miles across America to raise awareness and money for the child sexual abuse prevention efforts of Darkness To Light. They made this video in Kansas City - so clever in its style and powerful in its message. I hope you will watch and share it with others. Most of all, I hope you'll hear the prevention message and get involved, take a stand, to make this a safer world for kids. You can follow the trio on their journey at

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

My Little Muse

So many children ask me about the "real" Dolce, the little Italian Greyhound who served as inspiration for "Kisses From Dolce."  Well, here he is! If I've learned nothing else on this journey, I've learned that there are gifts in unexpected places, gifts that can uplift and inspire, enriching our lives and offering purpose. Who knew that one little slurp from an otherwise engaged little hound would lead me where it has, enabling me to share lessons with children and offering hope and comfort to survivors, young and old? The road to "Dolce" wasn't easy, but it was filled with gifts, and gifts that continue still, and for that I am truly grateful.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Learning From Tragedy


After months of his own denials, as well as the staunch support of those who thought they knew him well, Douglas Perlitz admitted sexually abusing young boys in Haiti:

The video I've posted above gives viewers a sense of the environment in Haiti and a tiny modicum of understanding of what faces youngsters growing up in that environment. All children are vulnerable, but those who are orphaned, living in poverty, amidst disorder, clearly are at high risk.

I encourage people to learn from this tragic story: child sexual abuse has many faces and we cannot just assume that someone we know, or think we know, would never be a perpetrator. Instead, as adults responsible for the well-being of children, we need to learn the facts about abuse and how we can prevent it in the first place. People who sexually assault children seek out opportunities to have access, one reason that I and my colleagues at Darkness To Light encourage youth-serving organizations to make it policy that all staff be trained in child sexual abuse prevention, recognition and response.

To find a Stewards Of Children facilitator near you, click here or visit Darkness To Light's website: You can take the Stewards training in-person or online. You can also find a free, online 10 minute prevention guide from D2L right here. Remember, Stewards Of Children is the only 3rd party evaluated, evidence-based CSA prevention training for adults in the U.S. and was also named the 2007 Crime Prevention Program of the Year by the National Crime Prevention Council. We know it changes behaviors.

I am partial to Stewards because I believe deeply in Darkness To Light's premise that it is an adult's responsibility to keep kids safe, but learning the facts about CSA, how it happens, what it does to children, and how to prevent it is my ultimate goal for the adult community and so I encourage you to learn those facts via any reputable means possible. 90% of children who are abused are abused by people they know and trust. We don't want to see tragedy like the Perlitz/Haiti tragedy happen again.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Pedaling For Prevention!

Tyler and Landon will be riding their bikes across the U.S. to raise awareness of child sexual abuse and the need for adults to be educated in prevention. Supporters can follow their journey as well as make donations to support their efforts at
Go Tyler and Landon (and, of course, Darkness To Light)!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Birthday, America!

I found this great photo on Photobucket, posted by "Indykidslinked." I loved it and wanted to share it with you.
May every day find you, and all of our children, free and safe. Happy Independence Day!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


I was delighted to welcome Deborah Donovan Rice, Executive Director of Stop It Now!, to a recent Stewards of Children training. Deborah had an opportunity to experience Stewards firsthand as well as share with attendees information about her organization's great prevention mission. Deborah also met recently with Darkness To Light's Founder and CEO, Anne Lee, in an effort to form a "strategic alliance" in the name of child sexual abuse prevention. 
I encourage you to visit the Stop It Now! website and see what Deborah's great team is up to.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Courage Network

Interview w/ Susan Komisar Hausman, Child Sexual Abuse Advocate and Author of Kisses from Dolce from Courage Network on Vimeo.

I was honored to be featured on Courage Network, a wonderful online community for those coping with abuse and its aftermath. I hope you'll listen in and peruse their site, sharing the link with others you know who may have a need for such resources.
Thank you, Courage Network, for the interview and, most importantly, for the help you offer to so many in need.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

"Learn the Facts. Understand the Risks."

Step 1 of Darkness To Light's "7 Steps To Protecting Our Children" is "Learn the Facts. Understand the Risks." The 7 steps are at the core of the Stewards of Children prevention training, but more importantly, they are the common sense wake up call to adults about how to keep children safer from child sexual abuse.
I write this today after seeing this video, aired & posted by NBC Philadelphia regarding the discovery of an online predator manual, a how-to for sexually violating children. It is calculated and chilling. Please take the time to watch and learn, then share this video and information with other adults. Knowing what is out there, how abuse happens, is crucial in the quest to prevent and react responsibly to it.

View more news videos at:

Monday, May 24, 2010

Ordering "Kisses From Dolce"

I just learned that Amazon is awaiting delivery of more copies of "Kisses From Dolce: A Book for Children About Trusting and Telling," but I want to remind you that the book is also available from the publisher at or from me at
It is deeply gratifying to know that the book is being sought out and used in the ways in which it was intended.
Thank you.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Getting Out The Prevention Message

Today I am undertaking, along with my colleagues at Darkness To Light, a new venture.
For years we have watched Oprah Winfrey inform her audiences about child sexual abuse, featuring survivors, perpetrators, mental health and other professionals. Darkness To Light has contacted Oprah and her staff many times over the years in an effort to encourage her to bring its unique message and program to her viewers - all, unfortunately, to no avail. Even when D2L' s premier program, Stewards of Children, won the Crime Prevention Program of the Year in 2007 from the National Crime Prevention Council there was no invitation to appear or even a mention to her audience about what was available to them in a 2.5 hour training. Even though Stewards of Children is the only 3rd party evaluated, evidence-based prevention program in this country, still no mention.
Don't get me wrong - Oprah has brought vital information to her viewers and readers about many topics for a very long time. She's generously given away so much and helped many people. Indeed, it is because of that, because we know she has the best of intentions and because we know she can reach so many people with her message, that we are pursuing a campaign to encourage, perhaps compel, her and her staff to not only inform her audience about Stewards, but to take it themselves and to give it away. An Oprah Stewards of Children giveaway of the best possible gift: PREVENTION.
If you are on Facebook, please join our group and invite your friends to do the same.
Thank you.!/group.php?gid=120365477986007

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Melrose Goes From Darkness To Light

Last year at this time Melrose, MA was reeling from the revelation that a Melrose YMCA staff member had been indicted on 20 charges of child rape. This year the town is taking a lead, pushing taboos aside, speaking up and out about child sexual abuse prevention. On April 29, Melrose will sponsor a town-wide Stewards of Children training, empowering 500 adults to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse. Toward that end, this past week, I trained 15 new Stewards facilitators. These new leaders will not only participate in the town-wide training, but also take Stewards back to their own youth-serving organizations, neighborhoods, businesses and friends to continue educating the adult population.
My hat is off to Mayor Rob Dolan and the great folks I've met from Melrose, at the Y and beyond, who are working so hard to get out the prevention message. Unlike so many organizations, communities and families who discover abuse in their midst, here there are no conspiracies of silence, not from the town or the Y. Because of that, and their conviction to do the right thing in the name of safety for children, many more children will have happy and whole childhoods and, ultimately, happy and whole lives.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Child Sexual Abuse In the News - It's Time to Embrace Prevention

A recent New York Times article by Laurie Goodstein states, "the Vatican's inaction was not unusual." That is correct and such inaction extends far beyond the Vatican.
A 2007 Associated Press report on abuse in US public schools found that, overwhelmingly, when it became known to school officials that staff members had violated a child, decisions were made to quietly dismiss offenders, allowing them to find other jobs, in other towns, moving on to unsuspecting victims. No police reports, no investigations, no trials.
When a young member of the Boys Choir of Harlem disclosed his abuse to a staff member, no one told the police or released the accused from his position. He remained in close proximity not only to his victim, but also to other, unsuspecting children. He was reported eventually, but the demise of the choir, according to reports, is directly related to the inaction of the staff.
Every time I lead an abuse prevention training I remind attendees that child sexual abuse (CSA) is a CRIME. It must be reported to law enforcement. The accused must have no further access to the victim or other children. The decision to report is not a roundtable discussion for the affected organization - it is a requirement incumbent upon the individual suspecting abuse. Clergy, teachers, doctors, nurses, social workers, and a long list of other folks are mandated reporters, obligated to report upon a "reasonable suspicion." In some states, everyone is a mandated reporter.
The secrecy which has surrounded CSA is a travesty that has endangered untold numbers of children throughout the years, in religious communities, in schools, in scouts, in Y's, in families. It is time to wake up and recognize that adults create environments that either enable abuse or help to prevent it. Children who have been abused carry that abuse with them throughout their lives - their life lens is never the same and it is our job as adults to protect them from the abuse as best we can.
When will we stop protecting offenders and start placing the children first?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

What Kids Should Know

This piece, originally published by the Connecticut Post on March 28, 2009, was posted online last April, making it widely accessible. It is no longer available through the CT Post, so I am posting it here for those who have asked. The print version included a huge blowup of one of the key pictures in "Kisses From Dolce," the picture where little Sophia sits on the floor with her teacher and her dog, learning it's OK to tell and that she has done nothing wrong. That the Post team chose that picture told me they understood exactly what this book is all about.
I thank the CT Post for bringing my message to so many readers. 
The story, written by Eileen Fischer, is copyright to the CT Post.

What Kids Should Know
By Eileen Fischer STAFF WRITER
Updated: 04/10/2009 09:28:44 PM EDT

Writing for Susan Komisar Hausman, an accountant, was always something she did. Journaling, composing lines of poetry, and crafting essays were part of life for the Connecticut native now living in Stoughton, Mass., where her husband Jonathan, also from Connecticut, is a rabbi. But writing a children's book, and one with a serious subject, was the furthest thing from her mind, she said. Then, three years ago, during one of her frequent visits to Fairfield, where she grew up, Hausman met a sweet Italian greyhound named Dolce, that changed her life.
"I didn't think much of it," she said in a phone interview, "but three weeks later I started to hear words in my head and had to sit down and write them."
The words became "Kisses From Dolce, A Book for Children About Trusting and Telling" (Trafford, $15.95), which Hausman self-published and wrote all in rhyme. The finished product pretty much turned out to be what she first jotted down, she said.
It was an outgrowth, she said, of her work as a facilitator with Darkness To Light, a nonprofit organization based in Charleston, S.C., that believes adults can help stop child sexual abuse and teaches professionals in youth-serving organizations how to recognize and prevent abuse.
Sexually abused herself at age 7, Hausman runs about 15 workshops a year, some funded by the Sisterhood at her synagogue, she said. Last year she held her first one in Fairfield.
"There is a lot of denial around abuse. A lot
of people have it in their background and haven't come forward about it," she said, pointing out that one out of four girls and one out of six boys are sexually abused before they're 18. "Nothing is going to resolve child sexual abuse, but the point is to mitigate it.
"We can make it safe for our kids. Ninety percent of kids are sexually abused by people they know, love and trust. That creates a problem," she said. "Surrounding people don't want to believe that people they know are doing this."
One thing the workshops teach is that predators spend a lot of time ingratiating themselves with the children. Caring adults have to keep their eyes open to it, deeming what may be inappropriate. One way it can happen is through mentoring, she said. The one-on-one relationship can be valuable, she said, but how those relationships are set up and where the mentoring takes place has to be monitored. "You can sit on a front porch or with the door open and have one-on-one time," she said.
In the book, a little girl named Sophia goes to a day-care center where an Italian greyhound named Dolce comes to class and plays with the children. Sophia loves the little dog, but one day when she comes to school she pushes Dolce away, telling him, "I don't want to be touched." Her teacher offers help, but only when Sophia is ready to talk. Finally, the little girl tells the teacher her secret and Miss Carrie calls the right people to make things better.
Weeks go by, but then one day Sophia is smiling and playing again and getting kisses from Dolce.
The book is meant to be read by an adult to children, 4 to 8, Hausman said, and has questions at the end for discussion. "Therapists have used it and caregivers who suspect something," she said. "Most kids never tell a soul what's happened to them. There's a sense of loyalty, a sense of shame, all these things conspire to keep kids from telling.
"But there are people they can trust to tell and if they tell, things will get better again," she said and that's the lesson Sophia learns.
April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. Stacy Karpowitz, a coordinator of outreach and education for the Aetna Foundation Children's Center at St. Francis Hospital in Hartford, has invited Hausman to speak and read from her book at a program for hospital employees and the public on April 15. The center helped more than 450 physically and sexually abused children last year, said Karpowitz, who is also a facilitator for Darkness To Light.
She said the book conveys the important message that a child's body is their own and if they do tell about inappropriate touching, they will be helped.
Children are afraid that if they tell, and if the police or the Department of Children and Families are called, they'll be taken away. Kids inherently know that telling is going to affect the family in some way, she said.
"The teacher in the book doesn't say who she tells and it doesn't convey that the child is in trouble, but that she is very brave," she said. "It's very brave to tell."
For more information, contact Hausman at

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Telling Is the Beginning of Healing and Justice

Todd Bridges spoke recently about being sexually abused as a child and about disclosing that abuse to his father, who, according to Todd, did not believe or support him.
It is crucial to listen to a child who is trusting you enough to tell. Most children never tell anyone about their abuse, so when a child does take the risk to disclose, we must stop, listen and, calmly, take action, calling DCF or 911 or both. The odds are the abuser has more victims than the one disclosing to you, so this disclosure might be key in helping many other children.
Telling is the beginning of healing and the beginning of justice. It is our job, our adult job, to know how to handle disclosure to keep this child, and probably others, safe from further harm.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Darkness To Light's Stewards Of Children is the award-winning child sexual abuse prevention workshop I facilitate. The winner of the 2007 Crime Prevention Program of the Year, awarded by the National Crime Prevention Council, Stewards is the only 3rd party evaluated, evidence-based prevention program in the U.S. This video gives you a flavor for the compelling nature of the Stewards training and a sense of why it is so important for adults to learn to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse.
Please contact me if you would like more information or visit the Darkness To Light website at

Saturday, February 6, 2010

I discovered this incredibly powerful public service announcement just this morning. It speaks for itself. Take a look and please share with others - it makes its compelling point so well. From

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Every choice we adults make has a consequence for the safety of our children, our neighborhoods, our communities. It is my belief that this is not the place for a level 3 sex offender, someone convicted of offenses with children as young as 5. What do you think?


Monday, January 25, 2010

Me, Mary O'Connell, Judy Clini

I was honored to speak last week at a meeting of the Agawam Junior Women's Club in Agawam, MA. The AJWC has at the heart of its mission dedication to the "betterment" of the community, which it accomplishes through a variety of programs. Club President, Mary O'Connell, invited me and my Hartford pal (and fellow Darkness To Light facilitator), Stacy Karpowitz, to address the group about child sexual abuse and its prevalence in our communities. We also spoke about recognizing and preventing abuse and about how taking a community from awareness to action is the key to a safer world for our children.
Just before the meeting began, the AJWC, which purchased many copies of "Kisses From Dolce" to deliver to local youth-serving organizations and child advocacy centers, made a presentation to the Agawam Public Library. Judy Clini, the library's director, accepted the club's donation.
Thank you to Mary for inviting me and to the club for the warm reception but, more importantly, thank you for your commitment to a safer community and your willingness to turn intention into action.
One of my favorite actors, Gabriel Byrne, spoke out recently about being sexually abused at age 11. Byrne, who so beautifully portrays therapist Paul Weston in HBO's "In Treatment," was an altar boy at the time of the abuse. One of the storylines from the first season of "In Treatment" involved the sexual abuse of a young girl, Sophie, who had become suicidal. Byrne's portrayal of the compassionate Weston was almost therapeutic for me as a survivor to watch, as he gave Sophie her safe place to fall so she could face her truths and begin to heal.
I know, for me, revealing my own story was a process and I held it close to the vest for a long time. Still today I understand that I owe no one anything regarding my story and sharing it is always my choice.
So, I say thank you to Gabriel for sharing his. He and other celebrities who speak out open a door for others, who may be fearful or ashamed, to realize that they did nothing wrong and that there is much support and love out there to be had.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Cindy McElhinney, Cathy Townsend (both of D2L), me, D2L Founder and CEO, Anne Lee

Darkness To Light held three days of workshops here in Massachusetts earlier this week: two days of community awareness training followed by a facilitator training. The days were dense with information and a wonderful opportunity to connect with so many others working on child sexual abuse prevention. Day three was particularly meaningful to me as I led the full-day workshop and became certified as a Facilitator Instructor, able now to "train the trainers" who go out and lead our Stewards Of Children trainings.
I invite you to visit Darkness To Light's web pages at and learn about its mission to educate adults to "prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse."  Stewards Of Children is a 3rd-party evaluated, evidence-based program, winner of the 2007 Crime Prevention Program of the Year by the National Crime Prevention Council, leading the way in turning awareness of CSA into action, changing behaviors, that protect children. We know this program works. I encourage you to take the 2.5 hour training, live or online, and help make your community, and our world, a safer place.