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.

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