By David Lee on January 31, 2013 · tagged as , , , , , ,

Building a community free of child sexual abuse

Stories of Strength CoverI was just reading the report from last April from Peace Over Violence and 1 in 6, Stories of Strength: Report on Child Sexual Abuse & Community Recommendations for Prevention  The reports documents their exploration of the issue of child sexual abuse in dialogue with the community, local stakeholders and survivors themselves in order to to organize action to prevent child sexual abuse in Los Angeles County.

This report highlights the need for community-based action. Peace Over Violence’s Emily Austin writes to conclude the report by saying:

The call to action is clear—we as decision makers, former-children, parents, institutions, humans need to re-energize the movement to end child sexual abuse. The fact that child sexual abuse occurs at alarming rates is simply unacceptable. Our communities do not condone child sexual abuse, but we are allowing it to continue. And when we do, we are failing our children. What is needed is a community-based paradigm shift: we need culture and policy change that reflects the complexity of the issue of child sexual abuse.

We can work together to reduce the opportunities for child sexual abuse where our children live, play and learn. We can practice the best prevention strategies, spread awareness and knowledge, hold survivors’ experiences in the center, and end the secrecy on which child sexual abuse thrives. We can socially shift the underlying gender norms and homophobia that silences our boys and men. We can address and call out the community and historical context for the abuse of girls. We can fix the institutions that ignore and mismanage response to child sexual abuse. We can be innovative in our response to and rehabilitation of deviate sexual behavior. We can make healing a point of pride, a celebration. We can return to a social justice framework, instead of continuing to ignore the flaws in criminal justice responses.

By talking with the community in dialogue, community centered prevention strategies an emerge in order to create culture and policy change to prevention child sexual abuse.

This report was supported by the Ms. Foundation for Women’s Ending Child Sexual Abuse Initiative and the NoVo Foundation for innovations in grant making to end child sexual abuse and build community between activists, advocates, and survivors.

Also check out the resources from the Ending Child Sexual Abuse Web Conference series that Ms Foundation for Women and PreventConnect held in 2012.

David Lee

More Posts by David Lee

David S. Lee, MPH, is the Director of Prevention Services at the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault where he provides training and technical assistance on prevention. David manages the national project PreventConnect, an online community of violence against women prevention practitioners, funders, researchers and activists. For over 27 years David has worked in efforts to end domestic violence and sexual assault.

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