In the Moment: How more of us should react to warning signs of child sexual abuse 

May 7, 2015


Last week, our national partner Darkness to Light posted a guest blog by Svava Brooks, a child sexual abuse survivor and prevention advocate. We’re sharing it here today because it paints an excellent picture of how simple, necessary and courageous it can be to protect the children in our families and communities when we notice something that doesn’t quite feel right:

(Originally posted at d2lblog.com)

“I have trained thousands of adults and provided facilitator trainings for D2L in three countries. Not only do I teach others about child sexual abuse, but I also practice what I teach. And I’ve had several opportunities.

The most challenging occurred at a gathering of family and friends in my home. One of the older men suddenly touched my daughter in an inappropriate way. She had been sitting on the couch, talking to this man. When my daughter stood up to leave, the man reached over and smacked her on the butt. Before you decide that I overreacted, I want to let you know that before this moment, this man had made me uncomfortable because of how he would speak about my kids and their development. I was paying attention. There were already clues, and standing right there – watching it happen – it was clear what his intention was.

My daughter was 13 at the time. Her entire body stiffened and froze, as she looked across the room at me. This wasn’t something I could ignore. So I took action in a way that let my daughter know she could count on her mother to protect her from harm. With my daughter standing next to me, I told the man what he had done was inappropriate and not allowed. I informed him I would share this incident with other family members so they could protect their kids. Then I hugged my daughter.

I acted quickly because I needed to be courageous for my daughter. It was an empowering moment for me, doing for her what the adults in my life didn’t do for me when I was a child.”

– Read Svava’s full blog post at: http://www.d2lblog.com/2015/04/28/coming-to-my-daughters-rescue/#sthash.XxOt2avm.dpuf

Do you have more questions about child sexual abuse prevention? Is your community group, sports organization, child care center or faith group equipped to take action for the children in your care? Contact SCAN at [email protected] to learn more about our work with Darkness to Light to educate and empower adults in Northern Virginia.