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- An estimated 1.5 million people have been uprooted in fighting that started with a political impasse in mid-December 2013 between President Salva Kiir and former Vice-President Riek Machar. The conflict also sent nearly 100,000 civilians fleeing to UN bases around the country. UN Mission South Sudan
- At least 40,000 people who fled fighting in South Sudan are staying in horrific conditions at a UN camp. Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF)
- “Being a father is always about being able to provide for your son, sending him to school or a good hospital if he needs it. But how can you say you’re a father when you’re just sitting here? I am just ashamed of being a father here. It would be better if we didn’t have to leave to be refugees. The world needs to support people in their lives so South Sudan can be developed and there can be peace in this world,” Gatluack Choul, South Sudanese Refugee
- A boy shares a birthday with his country, but in South Sudan there is little to celebrate – OXFAM America
Research shows that children are sexually abused most between ages 8-12 and occurs in rural, urban, and suburban areas, among all ethnic groups. Often abuse is allowed to continue for generations because of bullying to maintain a code of secrecy. You’ve all heard the code, “No one needs to know.” A code that is broken now that I’m a parent. Unlike my household growing up, I turned “no one needs to know” into “no secretes in my house.” The above YouTube post My Story: Sexual Abuse is a good example of how child sexual abuse starts.
“No one needs to know,” is a statement that haunted me from the ages of 6 to 17. At 17 I was able to free myself from that toxic environment and shape the life I wanted. However, the shame and guilt I carry as an adult has shaped me into the advocate and protector I am today. I choose to turn my experience into action because we as a society need to explore ways to address child sexual abuse. If we fail to act, the data published in Healthy Place – American Mental Health Channel will continue:
- 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men report that they were sexually abused as a child;
- Many African Americans think that child sexual abuse is more typical among white people;
- Statistics show that blacks are sexually victimized in childhood at about the same rates as whites;
- African-American women are less likely than white women to involve police in cases of child sexual abuse. Fears about betraying the family by turning abusers into “the system” and distrust of institutions and authorities often lead blacks to remain silent about “family business;”
- Boys are also abused: About 14 percent of all young victims of sexual assault are male, according to police reports. Twenty percent of sexual abuse of boys is committed by women. Among African Americans, homophobia perpetuates the denial of sexual abuse of boys;
- Black women report being more severely abused with greater force. They also report “more upset, greater long-term effects and more negative life experiences” from sexual abuse than white women. Among the effects: post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, substance abuse (drug abuse), self-mutilation and more;
- Young and troubled: Adolescents commit 23 percent of all sex offenses. Experts say young abusers are more responsive to treatment than adults;
- Child sex offenders tend to victimize more often than other sexual offenders. Seventy percent of child sex offenders had between one and nine victims; 23 percent between 10 and 40 victims;
- Quiet as it’s kept: Child sexual abusers operate in silence and isolation, the tools they use to target and control their prey. Few tend to be violent, which makes them difficult to catch and thwart.
America needs to pull together and bring light to this silent epidemic. We could drastically lower the percentages of anti-social behavior that is acted out in violence, drugs, and repeat sexual abuse within all American families.
I remember when I was a kid growing up I vowed to protect my own kids if I had them. And I do have two wonderful boys. I can’t help but to feel sick with worry that some twisted person will try to do something to my boys. It’s because of them that I choose to stand up. My boys ARE and WILL be protected.
If you are a victim of child sexual abuse and you choose to stand up expect to be bullied. The poster in the YouTube video told us how everyone blamed her mother for the abuse. She also went on to tell us how her friends joked about the abuse she experienced. I agree with the YouTube poster that the mother is not to blame. Additionally, I understand the anger you feel when family and friends want to place blame in the wrong places. The first time I spoke out about abuse I received the COLD shoulder from just about everyone I knew. In fact, some people thought I was using my story to somehow gain sympathy for being out of work. At least that was the common response I heard from the ‘peanut gallery’ while living in Massachusetts. That notion was and is R-I-D-I-C-U-L-O-U-S.
As you begin the journey of taking a stand, remember those who seek retaliation for your abuse usually are those carrying the most guilt about it happening. They often feel like you are telling your story to get back at them. Just make sure you express that you are standing up for yourself and protecting your children from sexual abuse.
Arm yourself today friends and make sure your child, or a child you know, is protected from child sexual abuse. Tomorrow will be too late.
Reflect Now: The Corporation for National and Community Service Sends Stephen McDow A Note Of Thanks
The Corporation for National and Community Service sent Stephen McDow a thank you note regarding his commitment to service:
Thanks so much for your message and for sharing your volunteer experiences with us. We’re glad to hear you’re at 555 hours and counting! It’s always wonderful to hear from volunteers who are doing amazing work in their communities and making service a part of their lives. Have a wonderful week and thank you for serving!
Stephen is humbled that the Corporation for National and Community Service took the time to thank him for his commitment to service. He also view’s their note as motivation to seek greater opportunities to help people.
In the summer of 1992, at age 15, I was hired by the department of child and family services (Washington, DC) to work as a camp counselor. The camp allowed abused and neglected children from Washington, DC an opportunity to get out of “dodge” and visit the Prince William County Forrest for a little fun and relaxation. These children came from broken homes and had trauma resulting from physical, mental and sexual abuse, as well as chronic neglect. I remember some of the stories my campers told me during their stay. The horror was real…and I could relate to some of their stories on a personal level. If you have a camp for abused children in your area I encourage you to go and work…the experience is worth having. I wrote an article that was published in the Ellington Express, the school paper at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts. I took many pictures during that experience. Please take a moment to view a few pictures below.
Life is a journey that has twists and turns. As many of you know I found Open Table in order to give back to society. I’m pleased to say that I’ve volunteered 555 hours at Open Table and have no plans on stopping. Serving those in need in Massachusetts has been a spiritually rewarding experience.
Dr. Cornell West of The Poverty Tour says:
You can’t lead people unless you love people and you can’t save people unless you serve people.
What is the depth of your love and quality of your service for people, specifically poor people?
My love for people is deep…its been that way my entire life. I’m honored that Open Table’s president, Peter Hilton, allowed me the opportunity to come and make an impact on those individuals experiencing a time of need.
I pledged 500 hours to the National Day of Service…and plan to pledge another 500 hours, totaling 1,000 hours since September 2012.
Will you join me? No matter where you are in the world find a local food bank and invest your time in helping to bring a smile to those in need.
We are White; We are Black; We are Multi-ethnic; We are Hispanic; We are Asian; We are straight; We are lesbian; We are gay; We are blue and white collard workers; We are northern; We are southern; We are western; We are mid-western; We are atheist; We are agnostic; We are Muslim; We are Jewish; We are Christian; and WE THE PEOPLE are fed up with the destructive actions and vile rhetoric in the Republican party.
Are you really fed up? Are you horrified at the blatant expression of racism expressed by this current brand of Republicans?
Then take a stand by urging Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Republican leaders to publicly repudiate the destructive actions and vile rhetoric from members within the Republican party.
Recently, at the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) a college Republican said during a breakout session that we should all be separate but equal and that black slaves should have been happy with being abused because their masters gave them food, shelter, and cloths.
It’s troubling to think that mainstream conservatives accept these ideas and that no one has publicly repudiated these types of vile rhetoric.
Former Governor Sarah Palin (R-AK) said during her CPAC speech that she was proud of college Republicans because they are “bold”. She also said that Republicans should not be interested in pragmatic politics and not rebranding the party. Sure sounds like Ms. Palin is out of touch and has done more damage in offering Americans a true two party debate.
If you believe in America then take a stand by urging Speaker Boehner to publicly repudiate ignorance because its destroying America and American liberty!
ACT NOW (Closed)
Note: Also filed at CNNi Report: Stephen McDow on CNN