Time to stand up for our children
By Amy Schmitt
April 09, 2006
In response to Terri's comment on sex offenders in Ketchikan,
I would like to extend my sincere saddness for her traumatic
experience as a child in Ketchikan. Families are forever changed
when sexual abuse becomes a part of a child's life. Congratulations
Terri for being strong enough to speak out, especially when our
country seems to downplay any form of abuse of children. I aplaude
your mother for supporting you during this horrible experience.
I have seen that sexual abuse, as well as other forms of child
abuse occur here in our town. It is also important to remember
that predators are everywhere, and that Ketchikan is not unique
in this respect. It is my belief that we as a society need to
take a good look at the definition of abuse. Children often
are not believed when they report abuse, for many reasons. Most
people believe that if the child does not have serious bruises
or signs of abuse, that the child was just "experimenting"
(kids will be kids), or that the person accused seems "uncapable"
of the crime-the child was not abused. If a child is forced
to participate in sexual activity, including pressure from older
children, this causes major emotional trauma!!! In my opinion-this
is not ok!
In about 95% of reported child sexual abuse cases, the child
is telling the truth. I have heard many people say "She/he
is just lying to cause problems", but the truth is that
this is rarely the case. Even when children take back the accusation
(say they lied), most of the time it is because they feel pressured
to recant-NOT BECAUSE IT DID NOT HAPPEN!!!! It is just easier
for the family if they take it back, so kids feel pressure to
Child sexual abuse has had a personal effect to my family as
well. I can say that as a parent, we must believe our children.
I thought I asked all the right questions, but when a child feels
threatened or that the family will be affected, they will not
feel safe enough to disclose abuse. Often times they have a
loving relationship with the person hurting them, which causes
emotional turmoil for them as well.
When a child is molested, many times it is by someone close to
the family, not a STRANGER!!!! I remember thinking that this
will not happen to my family, but the truth is that it can happen
to anyone, and it DOES happen in Ketchikan-much more often than
anyone wants to admit.
It is time for our country to take a stand and educate our parents
(not just our children) about all forms of abuse. It seems we
wait until someone has been abused to throw money at the problem
and heal victims of abuse, which is appropriate and necessary,
but how about trying to educate and prevent the abuse to help
our families not have to experience such trauma???
Did you know that we really do have a voice in our country?
We vote in the lawmakers, and essentially make the laws that
we complain about. We could demand more money for education
on violence, and we could also stand up and say we dont want
all the sex and violence as accessible to our children!!! But
if we don't know, we cannot start to make change. More likely
though, we will just continue to place blame on the system set
up to try and fix what has been broken.
This system is not working, and it is time to stand up for our
children and end the cycle of violence in our homes and comunities!!!!!
It is not just our babies who get hurt, but our whole country
for years to come!!!!
Ward Cove, AK - USA
P.S. This is just my opinion, so please do not bash me for speaking
out on this subject. I see so many responses where people tear
apart someone for just writing how they feel, and it makes people
not want to post to SitNews. I want to thank the editor for
allowing us to have a place to discuss what is important to us.
About: Resident of Ketchikan
for 13 years and concerned mother of 3 raising her children here.
Abuse Laws By Terri Haught-Sirbaugh
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