SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska



Time to stand up for our children
By Amy Schmitt


April 09, 2006
Sunday PM

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 fix it.

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!!!!

Amy Schmitt
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.


Related Viewpoint:

letter Child Abuse Laws By Terri Haught-Sirbaugh



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and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sitnews.


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