Readers' forum: Help stop child abuse

Published: Friday, Nov. 11 2011 12:00 a.m. MST

Most people hearing about the Penn State sex abuse tragedy are outraged and disgusted that so many adults with information ranging from inappropriate red flags to outright rape of a child failed to do more. To all of you I say, do something about it.

The fact is most people do not know how to recognize the warning signs or red flags of child abuse and do not know how to respond when they do see something. So I challenge you all, in support of the Penn State victims and all other child victims, to spend at least 15 minutes today to learn the warnings signs and what to do about them and then commit to yourself to follow through.

One great site to do this is stopitnow.org. Learning the facts and empowering ourselves is essential because the people who hurt kids are people we know, people we respect, people we love. They are colleagues, neighbors, spouses, coaches, brothers, nephews. If you saw a red flag, could you approach someone to talk about it if you might lose your job, your friend, your sister?

Could you follow through and ask questions even when that means that some people will think you are overprotective, prudish and paranoid? These are the real reasons people want to assume a red flag is nothing and that accusations must be a misunderstanding. Not all red flags mean abuse is occurring, but all abuse situations have red flags. Will you commit today to educate yourself and to speak out? It is far better to offend an adult than to fail a child.

Rachel Bates

Taylorsville

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