A 360° Perspective on Child Sexual Abuse Prevention with StopItNow!'s Jenny Coleman

Podcast ,

In this Episode:
We hear various recommendations about how to keep our children safe from being sexually abused. However, we don’t often hear about it as a preventable public health issue or consider it from multiple aspects. I sought out Jenny Coleman, the director of Stop It Now!, to help me explore a 360° view of child sexual abuse prevention. We discuss the topic from 4 angles: a child’s, a parent’s, the broader community, and finally from someone at-risk of abusing. I fully appreciate including consideration of someone with a propensity to abuse in this discussion is controversial, and I welcome all feedback from listeners. That said, there is not an easy answer to child sexual abuse prevention and I personally believe if we are ever going to eradicate incest we have to be open to looking at all possible prevention, treatments, and manners to hold adults and society accountable. We will return to a featured survivor’s story next episode.
Our guest, Jenny Coleman, LMHC joins us to discuss child sexual abuse prevention. In this interview, she provides a brief introduction to Stop It Now!’s founding, mission, offerings, and helpline interactions as a safe place and entry point where people can ask questions and get help. We then focus on child sexual abuse prevention from:
  • A Child's vantage point: 
    • Giving kids the information they need
    • Healthy sexuality
    • Secrets vs surprises
    • Why we can’t depend on children to prevent abuse
  • A parent’s perspective including:
    • Safety planning
    • Modeling behaviors
    • Paying attention to the behaviors of other adults
  • A community angle including:
    • Need for a culture shift
    • Sex education in school / Erin’s Law
    • Need for training and awareness on healthy sexual development
  • An at-risk of abusing standpoint including:
    • Holding adults accountable for their actions 
    • Offering compassion and support while holding the priority of children’s safety
    • Partner prevention programs
    • Goals of interactions with individuals reaching out
    • Possibility of rehabilitation
    • When Stop It Now! reports
Further Information Regarding Mentioned Topics:
“Stop It Now! was founded on the belief that adults are in the best position to keep children safe from sexual abuse. By adults, we mean parents, survivors, family members, law enforcement, and professionals of all types. We also believe that people who might sexually abuse a child have an important role to play in prevention. No other prevention program has ever directly challenged all adults to take full responsibility for ending sexual abuse.
 
Challenging individuals to hold themselves accountable is an important and bold first step towards stopping the sexual abuse of children. But it is not enough. We must broaden the notion of adult responsibility to inspire families and communities to push for a corresponding change in societal attitudes and government policies. As a society, we can’t identify effective solutions until we have the courage to face the real problem—people we care about who have lost control.”
  • Association for Treatment of Sexual Abusers https://www.atsa.com/ Per their website “The Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers is an international, multi-disciplinary organization dedicated to making society safer by preventing sexual abuse. ATSA promotes sound research, effective evidence-based practice, informed public policy, and collaborative community strategies that lead to the effective assessment, treatment, and management of individuals who have sexually abused or are at risk to abuse.”
  • Erin’s Law – regarding sex education in public schools. www.erinslaw.org
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Thanks for listening, and remember, YANA!