Penn State and Syracuse University are facing national scandals! At Penn State in 2002, an assistant coach witnessed a sexual assault of a child, told administrators and no one reported it to police. Seven more assaults have now been reported.

Americans have heard horror stories about sexual assaults by priests and sex traffickers. The tragic truth is, children are sexually assaulted at home and in their neighborhoods every day. These children grow up and become parents. Often, the cycle of abuse continues because adults fail to speak up to stop it. Americans are paying a high price for their silence.

When children feel powerless and violated, they may act out in self-destructive ways. They often turn to drugs, sex, food, cutting or another addiction. They can become an easy victim or join a gang to feel powerful! Around 80 percent of prison inmates were abused as children.


During the past year, 3 out of 5 children were exposed to violence at home or in their neighborhoods. It is up to citizens to stop this epidemic of child abuse. If YOU don't speak up, you are allowing a predator to continue abusing children.

10 things you can do to help stop child abuse.

1. Watch toddlers at play. A child tries to dominate by shoving playmates and crying for a toy. This is normal, childish behavior. Adults must correct children so they mature properly and learn to respect others. Don't ignore aggressive behavior! Children can become bullies and abuse each other.

2. STAY ALERT! Don't let anyone hit, slap or verbally abuse a child without speaking up. Children need protection, attention and encouragement. Adults are role models. Discipline children by taking way privileges.

3. Peace starts at home! Make a family rule... we treat each other with respect. Bully/victim behavior is learned at home. (25 percent of women and 10 percent of men are in abusive relationship) Verbal, sexual or physical abuse teaches children to be victims and/or bullies.

4. Don't be your child's best friend! Undisciplined children become angry when they don't have the skills to develop positive friends. They may bully or become targets of abuse because they don't know how to develop healthy relationships.

5. Discuss family problems together and allow everyone to have a voice. Children mature and grow strong when they are heard and help solve conflicts, peacefully.

6. Discipline, rules, love, attention and support give children self-confidence. If bullied, a loved child will know they are NOT the problem. Self-worth gives children the inner power to stand up to bullies, walk away and report bad behavior.

7. Self-discipline keeps children safe. For example: If I pick a fight with you and you fight back, I am in control. If I pick a fight with you and you walk away, you are in control. Children can develop courage and character by speaking up and standing up to bullies.

8. Does your school have an "anti-bully" policy? Do neighbors work together to stop bullies on the block? Don't ignore any abusive or destructive behavior! Work with neighbors or bullies can form gangs and make your neighborhood less safe.

9. BE AN ADVOCATE and get involved! CNN Special, "Bullying: It stops here!" stated, "Social Combat: the new norm for youth." We must all speak up and work together to stop bad behavior.

10. Start a movement to help create a safer environment in your school and/or in your neighborhood. Ask friends to join you. It takes involved citizens to create safe, healthy environments for children.

Americans must work together and speak up to protect children and our future.

Author's Bio: 

Mann is a safety consultant and author of 4 national self-help books. She has a radio show called, on More Public Radio - To improve the health and safety of children, she promotes strengthening families and community involvement.
Her books include, "Alternative to Fear," "Safe Homes, Safe Neighborhoods," "Street Safe Kids" and "The Adopt-A-Block Guidebook."

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