It’s May 1st and the end of April’s Child & Sexual Abuse Awareness month. Waco and its surrounding communities were SO supportive of the Advocacy Center’s #pinwheelsforprevention campaign. I’m personally so thankful for the dozens of supportive friends and neighbors who donated and received pinwheels. At final count, I delivered 82 pinwheels to friends and neighbors who raised $1800+. Wow! You guys are amazing!
There’s no point in a campaign and “awareness month” unless we do our job of educating and raising awareness about the topic at hand. These pinwheels represented children who have received services at our local Advocacy Center. Child abuse and sexual abuse are problems that affect all walks of life, all races, all economic backgrounds, all school districts, all neighborhoods, and all ages. In McLennan and five surrounding counties, the Advocacy Center for Crime Victims & Children provided services to about 1200 clients. Most of those victims (now survivors) were children. The Children’s Advocacy Center section of the agency provided close to 650 forensic interviews for children who have been victims of abuse (physical or sexual). Only a small portion, about 10-15%, of those children who were interviewed required a medical exam for further care and evaluation of sexual abuse. I performed 74 of these medical exams in 2016. Previously, Dr. Ann Sims had averaged 60-65 exams per year. In 2017, I have already done 44 exams through April 30th. At that rate, we would anticipate at least 120 exams this calendar year. Sexual abuse isn’t going away. We need to talk about it, prevent it, and confront it. If we don’t do these things, how will we stop it?
Statistics show 1 in 10 children have been sexually abused by the time they turn 18. That means you WILL OR ALREADY DO KNOW A CHILD WHO HAS BEEN SEXUALLY ABUSED. You just don’t know it.
The child may have been abused once or for many years. That child might be your own. It might be a family member/relative. It might be a friend’s child. The problem is only ~38% of child sexual abuse victims disclose the fact that they have been abused. So keep your eyes and ears open. Pay attention. Talk to your child. Report any suspicion of abuse immediately.
As the summer months approach and we send our children to summer activities and overnight camps, remember to continually talk to them about their bodies. Teach them about keeping their private parts private. Don’t wait until it’s too late! Be proactive in your conversations.
I’ve scheduled some new Camp Careful talks on May 28th and June 11th. Please click on this link to register for classes.
Until then, empower your kids and stay safe!
Soo Battle, M.D., F.A.A.P.
Disclaimer: The information contained on this website/blog is for informational purposes only and should not be used to replace the relationship that exists between you and your pediatrician or doctor. Please contact your doctor for medical advice and/or treatment recommendations specific to your child.