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My child has manners but not when it comes to his SAFETY!…Kid Safe Foundation

July 4, 2011 1 comment

When we were young our parents sent us off to school and camp with statements such as: “Be a good listener.” “Mind your manners.” “Do what your counselor tells you to do.” “A tough teacher is a good teacher.” I can’t even imagine saying blanket statements like this to my 10 year old today. In fact, almost the opposite is said at our house. We want him to be polite but NEVER at the expense of his safety and just because an adult, like a teacher or counselor, tells him to do something, if it makes him uncomfortable or confused… guess what? He doesn’t have to do it! He has the right to say “NO” and he knows it. Blind obedience versus knowing when and how to be assertive is on my mind as my son tells me this experience he had at camp:

My son is at a new camp. The first two days when changing for swim they changed in a huge bathroom that had stalls. My son (as did the other boys) went into their individual stalls and changed. The third day they were brought to a smaller bathroom (no clue why) and there were no stalls. My son said to the counselor, “I want to change in the stall.” The counselor said “We are in a rush just change here, hurry up.” My son responded, “I don’t want anyone to see me and I don’t want to see anyone else’s privates.” (Now remember he is growing up with one of the founders of KidSafe Foundation and could probably teach the lessons himself at this point.) The counselor raised his voice and told him he had to change. He refused. The counselor got the Director of the camp, who amazingly told my son, “I absolutely respect your right to privacy and you don’t ever have to change in that bathroom again – you can always go to the big bathroom.” Crisis solved. (Well almost – as this was not handled well by the group counselor.)

I can’t even explain to you how proud my husband and I were of him. Thankfully this was just a very minor thing – Just a counselor wanting his camper to hurry up and get dressed for swimming…no big deal right? But what if the counselor or teacher asked a child to do something inappropriate, sexual and unsafe? I want my child, your child, and every child to know they have the right to be SAFE. They have the right to speak up and be assertive if they are uncomfortable…and just because the person telling you to do something is an adult, especially the adult that is in charge at that time, it does not mean a child has to be blindly obedient.

After sharing my story with a few friends (many of their children have been through the KidSafe program), they shared similar stories…especially around the issues of changing for swim and privacy. My friend described that after a few days at camp she finally realized her son’s bathing suit was coming home dry. When she asked him if he was swimming he said that he and a bunch of other boys are not swimming because they didn’t have anywhere to change with privacy. When she called the camp – she understood that the boys were given an option by the counselor – change out with everyone – or don’t swim. They chose to not swim. After speaking to the director – who was embarrassed that the situation was not handled well by his staff, my friend used the experience as a teachable moment. She was so proud that he had spoken up and was assertive – but taught him that the next step is to come to a trusted adult and explain what happened. He has a right to swim and a right to privacy. Wow – it was amazing to have this anecdotal feedback that our lessons stick… the children get it! Some of the parents were surprised by their children’s assertiveness…I was thrilled!

I have to admit that dropping my son off at a camp where neither he nor I knew a soul was difficult for me. I left with a heavy heart, a little anxious….even though I did all the due diligence I needed to feel comfortable with the camp we choose, you still can’t help but wonder…will my child be safe? Parents ask us most often, “When can my child have more independence?” I respond with a question back to them: “What have you taught your child about their personal safety that you feel they will make the safest and smartest choices when faced with new challenges?”

I realized that we have raised our 10 year old to be polite…but assertive. To listen to an adult…but think first how it makes him feel…to speak up if something is uncomfortable.. but to hold his ground if he doesn’t feel safe and to report what happens to a trusted adult. I was proud and realized something important. It is not just what you tell your child, it’s how you ask questions of your child to get them to tell you about their day away from you.

Ask: Open ended questions – Don’t just ask: How was your day? The answer will be: fine.

Ask: Tell me 3 high lights of your day? And 3 low lights. Ask them for the play by play of their day. Once they get talking you can enjoy the info as well as see how they cope during the day and what areas they might need some practice in.

So as your kids go off to summer activities…and then back to school rethink what you may be teaching them…Does your child know they have the right to say “NO” to anyone that makes them feel uncomfortable? Even an adult? Have you talked with your child about this? Do you just assume your child knows he has these rights? Or have you actually had this discussion? Do you assume your child knows he/she can come to you about anything? Or have you actually had this conversation. If you have not – it is never too late. Start the conversation and keep it going!

Via Kid Safe Foundation, Inc. – commending and thanking Kid Safe Foundation for all that they do for our children.

Take care and STAY SAFE!

Shane Alexander Donates Proceeds From His Song “Look Out For Me” to Darkness to Light – an Organization to Help Prevent Child Sexual Abuse

June 10, 2011 Comments off

Via Music Blog

LA based singer/songwriter/guitarist Shane Alexander is paying it forward. He has written his latest song “Look Out For Me” to help the charity Darkness to Light, whose ultimate mission is to end childhood sexual abuse through education and awareness. CEO of Darkness to Light Anne Lee says, “Shane Alexander’s “Look Out for Me” is a beautiful, melodic reminder that our children need us and depend on us to protect their only childhood.”

Possessing a singularly evocative voice, Shane Alexander writes songs that Performing Songwriter Magazine has called “stunning,” and The Los Angeles Times described as “beautiful.” Shane has opened multiple US tours for Jewel and Seal and performed in Europe with Bon Iver and Suzanne Vega, among many others. Since his debut in 2005, he has released 4 solo albums, including his latest effort Mono Solo, on his own BuddhaLand Records imprint. No stranger to the road, he tours the US and Europe constantly. This fiercely independent artist has amassed a global fanbase and has nearly one million plays on MySpace to prove it. His popularity has been driven in part by over 50 television and film placements, including the season finale of MTV’s highly rated “My Life as Liz” (aired April 29th 2011). He has recently signed with Warner Chappell Publishing and Rough Trade Distribution in Europe.Even with all this success, Shane Alexander is finding the time to help others; he has a huge talent but a big heart to match it.

Shane Alexander’s current efforts have been directed at raising funds and awareness for the charity Darkness to Light (D2L). This is a cause Shane feels strongly about: “I believe in giving back as much as possible, and to lend my voice to an organization with such a noble mission just felt right. The statistics of childhood sexual abuse are pretty staggering, and Darkness to Light is working so hard to help prevent the suffering that these kids might face. It’s a real privilege for me to be working with such great people.” Shane Alexander was so compelled by what the charity stood for that it inspired him to write this touching and poignant song and to donate proceeds to the charity upon its release. Anne Lee believes that Shane Alexander’s song “has captured the pure essence of childhood that every adult needs to hear.”A portion of the proceeds from Shane’s US summer tour will be donated to the Darkness to Light as well.

Child sexual abuse is regarded as an epidemic. According to statistics from D2L, There are more than 39 million survivors of sexual abuse in America and they estimate that 1 in 4 girls will be sexually abused by the time she is 18. More than 90% of abusers are people children trust love and know.

Darkness to Light was founded in 2000 by Anne Lee, now President and CEO. The ultimate mission of D2L is to end childhood sexual abuse and empower adults through awareness and educational programs to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to childhood sexual abuse. Recently featured in April 4th 2011 issue of People Magazine’s Heroes Among Us, Anne Lee shared her story of abuse and how it led her to launching Darkness to Light. A true “hero among us,” Anne says, “Darkness to Light is honored to have had Shane write this song for our organization and we are excited about his working with us to raise awareness.” Darkness to Light and Shane Alexander are both dedicated to preventing sexual abuse in this lifetime.

To purchase the song please go to:

http://bit.ly/mS4L3r  

I am an Authorized Facilitator via D2L to bring Steward’s of Children training to your community throughout the US ;every adult in every capacity from professional to parents, grandparents, family, faith based communities, law enforcement, etc.  should be educated about prevention and awareness. please feel free to contact me for further information.  I am also a Prevention Specialist via D2L to introduce our program to communities to speak about the emotional impact as well as the economical impact that child sexual abuse has every community and  individual – even if you have not personally been touched by child sexual abuse….you have.

Please feel contact me TODAY for further information, details and how we can make a difference in your community and protect our innocent children from this epidemic.

Thank you.

Take care and STAY SAFE!

Mom Forces Kids to Have Sex

June 4, 2011 4 comments

A building that once housed a daycare center and later became a “swingers’ club” in Mineola, Texas turned into a house of horrors for four children who were forced to perform sex acts on others and each other.

Shauntel Mayo, 29, the ringleader of this unthinkable abuse, made her three kids (then age 5, 6, and 7) and her own 6-year-old baby sister perform sex acts if they wanted dinner. “The unthinkable,” said Smith County assistant district attorney Joe Murphy. “She had her kids have sex with each other and taught them to masturbate. She taught them how to strip. She withheld food from them. All so she could make money.”

According to prosecutors, the kids were groomed for sex shows in what Mayo called “kindergarten” classes. At “kindergarten,” they said they learned how to strip, dance and perform sexual acts–first on dolls, then on each other. Upon “graduating” from “kindergarten,” they were forced to have sex with each other in front of 50 to 100 adult members of a swingers’ club once a week. Before going on stage, they were given the painkiller Vicodin  — which their abusers called “silly pills” — to loosen them up for their performances. The children were forced to have sex with each other or perform sexual acts for club members who paid a fee to watch. Investigators believe up to 15 other children were victimized, and are still trying to locate them.

According to the Associated Press, the police department first investigated a complaint in June 2005 in which the siblings’ foster mother said one of the girls described dancing toward men and another child said that “everybody does nasty stuff in there.”

“We learned to strip (at ‘kindergarten’),” said the 7-year-old. ” I had to touch my privates with my sister’s and brother’s privates for the people in the club.”

The mother of the three siblings and her live-in boyfriend have already been convicted in the case and were sentenced to life in prison. A third person goes on trial today to face charges of aggravated sexual assault of a child, tampering with physical evidence and engaging in organized criminal activity. Four others are awaiting trial.

The siblings, who have been adopted and have gone through intense therapy, are now doing better, the welfare agency said. However, the man who gained permanent custody of the children, John Orville Cantrell, 64, of Mineola, was arrested last week for aggravated sexual assault of a child on a California case from 18 years ago.

His wife, Margie Cantrell, who has been a foster mom for 36 years, said Thursday she believes the accusations are in retaliation for their roles in the Mineola sex ring case. “What John and I want to do is continue to seek justice for the kids in this case,” she told the Tyler Paper. “And if we have to climb a few mountains to get there, it will be worth it. And at the end of all this, John will absolutely be proven innocent.”

What’s your reaction to this horrifying case?

One more reason, not that I personally need one but I WILL continue to make a bold effort to reach into communities across the country, as a Child Abuse Prevention Specialist and an authorized Facilitator for Stewards of Children through the Darkness to Light program, an organization whose mission is to train adults in every community to responsibly attack the issue of child sexual abuse.   The focus of the Stewards of Children Program is to effectively shift the responsibility of recognizing and reacting to child sexual abuse to adults, and teach them how to make a local impact.

Won’t you take a stance?  Won’t you be a leader in your community?  Won’t you be a voice for innocent children?  Enough is enough! 
Take care and STAY SAFE!

 

Via momlogic

NC (North Carolina) Stop Human Trafficking!

June 3, 2011 Comments off

NC Stop Human Trafficking is a statewide organization whose mission is to eradicate modern day slavery in all its forms. NC Stop Human Trafficking works to fight human trafficking on multiple levels following the P.A.V.E. model: Prevention, Advocacy, Victim Services and Education/awareness.  NC Stop works through connecting and supporting individuals, community-based and faith-based organizations, non-governmental and governmental organizations. We focus on collaboration and communication between all groups to be efficient and effective. NC Stop strives to create opportunities for community members to become involved in the fight to stop human trafficking that are fulfilling and appropriate for each member.

We have active member groups in Wilmington, Greenville, Fayetteville, Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Burlington, Greensboro, Charlotte and Asheville. We also have members who are students at NC State, UNC-Chapel Hill, Duke University, UNC- Greensboro, and UNC-Charlotte. Email ncstophumantrafficking@gmail.com if you live near these areas and would like to meet with groups in your area and learn how to be involved.

Perceived factors leading to human trafficking:

– Non-identification of trafficking situations by law enforcement and community members

– Lack of awareness and education in the general public and direct service providers

– Vulnerability to exploitation due to isolation, abuse/neglect, low self esteem, poverty

– Victims have little to no knowledge of, or access to, alternatives and resources available

– Normalization of degradation and violence against women and children

– Normalization of exploitation and devaluation of human life

– Little deterrence on the demand side – lack of adequate consequences for offenders

– Lack of follow up programs, effective counseling and alternative placement for victims

– Broken foster care and social work system – runaway/throwaway and homeless youth are the highest risk group

– Lack of collaboration and communication between government, NGO, faith- and community-based groups

NC Stop Human Trafficking’s core areas of focus of Prevention, Advocacy, Victim Services, and Education/Awareness (P.A.V.E. model) are designed to address these problems. We seek to work through existing organizations first through providing training on issues and program development, then plan to fill in gaps as needed. In this way we choose to collaborate and effect communication across all borders for the common purpose of ending human trafficking.

Prevention

Protect and educate the vulnerable to reduce risk of exploitation

Work to reduce and eliminate contributing factors of isolation, abuse/neglect, low self-esteem and poverty through mentorships, capacity building, life-skills education, parenting training, etc.

Ensure access to resources and options in life.

Work to expose and reduce normalization of degradation, violence, exploitation and devaluation.

Education/Awareness focus will also help with prevention – education to at-risk population

Educate young people on what a healthy relationship looks like, how to spot exploitation, who to turn to for help, technology and bullying – how to cope, education for boys as well as girls

Address foster care/social work system

Advocacy-

Advocate for tougher penalties for traffickers and end users – Washington state law – cars impounded/ $5000 fine, john school

Support legislation that funds programs for victims – shelter, education, food, therapy, etc

Raise awareness that there is no such thing as a child prostitute – anyone under 18 is a victim – consent is off the table

Advocate for reduced penalties (or none – based on Sweden model) for prostitutes and FUNDED alternative programs in exchange for lesser sentences

Change prostitution laws in NC

Prostitution charges acquired before age 18 can be struck off record – NY state law

Victim Services –

Shelter – security

Health Care

Food

Clothing

Personal Hygiene

Therapy

Life coaching

Legal Services – including immigration processing if needed

Alternative life choices – training and support needed

Long term support system and reintegration into society – love and support – effective follow up and follow through

Education/Awareness –

Civic organizations and associations with a service mission

NGO/Non profits with a service mission – esp focusing on women and children’s health, safety, welfare, etc

Faith based organizations and churches

Schools

Anyone in contact with at risk youth – social workers, guidance counselors, school nurses, teachers existing mentorship programs such as Boys and Girls Club etc, Planned Parenthood, foster parents, adoption/fostering networks, malls, movie theaters, social media, etc –

Law Enforcement

Media

Celebrity

Legislators

General Public

You can get connected to the coalition through our Google group, where members can communicate with each other and share information, and also through our Facebook group.

  • Want to find out how you can be a part of North Carolina’s abolitionist movement? Email us at ncstophumantrafficking@gmail.com, tell us where you’re from, and we’ll see how we can get you hooked in!
  • Know something that you think should be shared on this blog? Email us!

RALEIGH – U.S. National Committee for UN Women – 2011 National Conference

When: Saturday, June 11, 2011

Time: 9:00am – 5:30pm / Reception Afterward

Location:Witherspoon Student Center, North Carolina State University, 2810 Cates Ave, Raleigh, NC

Link: http://wp.me/pikPQ-gG

Via NC Stop Human Trafficking 

Take care and STAY SAFE!

 

 

 

 

Anny Jacoby Facilitating Darkness to Light’s Stewards of Children Program

May 31, 2011 Comments off

Program trains adults to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse

Taking a bold effort to reach into communities across the country, Anny Jacoby is a Prevention Specialist and an authorized Facilitator for Stewards of Children through the Darkness to Light program, an organization whose mission is to train adults in every community to responsibly attack the issue of child sexual abuse.   The focus of the Stewards of Children Program is to effectively shift the responsibility of recognizing and reacting to child sexual abuse to adults, and teach them how to make a local impact.

“Stewards of Children is the only national program which is evidence-based and proven to increase knowledge, improve attitudes, and change child protective behaviors. Training is offered to community groups, parent groups, grand-parents, all organizations that serve children and youth (paid staff and/or volunteer), church congregations, every employee in school districts, coaches, law enforcement, etc.  All adults.”   (www.d2l.org)

Not only is the Stewards of Children a training program, but it’s also being used to change the way society looks upon child sexual abuse, to remove the secrecy, denial and fear and move the issue into the open where children can grow up in a safer environment, find assistance when needed, and know that there are responsible adults within the community to meet their needs.

Anny Jacoby, whose expertise is in personal safety and victim advocacy, has broadened the scope of her experience by joining forces with Darkness to Light and advocating through the Stewards of Children program.

Jacoby is also an independent Consultant for the organization and, if there is not the  Stewards of Children program or it may be inactive in your community, she can assist in its development.  She is also available for workshops and events to promote, educate and bring training of the program to your community.  Anny can connect with area Prevention Specialists and Facilitators, and aid in reaching out to those who wish to provide adults with the training necessary to become actively involved in preventing and repairing the damage of child sexual abuse.

To arrange assistance from Anny Jacoby, she can be reached at anny@annyjacoby.com

Sugar Ray Leonard Says Coach Sexually Abused Him

May 20, 2011 1 comment

The opening segment of a forthcoming autobiography by Sugar Ray Leonard runs counter to the cunning style he used in winning boxing championships in five weight divisions more than a quarter-century ago. It is more like hearing the bell, rushing to the center of the ring and being hit with a straight right hand.

Most fans of Leonard remember him for his sweet smile and lightning-fast hands, as a transcendent and breakout celebrity in a brutal profession. But by Page 36 of “The Big Fight: My Life In and Out of the Ring,” to be published next month by Viking, Leonard has mentioned his cocaine use, growing up in a home with alcohol abuse and domestic violence, luckily surviving a car wreck with his mother at the wheel, almost drowning in a creek as a child who was unable to swim, and fathering a son at 17.

Two pages later, Leonard delivers the book’s bombshell while indirectly addressing a growing concern in the sports industry at large. He reveals publicly for the first time that he was sexually abused as a young fighter by an unnamed “prominent Olympic boxing coach.”

Leonard writes that when the coach accompanied him as a 15-year-old and another young fighter to a boxing event in Utica, N.Y., in 1971, he had the teenagers take a bath in a tub of hot water and Epsom salts while he sat on the other side of the bathroom. They suspected “something a bit inappropriate” was occurring but did not want to question a strong male authority figure.

Several years later, Leonard describes sitting in a car in a deserted parking lot across from a recreation center, listening intently as the same coach, said to be in his late 40s, explained how much a gold medal at the 1976 Olympics would mean to his future.

Leonard was flattered, filled with hope, as any young athlete would be. But he writes: “Before I knew it, he had unzipped my pants and put his hand, then mouth, on an area that has haunted me for life. I didn’t scream. I didn’t look at him. I just opened the door and ran.”

He adds that when he first decided to discuss the incident in the book, which is written with Michael Arkush, he offered a version in which the abuser stopped before there was actual contact.

“That was painful enough,” Leonard writes. “But last year, after watching the actor Todd Bridges bare his soul on Oprah’s show about how he was sexually abused as a kid, I realized I would never be free unless I revealed the whole truth, no matter how much it hurt.”

Through his publisher, Leonard, who turned 55 on Tuesday, declined to comment for this article, saying that he would begin doing publicity for the book in June. But several people who were close to him when he was routinely banking multimillion-dollar purses for title bouts with Roberto Duran, Thomas Hearns and Marvin Hagler were taken aback when told of what he has revealed in the book.

“This is the first time I’ve ever heard that, and I’ve known Ray since he was just a kid,” Dave Jacobs, who was Leonard’s first trainer as an amateur and later served as assistant trainer for many of his professional fights, said in a telephone interview. “He never talked about that to me and no one in the group ever mentioned it, so I assume he never talked about it to them, either.

“But if that incident did happen, I feel sorry for him in that part of his life and for having to carry that around with him.”

Angelo Dundee, who achieved fame as Muhammad Ali’s trainer and later became the head man in Leonard’s corner, said he knew very little about his fighter’s personal lives and preferred it that way.

“Ray never mentioned anything, but I never mingled with anything to do with a fighter except fighting,” Dundee said from his Florida home. “You never wanted personal stuff getting in the way when you sent a kid into the ring. And as far as I could see, Ray was as mentally tough as they came.”

Continue Reading:  http://nyti.ms/kt4Phn

Take care and STAY SAFE!

D2L Conducts a Briefing for US Dept of Justice Officials

May 11, 2011 Comments off

Deborah Donovan Rice, Anne Lee, and Kim Dalfares

On May 5th, Darkness to Light, Stop it Now!, and Prevent Child Abuse America jointly conducted a briefing for 18 US Department of Justice officials. The briefing was a huge success, resulting in commitments to look for ways to include child sexual abuse prevention into Department of Justice programs and grants.

A little background… Along with Stop It Now! and Prevent Child Abuse America, other leading national organizations, D2L is working with federal agencies to encourage the integration of  prevention policies and practices into schools, child/youth-serving organizations, law enforcement agencies and other federally funded programs.

The federal government is the single largest funder of youth and children’s programs in the nation. Federal agencies have significant influence on child safety policies and practices. By integrating CSA prevention standards into federally-funded programs, these agencies have the potential to contribute to an improved society-wide standard of care.

Via D2L

Anny is a Certified Prevention Specialist with Darkness to Light.  Scheduling Prevent Now! Meetings and Stewards of Children trainings.  Contact Anny for details.

Take care and STAY SAFE!

The Issue of Child Sexual Abuse…

February 19, 2011 Comments off

We Can End Child Sexual Abuse

The ultimate mission of D2L, to end childhood sexual abuse, can only be accomplished by sharing the solution of prevention, awareness and education with more and more people. This, in turn, builds momentum and over time, changes the way our nation and culture cares for, protects and nurtures our children. Being an active participant in the mission to end childhood sexual abuse is one of the most rewarding things we will ever do – and we cannot do it without you. We believe that learning the facts about childhood sexual abuse helps prevent it. Talking about it helps prevent it. Getting involved helps prevent it. The truth is, if childhood sexual abuse can be prevented, it can be stopped. That’s why D2L exists – to empower adults through awareness and to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to childhood sexual abuse.

Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Training

Stewards of Children is the only nationally available program scientifically proven to increase knowledge, improve attitudes and change child-protective behaviors. This revolutionary program is for any responsible adult who cares about the welfare of children. It is also appropriate for youth-serving organizations (sports leagues, day care centers, after school programs, children’s clubs, church groups and more).

Who Uses the Program?

Stewards of Children is for any responsible adult who cares about the protection of children. It is also used by individuals, organizations, businesses, and corporations who:

  • Seek training for staff and volunteers in the prevention of child sexual abuse.
  • Look to enhance their child protection policies and procedures or respond to insurance requirements.
  • Want to lead a community-based initiative and offer prevention training to the community.

What Topics are Covered in Stewards of Children?

  • Facts about the problem of child sexual abuse.
  • The types of situations in which child sexual abuse might occur.
  • Simple, effective strategies for protecting children from sexual abuse.
  • The importance of talking about the prevention of sexual abuse with children and other adults.
  • The signs of sexual abuse so you that you might intervene and be able to react responsibly.

What Outcomes Can Be Expected After Training?

  • Increased awareness of the prevalence, consequences and circumstances of child sexual abuse
  • New skills for adults to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse
  • Proactive, positive change to organizational policies and procedures
  • Individual commitment to action via a personal prevention plan

How is the program delivered?

Stewards of Children is available in two formats: ONLINE and Facilitator Led. The content of the programs is identical and both include three main sections including video commentary by adult survivors and experts in the field.

How Long Does the Program Take to Complete?

Stewards of Children typically takes about 2.5 – 3 hours. Think about it — in just 2.5 hours, you’ll have the information you need to better protect every child you know. The ONLINE version of the training does not have to be completed in one sitting — you can pause anywhere in the program and pick it up later without losing your place.

 

Dancing with the Stars Pro Shares Her Story of Abuse; “I Was Molested”, Cheryl Burke

February 11, 2011 3 comments

 

As any fan of Dancing with the Stars knows, Cheryl Burke exudes confidence when she’s waltzing, quick-stepping or doing the tango in front of millions.

But for the two-time DWTS champ, life wasn’t always so smooth: As a child, Burke was repeatedly molested by a friend of her family’s – and testified against him in court, helping send him to prison for nearly two decades.

“I’m telling my story,” says Burke, 26, who opens up about the molestation – and other struggles, including physical abuse by two former boyfriends – in her new book Dancing Lessons, (coauthored by PEOPLE senior writer Monica Rizzo). “They’re not secrets. There’s no shame.”

Burke’s abuser was a retired mailman who was trusted and well liked in Burke’s Bay Area community. He would sometimes pick Burke up from school and do odd jobs around her home. The assaults began when she was 5.

After he was accused of targeting other children, Burke acknowledged her own abuse. But, still reeling from her parents’ split when she was a baby, she was wracked with confusion.

“I felt guilty for wanting his love and affection,” she says, calling testifying against him “the hardest thing I’ve ever done … I saw his face and lawyers were asking me these questions and I was like, ‘What am I doing? Did he even do anything wrong?’ ”

Eventually, with the man in prison and years of therapy, Burke came to see just how wrong her abuser was.

Now, with season 12 of DWTS beginning in March, Burke is ready to tell her story. “If I can help just one person,” she says, “for me that’s all that matters.”

Cheryl Burke is now the latest in a long list of celebrities who have bravely told their story in the last year. We hope these stories will help make sexual abuse a more “speakable” issue in our society – for both the millions of survivors that carry their abuse in secret and for the millions and millions of children we can protect from ever being abused.

We look forward to the day when one of the many celebrity survivors comes forward and joins us in our fight to spread the word about how abuse can be stopped to begin with! We can prevent child sexual abuse!

Darkness to Light History, Ending Child Sexual Abuse

February 6, 2011 Comments off

We Can End Child Sexual Abuse

The ultimate mission of D2L, to end childhood sexual abuse, can only be accomplished by sharing the solution of prevention, awareness and education with more and more people. This, in turn, builds momentum and over time, changes the way our nation and culture cares for, protects and nurtures our children. Being an active participant in the mission to end childhood sexual abuse is one of the most rewarding things we will ever do – and we cannot do it without you.We believe that learning the facts about childhood sexual abuse helps prevent it. Talking about it helps prevent it. Getting involved helps prevent it. The truth is, if childhood sexual abuse can be prevented, it can be stopped. That’s why D2L exists – to empower adults through awareness and to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to childhood sexual abuse.

A Brief History

In 2000, Anne Lee, now Darkness to Light’s President and CEO, developed and implemented a strategy for a non-profit primary prevention program with the mission of reducing the incidence of child sexual abuse through public awareness and education. With tremendous community support, over $100,000 was raised and an award-winning media campaign was developed and launched in June of 2001.

In 2002 “7 Steps to Protecting our Children: A Guide for Responsible Adults” was created and Time, Inc agreed to place ads in various magazines they publish. In 2003 the documentary Childhood Stories was produced by the award-winning team of Breslin-Dunn. The documentary details the stories of four adult survivors of sexual abuse from various backgrounds and life experiences.

In 2004 we began work on an interactive sexual abuse prevention training program, called Stewards of Children, a 2 1/2 hour training program for adults. And, CNN began running Darkness to Light public service announcements nationally. These pro-bono ads were designed to increase awareness of the prevalence and consequences of child sexual abuse and to drive viewers to educational materials. CNN is still a significant supporter today and countless organizations and individuals have found us because of an ad they saw on CNN.

In 2006, Stewards of Children ONLINE was released as a web based version of the “live” or facilitated version of the training program.

Today we have more than 2,500 Facilitators who teach the program in 48 states and 10 additional countries and more than 200,000 copies of the Stewards of Children curriculum have been distributed and the program is also available in Spanish and Icelandic.

Other Noteworthy Accomplishments

Gracie’s Choice

Darkness to Light partnered with Lifetime Television on the issue of child abuse. The lifetime original movie, Gracie’s Choice, stars Anne Heche, Diane Ladd, and Kristen Bell. The movie was orginally aired in 2002.  “Gracie’s Choice” on Amazon

Darkness to Light Featured in Parenting Magazine

“Are you doing all you can to protect your child from sexual abuse? The standard advice is wrong: Here’s what it takes to really keep kids safe.” By Jessica Snyder Sachs Preventing the Unthinkable

Article Printed in October, 2003 Parenting Magazine  www.parenting.com

Darkness to Light Named as Noteworthy Public Awareness and Education Campaign by the Department of Health and Human Services

Darkness to Light was recognized in a report released April 2003 called Emerging Practices in the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect. The report stated “Darkness to Light is a noteworthy public awareness and education campaign in that it shifts the responsibility of child sexual abuse prevention from children to adults.

Utilizing common sense messages for adults and parents, the public service announcements and advertisements center around preventing situations from happening, recognizing signs and reacting responsibly. The initiative also follows up their media message by providing a hotline for information and referral to local resources, and is developing a training and education program for educators, the faith community, and physicians on recognizing and responding to signs of child sexual abuse.”

McGruff™ Names Stewards of Children 2007 Crime Prevention Program of the Year!

The National Crime Prevention Council has named Darkness to Light their Crime Prevention Program of the Year for 2007. The McGruff Crime Prevention Award for Excellence was presented at the National Conference on Preventing Crime in Atlanta on October 4th.

Federal Grant from Health and Human Services Allows for Training of SC Department of Education

With the partnership of the South Carolina Department of Education and a federal grant from Health and Human Services, 20,000 educators were trained by Darkness to Light, making SC the first state to train teachers state wide.