To the Editor:
Imagine, if you will, the children that live with violence.
Their only solace is when they can be at school for 35 hours a week. Imagine living in the same home as the person that steals your innocence and safety. Destroys the person that you could have been someday. I’m not suggesting that children living with violence have no hope. That’s not true.
Many children, even most, that have been abused or who have witnessed violence exemplify resilience and strength. I see them every day and am humbled by their bravery.
Abuse does, however, change their path. Life will not be easy for them, and they will have to work hard at not being another statistic. The likelihood of them graduating from high school will be lessened, and their likelihood for substance abuse will be higher. The likelihood of being in a healthy relationship will be lessened, and their likelihood of mental health issues will be higher.
April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, and now more than ever, I know we can do better. I know I can. Communities can. Legislation can. We can.
First responders are certainly vital in the fight against child abuse, but they can’t be everywhere. As a community, it is imperative that we be watchful and report suspicions of child abuse.
Blue ribbons are the national symbol for child abuse prevention paying tribute to the millions of children that are abused every year in this country, and the five that die every day as a result of this abuse/neglect. Put a blue ribbon in your window during the month of April, and encourage others to do the same.
We have counselors that are trained, certified and specialize in trauma for both adults and children. We have a program customized for caregivers of children that have been abused. Please call us to get an appointment scheduled at 815-758-8616. #speakyourtruth
Holly Ann Peifer
Children’s Advocacy Center, Director