Friday, October 19, 2012

The Boy Scouts of America, a Vision for Children, and the Future of the Nation.


CHICAGO, IL, October 19, 2012 – The recent stories about the Boys Scouts of America and their "perversion files" are disturbing and downright shocking. Every day young men repeat an oath that sets a road map for their good citizenship, increased self-confidence and adherence to “duty, honor, country.” Unfortunately the lesson to be learned today is that these goals do not come easy; they must be constantly attended to, and they cannot be compromised….for any reason.

This is not the manner in which the Boy Scouts Administration probably wants to further these goals, but it is the lesson we as a nation should embrace, and we now have a decision to make: we can demonize the Boy Scouts or we can look forward and complete the change that is already occurring in our neighborhoods and communities around breaking the silence long associated with child sexual abuse.

As a nation, we must take responsibility in doing our part to continue this national dialogue and focus on the development of a true path leading to the healthy growth and development of the country's children. As a nation, we should highlight that both presidential candidates have engaged in a deafening silence on the issue of what they plan do for our children and how they plan to guarantee a future for them that is healthy, stable, and happy. As a nation each individual should accept the responsibility to ensure that all children live, play and learn in healthy and nurturing environments realizing that it is an adult responsibility to do so, not a child’s.

And, as a nation we must accept the fact that we have a long way to go to realize our vision for children, but that this vision is possible and there are ways to accomplish it.

The Korean War Memorial in Washington DC dramatically reminds us that “freedom is not free.” Similarly, the Boy Scout’s pervasion files must remind us that citizenship is neither easy nor free; it requires courage, moral character and willingness to do our part to ensure that every child has an unconditional right to enjoy and experience a healthy childhood.

We know how to reduce child sexual abuse. We know that 1-1 time between a non-parental adult caretaker and a child should be limited and closely monitored. We know that child sexual abuse occurs more frequently with a person the child knows and trusts than with a stranger. We know that parental discussions with children to establish trust and respect, and involve open and honest communications, including age appropriate discussions about human sexuality are something that child sexual perpetrators fear.

We know what it takes to stop future “perversion files,” we just have to do our duty, to honor our children and make our country the kind of place they deserve to live in.

Prevent Child Abuse America, founded in 1972 in Chicago, works to ensure the healthy development of children nationwide. The organization promotes that vision through a network of chapters in 50 states and 530 Healthy Families America home visitation sites in 39 states, the Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and Canada. A major organizational focus is to advocate for the existence of a national policy framework and strategy for children and families while promoting evidence-based practices that prevent abuse and neglect from ever occurring. To learn more about what we’re doing to prevent child abuse and neglect and how you can help, please visit our websites, here and here.

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