About 50 people listened intently to the speakers at the Child Abuse Prevention Seminar on April 14 at the Upper Main Line YMCA.
Sponsored by JUSTICE4PAKIDS, the seminar featured Al Chesley, a former linebacker for the Philadelphia Eagles, who relayed his experience as a victim of child sexual abuse.
State Senator Andrew Dinniman (D-19) opened the seminar with his continuing theme that freedom from child sexual abuse if a civil right for all children in this country and we should all fight for children’s rights.
Al Chesley, a linebacker formerly with the Philadelphia Eagles, related the anguish he has gone through since being raped by a neighbor and police officer in his Washington, D.C. neighborhood.
“I knew if I told my father he would have killed the guy,” said Chesley. “I never got the courage to talk about it until both my parents passed.”
Chesley now works as an activist on behalf of children who have been sexually abused. Chesley is a recipient of the National Center for Victims of Crime’s annual Leadership Award.
Marita E. Lind M.D. FAAP is a board certified child abuse pediatrician at the UMDNJ-SOM CARES Institute in Stratford, New Jersey who treats children who have experienced sexual abuse, physical abuse and medical neglect, outlined the severe ramifications of child sexual abuse and offered specific tips on helping your children avoid sexual abuse.
“We all warn our children about stranger-danger,” said Dr. Lind “In most cases child sexual abusers are not strangers.
“They often are family members, friends, teachers and pastors,” she added.
The doctor explained that you should talk about sexual abuse with your children when you have the good touch-bad touch discussion.
“You must observe your children’s behavior when they are round friends and family,” she added. “Sometimes children will withdraw in the company of certain people.”
Deputy District Attorney Elizabeth Pitts from the Chester County District Attorney’s Office picked up the discussion, that your children should not do sleepovers at friends’ homes.
“The friend’s family members might be fine, but they could have teenage boy visitors who may not be so circumspect,” said Pitts.
Dr. Lind and Pitts, who are both parents, agreed that it is often difficult when dealing with your teenagers who very much want to do sleepovers.
“You really have to know who your children’s caregivers are and how your children react to them,” said Pitts. “Even kindly grandfathers and uncles may be perpetrators
Justice4PAKIds is a coalition of child and victim advocates, lawyers, mental health professionals and concerned citizens dedicated to eliminating the Pennsylvania statutes of limitations for childhood sexual abuse.
“There is no statute of limitations for murder in Pennsylvania,” said Justice4PAKids president Maureen Martinez. “Why is sexual abuse of a child treated differently?
“Sexual abuse is a heinous crime that robs children of their hearts, minds and souls. Please join us. Justice4PAKids.com needs your help to change our laws.”
For information contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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