Posts tagged Love Our Children USA

Child abuse and domestic violence by role models

adrian peterson More than 3 million children are reported as abused each year. Due to the under-reporting of child abuse the actual number of reports are three times greater.

Child abuse has always existed, yet few want to talk about it because the thought of a child being hurt is unbearable.  Yet when someone famous abuses a child, people are outraged.

On average, 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States — more than 12 million women and men over the course of a year. Adrian Peterson running back for the Minnesota Vikings was indicted by a grand jury on charges of reckless or negligent injury to a child on Friday.

He disciplined his 4 year-old son with a switch. In certain cultures, using a switch to discipline a child has been used. In this case using a switch caused severe bruises on the body of Peterson’s child.

Today another story broke that reveals another incident in which Adrian Peterson is accused of injuring another son while disciplining the boy. The boy had a head wound from Peterson’s discipline but no charges were filed.

Disciplining a child is not bad. It’s a necessity. It teaches kids how to behave, respect the rights of others and to follow rules. It’s even used to keep kids out of danger.

Although some parents believe in spanking their children, most feel guilty afterwards. Spanking is not the best form of discipline … no matter how out of control a child is. Studies show that children who are spanked will grow up to be aggressive. And the potential for the cycle of abuse to repeat itself is increased. Spanking can also backfire. Kids imitate adults and look to their parents as role models. By hitting and spanking to discipline, parents risk having their child model their behavior; they learn to hit, just like mom and dad. Spanking is violent behavior which kids will learn.

Some may not consider spanking to be child abuse, but when spanking leaves children with bruises, that is child abuse.

Most parents get away with spanking and disciplining their children in violent ways because it is rarely reported. But when someone in the public eye, an athlete who is looked up to as role models, who harms their child in a violent way, it’s reported in the media and goes viral.

The NFL must not and cannot condone this behavior or the recent behavior of Ray Rice of the Baltimore Ravens, who was caught on tape abusing his then fiancé and now wife. Abuse in any form is not something that should be condoned – especially from role models.

After watching the NFL’s issues with domestic violence spiral in the past week, Major League Baseball has scheduled a meeting with the players’ union to reach a policy regarding domestic abuse. The league determined it must establish a formal discipline for any future domestic abuse cases.

All sports leagues should have a domestic abuse policies in place. If they don’t enforce policies, then these role models are sending a message to abusers everywhere that it’s okay to abuse children and women.

Every one of us must say enough! We cannot tolerate the abuse of any child or any adult. If the NFL is smart, they will take this seriously and suspend their abusive members and ensure that they receive the appropriate anger management and other therapies to help them break the cycle of abuse.

Facts you should know about violence against children

Forms you should know about violence against children

What makes people harm and neglect children?

What you can do to help

Reporting child abuse

To learn more about child abuse visit www.loveourchildrenusa.org

Leave a comment »

Child Abuse: Who will help our children?

ImageWith child abuse prevention month around the corner these stories serve as a wake-up call to raise awareness for child abuse prevention.

Two women were arrested after police in Salinas, CA after police found three malnourished and abused children. According to authorities, one of the children was found chained to the floor. The children were so emaciated, one was compared to a person found in a concentration camp. The home was in great squalor as well …

A one year-old girl was found In apartment building lobby in Chicago’s Auburn Gresham neighborhood …

A Silver Spring, MD man has been accused of abusing his infant son so badly that the boy will have to be placed on a respirator the rest of his life …

A Chelsea, OK couple were arrested on allegations that they locked a 4-year-old boy in a dog cage for several hours a day and abused and neglected two other children …

A Grand Forks, N.D. woman faces 13 counts of child abuse or neglect is accused of taping a 4-year-old boy’s eyes shut to force him to sleep and taping them open during the day so he would stay awake. Court documents show that she forced children ages 4 -9 to eat spoonfuls of hot sauce. She’s also accused of stitching up a cut on a 5-year-old’s head …

A Los Angeles Police Department officer has been charged with child abuse for allegedly repeatedly striking a young teen male relative, leaving welts and bruises, for poor grades …

An 8 month-old baby girl in Salt Lake City, UT remains in critical condition with head and brain trauma and extensive bruising. The baby’s mother left the baby in the care of a male friend who admitted to having “spanked” the infant hard, throwing her onto a mattress and repeatedly banging her head against his shoulder over several days …

These few stories are enough to make anyone sick and angry. And they should be enough to make you want to get involved and raise awareness so that all children are safe.

A recent study shows that child abuse may dramatically infect the mental health of a child’s future. And besides emotional and behavioral issues, it can also increase the risk of diabetes, obesity and other metabolic disorders in adulthood.

The findings also suggest that stress experienced during childhood can lead to long-term hormone impairment.

Researchers recorded levels of the weight-regulating hormones leptin, irisin and adiponectin in the blood of adults who suffered physical, emotional or sexual abuse or neglect during childhood.

As leptin has been linked to body-mass index and fat mass that helps to regulate appetite, adiponection helps to lower bodily inflammation. On the other hand, irisin gives our metabolism more energy.

The latest findings revealed that adults who endured childhood abuse showed dysregulation of these hormones.

“This study helps illuminate why people who have dealt with childhood adversity face a higher risk of developing excess belly fat and related health conditions,” said researchers Christos S. Mantzoros, MD, DSc, PhD, of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and the VA Boston Healthcare System, via a press release. “The data suggest that childhood adversity places stress on the endocrine system, leading to impairment of important hormones that can contribute to abdominal obesity well into adulthood.”

As National Child Abuse Prevention Awareness Month begins on April 1st, think about America’s children and the impact that child abuse has on them mentally and physically.

ImageAs the “Blue Ribbon” is the symbol for child abuse prevention, Love Our Children USA urges every person across the country to GET BLUE. By wearing a Blue Ribbon pin or Love Our Children USA’s Break The Cycle Blue Silicone Bracelet during April and throughout the year, individuals can:

    • Help educate families, children, neighbors, organizations and communities on how to prevent child violence and neglect
    • Encourage community and individual involvement in recognizing and preventing child violence and neglect
    • Assist families in achieving healthy parenting practices through education and resources
    • Empower individuals to report child victimization and intervene in situations where violence and neglect harm children.

Please be sure to GO BLUE and raise awareness for child abuse prevention.

Leave a comment »

The silence! The shame! NO MORE!!

Three dirty little words “child sexual abuse”.  They make everyone so uncomfortable. No one likes to talk about it.

But we must talk about. It wasn’t comfortable for any of children who have been sexually abused – so frankly I don’t care about anyone else’s discomfort!

The recently launched lawsuit of Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett against the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) seeking to have all of the NCAA penalties against Penn State’s football program thrown out is beyond shameful and it’s a contradiction to his public statement this past summer where he stated: “We must repair the damage to this university. Part of that corrective process is to accept the serious penalties imposed by the NCAA on Penn State University and its football program.”

These sanctions brought about by the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse case include a $60 million fine which is to be used for funding child sexual abuse prevention and treatment programming.

Corbett’s about face should make everyone feel uncomfortable! Once again, it’s the silence and shame! It’s the putting the profits of college football ahead of children’s rights … rights to be safe and not violated.

Let’s all get uncomfortable with Governor Corbett’s lawsuit! Let us fight so that no child is ever violated – so that no child is ever uncomfortable – so that no child ever has to live with silence and shame ever again!!

It’s up to all of us to talk about it! It’s up to all of us to fight for our children

Together we can give children a world where they are safe, nurtured, and loved …a world where their voices are not small, ignored and unheard. And together
we can listen …as we raise the volume, so that everyone hears their message.

Help prevent violence and neglect against children today!

Ross Ellis
Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Love Our Children USA

Leave a comment »

Paterno and his powerful allies: Guilty of child sexual abuse

The release of the Freeh Report to Penn State University today documents years of secrecy and silence around child sexual abuse by Jerry Sandusky and a fundamental disregard for children’s safety and welfare by failing to report child abuse.

Their actions and inactions are egregious when we read the details of the report. It highlights leaders behave in ways that favor protecting themselves, their reputations and their institutions over protecting children.

By law anyone that works with children is a mandated reporter and must report the abuse to the authorities.

It is a message for every citizen in this country to not look the other like those who did at Penn State.

One of the many recommendations made to insure this does not happen again was increased training of staff on all levels about the responsibility that comes with being a mandated reporter. Stronger and more frequent background checks must also be mandatory.

Paterno was a mandated reporter and together with his powerful allies, committed a crime by covering up child sexual abuse.

When it comes to public reporting, whether you are a mandated reporter or not, we all have the responsibility and obligation to report all child abuse – even if it’s only suspected.

Louis Freeh, former federal judge and Director of the FBI oversaw the investigation and said: “Our most saddening and sobering finding is the total disregard for the safety and welfare of Sandusky’s child victims. The most powerful men at Penn State failed to take any steps for 14 years to protect the children who Sandusky victimized.”

The investigation which ran the course of seven months, involved more than 400 interviews and the review of more than 3.5 million documents … accusing Paterno, the university’s former president and several others of deliberately hiding facts about Sandusky’s sexually predatory behavior over the years.

“The facts are the facts,” Freeh said of Paterno. “He was an integral part of the act to conceal.”

All of us who work in child abuse prevention agree with Freeh’s Report and recommendations on policies and practices. Yet Penn State and other institutions must take even more steps such as compliance with mandatory reporting statutes, whistleblower policies and background checks on an annual basis.

In order for children to be safe, we as a society must to do more to keep children safe.

Learn the signs of child sexual abuse  If you see something, say something!

Leave a comment »

The Silent Story: Child Molesters And Predators In Our Schools

Yesterday the Los Angeles Times reported that teacher Mark Berndt of the Miramonte Elementary School in Los Angeles was arrested for the most despicable acts against children. Berndt is deservedly looking at multiple potential life sentences.

And it could have been prevented!

In 1994, the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office decided not to press charges against veteran Los Angeles teacher Mark Berndt for fondling a girl because prosecutors determined there was “insufficient evidence.”

Now 18 years later, Berndt the teacher everyone loved has finally been arrested after a one-year investigation for the photographing children in class while he sexually relieved himself under his desk, spoon-fed his own semen to blindfolded elementary school children and photographed them with a giant live cockroach on their faces.  Berndt’s 23 counts of lewd acts against children took place between 2005 and 2010. The victims were both girls and boys between the ages of 7 and 10.

Hundreds of photos were recovered from Berndt’s home, showing Berndt with his arms around children or with his hands over their lips. Some allegedly show children with tape over their mouths. Several girls were photographed with a blue plastic spoon filled with an unknown clear white liquid held up to their mouths as if they were going to ingest the substance. The substance tested positive for Berndt’s semen according to law enforcement, who also found adult pornography in Berndt’s apartment that “mirrored” the bondage-type photos of the children. More than 26 children were identified in the 390 total photos. Ten of the children have not yet been formally identified.

Back in 1994, a girl, who was 10 or 11 years old at the time, reported Berndt fondling her over her clothing near her genital area. If prosecutors had probed deeper or another one of Berndt’ s victims had come forward, Berndt would not have been teaching and the children at Miramonte Elementary and they would not have endured such disgusting and despicable acts.

Today another teacher at Miramonte Elementary was arrested and charged with acts of lewd conduct involving 23 students earlier this week – unrelated to Berndt.

These two teachers are not the first to be arrested for lewd sexual acts against children.

Many teachers across the country have been involved in child molestation. Some have been arrested and some have gotten away with their crimes against children because of insufficient evidence, because of cover ups, because no one was courageous enough to step forward and report their own abuse.

Take beloved teacher Steven Noyes of the Village School in Naples, Fl., a private school affiliated with the North Naples United Methodist Church, who has been accused of sexual abuse against one of his 9 year old female students at the school. The police investigated the case, but when the teacher in question didn’t cooperate, they dropped the ball.  The teacher was not willing to talk to police or take a polygraph test, returned to school, the head of the school Ginger Sauter was heard saying “This is all my fault, I shouldn’t have let him hug the children” and now the little girl, the innocent victim has been expelled from school.

So because the police dropped the ball, and no one has been brave enough to come forward to report other abuse by Noyes, could we be looking at Noyes  and other teachers who harm children becoming another Berndt in 18 years?

We must stop teachers from hurting our children NOW! We cannot wait 18 years to have them arrested.

Schools across the country must be more diligent in background checks. Perhaps teachers need to go through annual background checks. It would be unfair to the good teachers, but it would certainly take care of the bad ones.

We can no longer protect our teachers who commit these horrible acts against children. We should be protecting our most innocent – our children.

If you know of a teacher who is harming you, has harmed you in the past or who is harming other children it is your duty to report it. It is law enforcement’s duty to not let these cases get buried as a result of insufficient evidence or teachers not willing to cooperate. It is the school’s duty to ensure that their students are taught by teachers whose only agenda is to educate – not violate!

You can report child abuse here

 

Leave a comment »

Did Joe Paterno Really Break His Silence?

As  Appeared In Psychology Today
Published on January 17, 2012

Co-Authored by Robin Sax, Ross Ellis and Angela Rose

How shattering the silence stops abuse

Joe Paterno “broke his silence on the Sandusky case since being fired from Penn State University.” Clearly not a tell-all nor a hard ball interview, Sally Jenkins of the Washington Post portrayed Paterno as a sympathetic, sick, frail old man who simply did the best he could.  Do you feel sorry for him?  Do you think he deserves a pass? Do you think his age, notoriety and illness is justification to the many victims who would not have been abused had Joe-Pa cared about him as much as he cared about himself, his team, and the school.

Denial, minimization, blame are the tenets of sexual abuse cover-ups and misunderstanding.  While Joe-Pa may not have known what to do then, he should be able to say I know what to do now.  The missing parts of the interview were the noticeably absent questions of:

  1. Did you ever confront Sandusky? If so, what did he say?  What did you say?
  2. What would you do if this happened today?
  3. When you saw Sandusky as recently as September 2011 did you think it was strange that he was still courting kids on campus?

A hundred more questions come to mind.

The value of Paterno’s silence breaker is that this gives us an opportunity to talk about sexual abuse– a subject that despite how progressed people think we are– is one that many would prefer to remain a silent subject. 

On Tuesday, January 17 on Fox 11 KTTV’s Good Day LA, Angela Rose shattered the silence of sexual violence by sharing her own story of overcoming being kidnapped when she was 17 years old and sexually assaulted by a repeat sexual offender who was on parole for murder. Although her case was perpetrated by a stranger, Angela stresses that sexual abuse is typically committed by someone who is known to the victim. The offenders prey on their victims using trust as well as silence and fear as a tool to continue to offend. Angela Rose founded the nonprofit PAVE: Promoting Awareness, Victim Empowerment and she is partnering with other groups to tackle this societal problem.

Child sexual abuse is a worldwide pandemic and prevalence rates are known to be as high as 60 percent. Sexual abusers tend to choose occupations that put them in close contact with children. They can be found in every profession. They are heterosexual and homosexual — they don’t discriminate.

While Penn State and Syracuse are now institutions that have been exposed, there are hundreds of other schools that work harder to cover up the abuse than simply expose it and deal with it.  In all of these cases, the pattern is the same when a child reports sexual abuse and when confronted with the investigation process— a process designed to be a fact finding process—the child is the one who is disbelieved, penalized, and blamed.  The children get victimized twice – once by the people they look up to and admire, and then again through the cover-ups of the perpetrators, and their colleagues.

Take a case that as not received the same attention as Sandusky or Fine.  It is the case of Steven Noyes of Naples Florida.  In April 2011, nine-year old Jane Doe reported that she was sexually and inappropriately touched by her fourth grade teacher Steven Noyes.  Not surprisingly, he denied all allegations and hid in the joy of being the “beloved teacher.”  While the school  initially suspended Noyes, it came out that he was doing report cards, continued official duties and even  communicated with children  and parents during his time on “admin leave.” It smelled of a BS admin leave with no real intention of looking objectively into the facts of the allegations.  The smell got worse when the school seemed to have conducted a shoddy (at best) internal investigation that  resulted not only in Noyes returning to school but culminated in the ultimate blow when principal Ginger Sauter suggested that the child leave the school with zero justification. So, like these other high profile cases the school seemed to practice their same protection for themselves instead of saying “mea cupla, we screwed up, and we are sorry.”

School and institutions have choices.  They can choose to pick denial, minimization and blame and live being more concerned about the institution, the school, and the teacher – or they can stop blaming the victim and protect the victim.

When the institutions protect abusers, they not only are allowing for rampant prolific abuse to continue but are sending the message for victims to stay silent because the adult and institution will always win.  Children are being taught that  horrific,  vile, and abusive behavior is acceptable  and that their words do not matter.

We are here to say victim’s words DO matter.  Their disclosures are critical.  The victim’s voices must be heard and we the growns up cannot be silent.  The fact that we even have to have laws of mandated reporting to order people in positions of trust to report is telling even and of itself.  The fact that those who work with children have to be mandated to tell is just troubling.   Do we really need a law to say “tell.”  Do we need to have laws to say do the right thing and don’t kick the victim out of school too?

We can no longer be silent.  We all have a responsibility to tell whether mandated by  the law or not.  We are the adults – and kids count on us to be vocal and stand up for our victims who will live with this pain for the rest of their lives.   In New York City, buses and subways are covered with billboards that say “When you see something, Say something!” We urge you to REPORT IT!  In workplaces and in the armed services there are hotlines given for anonymous reporting.  Whether duty bound by mandated reporting laws, we the adults should retrain our default to tell and to tell until someone does something.   The more silent you stay, the more children are hurt.

You can make a difference. Report! Advocate! Get involved and most importantly, tell.

Love Our Children USA: Love Our Children USATM is the leading national nonprofit and ‘Go-To’ prevention organization fighting all forms of violence and neglect against children in the U.S. Since 1999, Love Our Children USA has broken ground in preventing violence against children and eliminating behaviors that keep them from reaching their full potential. Love Our Children USA teaches effective parenting solutions and fosters kid success by creating valuable programs that empower positive changes in parenting and family attitudes, bullying and cyberbullying prevention, Internet safety and school violence prevention through public education.    The goal of Love Our Children USA is Keeping Children Safe® and strengthening families. www.loveourchildrenusa.org

PAVE: Promoting Awareness, Victim Empowerment is a multinational nonprofit that uses art, education and grassroots action to shatter the silence of sexual violence. www.ShatteringTheSilence.org

Robin Sax is a Fox 11 legal analyst,  California-based attorney and former sex crimes prosecutor, who has authored six books including It Happens Everyday Inside the Life of a Sex Crimes DA and Predators and Child Molesters:  A Sex Crimes DA Answers 100 of the Most Asked Questions.  http://robinsax.com/.  Robin Sax is a former deputy district attorney for Los Angeles County who specialized in child sexual assault cases. She is the author of Predators and Child Molesters.

Leave a comment »

Penn State Students Riot Over Firing of Football Coach Joe Paterno

         
  

The fact that this story is being written shows us what seems to be more important in the minds of Penn State students – and it’s not the fact that innocent children have been sexually abused and the abuse was covered up. It’s all about money-making college football.

Last night thousands of Penn State students rioted after hearing about the firing of 84 year-old Penn State football coach Joe Paterno. Students screamed and chanted “We want Joe.” They threw rocks and bottles and tipped over a news van.

A 20-year-old junior from Scranton, PA and an 18 year-old freshman from Baltimore told news sources that they thought the decision was a little harsh and said they are just allegations.

Do these students not understand that it is against the law NOT to report child abuse? Are students that immune to horrific and immoral behavior against children, that they would rather see a football coach keep his job?

Do they not understand that child sexual abuse is as bad as it gets? That an adult who took advantage of young boys and took away their very foundation?

What are the parents of the rioters thinking?

There was a witness to the sexual abuse of a 10-year-old boy by coach Jerry Sandusky who told Joe Paterno about the abuse. And many more victims have come forward. Paterno did nothing. He might as well have abused the boys himself.

Paterno, Penn State President Graham Spanier and Penn State have been under great scrutiny since former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky was charged last weekend with 40 counts of sexual abuse of children. I repeat 40 counts of child sexual abuse.

Sandusky was arrested last Saturday on charges that he preyed on boys he met through The Second Mile, a charity he founded for at-risk youths. Two high-ranking Penn State administrators also face charges they lied about knowledge of the crimes to a grand jury.

It’s no mistake that child sexual abusers choose careers that deal with children. The Second Mile began as group foster home to help troubled boys.

The grand jury report Read the grand jury report is startling and portrays the actions of a typical child molester.

As a child advocate for over 20 years, it is appalling enough to read the grand jury report because our weakest ones have been egregiously abused, hurt and taken advantage of. Yet to see young adults take the side of Paterno and riot over his dismissal because football is more important – because Penn State will somehow not be able to go on without Paterno leaves one shaking their head in complete disbelief and anger – because where have we as a society gone wrong with teaching our young adults values and morals?

The behavior of the rioting Penn State students needs discussion, education and awareness. The silence of Joe Paterno and Graham Spanier needs criminal investigation. And the audacious acts of Jerry Sandusky need a trial that will convict him of being the child molester he is.

As far as college football, I don’t really know much about it or care to, but I am told there is quite a bit of money to made from this sport.

We’ve been dealing with corporate greed and now it’s come down to the greed of a football coach who made millions and who kept silent for a football team and a college and allowed young boys to be sexually abused.

What does that say about our society and how can we explain this to our child victims?

Ross Ellis
Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Love Our Children USA

Leave a comment »