Teach Children How to Stay Safe from Sexual Abuse

sadbear

Target: President Barack Obama

Goal: Urge Congress to pass federal law educating children about sexual abuse

One in three girls and one in six boys will be victims of sexual abuse during their childhoods. Erin Merryn is a child sexual abuse survivor and activist who has proposed a bill requiring schools to educate children in a gentle way about what is an appropriate touch and what isn’t. So far Erin’s Law has passed in five states.

Under Erin’s Law, teachers would be required to teach children and parents the clear definition of sexual abuse and how to get away from it. These lessons would include educating about what kind of touching is appropriate and what isn’t, educating about safe and unsafe secrets (don’t let someone touch you and tell you it’s “our little secret”), identifying safe people to talk to if inappropriate touching occurs, providing information to parents about warning signs of sexual abuse, and supplying parents with resources to help abused children.

A task force on the Prevention of Sexual Abuse of Children would also be created in each state under Erin’s Law. The task force would include five members appointed by the governor, one member appointed by the president of the Senate, one member appointed by the Minority Leader of the Senate, one member appointed by the Minority Leader of the House, and one member appointed by the Speaker of the House.

Over 90% of abused children are victimized by someone they know. That person tells them to stay quiet, that it’s “our little secret,” and threatens them if they tell an adult. Very young children don’t necessarily know that they’re not supposed to be touched a certain way by an adult, because they automatically think adults are proper authorities. Please urge President Obama to do all he can to implement Erin’s Law as quickly as possible.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear President Obama,

We are writing to ask you to pass Erin’s Law, which would require schools to warn children about sexual abuse, on a federal level. The law was proposed by sexual abuse survivor and activist Erin Merryn and has passed in five states so far.

Age-appropriate lessons would begin in pre-kindergarten and would teach children about what kind of touching is appropriate and what isn’t, who to talk to if they are abused, how to get away from abusers, and would provide parents with resources to help abused children. Erin’s Law would also include a task force implemented in each state.

Over 90% of abused children are victimized by someone they know. This makes education about sexual abuse especially important, because children intuitively trust adults and need to be taught that this isn’t always the best idea.

Please urge Congress to pass Erin’s Law as soon as possible.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Ulrica Törning via Flickr

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