Saturday, May 04, 2013

The CAC....

Some of you will already know, that since moving to NW Arkansas, I have been working as a volunteer at the CAC...

What is the CAC? I hear you ask...

The CAC is the Children's Advocacy Center, and it is a non-profit organisation (that means it's a charity for my non-US readers) that works to help victims of child abuse. In most cases this is sexual abuse, and from what I am learning, a huge proportion of victims are under the age of 12...male and female...
When I sit and think about the statistics it makes me sick to the pit of my stomach, so I try not to sit and think...

I have had a interest in helping victims of abuse for a long time now. My Mum said that she thought it was a wonderful thing to do, but one that would incredibly difficult for me personally to switch off from. I knew what she meant when she said it. Before moving to the US, I worked as a Nursery Nurse in a private Day Nursery - I loved every one of the children I looked after there - even the challenging ones, sometimes I loved the challenging ones even more, simply because they were so challenging. I still stay in touch with several parents of children I used to care for, and I love seeing photos of how they are growing into wonderful little people, and hearing about things that they have achieved. I am still very attached to those children...

Being at the CAC is different though. I see lots of files and lots of names - especially at the moment while we are needing to move files into archives because there is not enough room in the overflowing filing cabinets for more cases. I do not read the files, it is not my place and it is not what I am there for....

I see beautiful young children come in and out of the CAC, and I say hello and sometimes we chat about this and that, and I am in awe at the resilience of each one of these children. They are victims of some pretty horrendous stuff, and yet here they are smiling and laughing and dealing with their issues the way adults are so often expected to and cannot. I am in awe of these children....Their strength and resilience amazes me....The work of the staff at the CAC amazes me...

What shocks me to the core though, is that these children have been abused in the first place! What kind of sick do you have to be to want to do such vile things to an innocent child? It is just beyond my comprehension....

The other thing that shocks me is that here in the US, which many people believe is the greatest nation on the planet - they do not teach children about this stuff in schools. There seems to be no safeguarding teaching in place at all? In England, that teeny tiny country that seems to amuse so many Americans, so much, child are taught about abuse from the moment they start school at 4½ years old. Before you ask, no they are not taught a class in how to avoid being abused. They have 'circle time' and during this time they may listen to a story about 'secrets' and how a good secret would be not telling Mummy what present you have bought her for her birthday next week, and how a bad secret is something that someone tells you to keep after doing something that makes you feel really uncomfortable. They may use circle time to talk about things that make us feel really uncomfortable and what we can do to stop them happening, they may talk about who to talk to if a child thinks something bad is happening to them or to someone they know....

It isn't rock science, and if a teeny little country like England can do it, I am damned sure a huge great enormous one like the US can too! It's about time people didn't just get sad about what is happening to children in our world, but got angry, and did something to stop it from happening. Child abusers are empowered by their ability to stay hidden, so really the only way to stop them from staying hidden is to educate our children about abuse and show them where they can go and who they can tell...

There is enough talk going on in the US about gun control - isn't it about time there was enough talk going on in the US about child abuse. It is one area where talk need not be cheap - where the ability to talk can actually make a difference...

Reading through this now, I can see that perhaps my Mum was right after all....I do find it incredibly difficult not to become too involved - but surely that is the point! People need to become too involved in order to help do something to make a change!

There are Child Advocacy Centers all across the US - Can you do something to help them raise awareness of child abuse in your area? The pinwheel has been adopted as the symbol of Awareness of Child Abuse, but I bet there are more people in this country who do not understand it as such than know what it means. Is there something you can do to help bring that awareness to others?

You don't need to do anything that involves donating money - you just need to help raise awareness about what is being done to our children and want it to stop!

You can find out more about the National Children's Advocacy Center - Here
and more about the CAC of Benton County - Here

Have a wonderful day



1 comment:

  1. I have been so out of touch with the blog world...you moved to Arkansas?!

    ReplyDelete

Thanx for stopping by and for taking the time to leave a comment. I love reading what you think of my posts.

Lou :-)