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Be a parent, not a friend

For more than a week, news of child sex abuse has dominated headlines, and believe it or not, it’s nothing new.

Most officials would say the prevalence of child sexual abuse (CSA) is difficult to determine because it is often not reported; experts agree that the incidence is far greater than what is reported to authorities.

However, the Crimes Against Children Research Center reports:
• 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 20 boys is a victim of child sexual abuse;
• Over the course of their lifetime, 28 percent of U.S. youth ages 14 to 17 had been sexually victimized; and,
• Children are most vulnerable to CSA between the ages of 7 and 13.

Those numbers should make us scared. They should also make want to take a proactive approach to talking with our youth about the subject. And be mindful of what they’re doing and who they’re talking to online.
Monica Donohoe, a Brewton native and psychotherapist, said it right when she said, “Tell yourself and your kids that when there is a choice between their privacy and their safety, you will always choose their safety. Eyes will roll and you may be accused of overreacting, but I can assure you that your kids will know you love them.”