abuse is a real problem
While people might like to think sexual child abuse is not happening
in our community, according to a recent local survey, that is
not the case.
The Ripley County Prevent Child Abuse group took an opinion survey
at the Ripley County 4-H Fair, where 15 out of 58 people said
child abuse is not a problem in the community. However, when asked
if anyone in their family had been affected by child abuse, child
sexual abuse or neglect, 26 out of those same 58 people said,
The reality of child abuse in whatever form is something people
like Frank and Paula Goodpaster are trying to make people aware
of and better yet, teach how it can be prevented.
A group met at the Versailles Community Church where Sandra Runkle
from the Indiana Prevent Child Abuse organization presented a
powerful training called Darkness to Light. The event
was organized by the Goodpasters.
Darkness to Light is a curriculum which was developed and produced
by Stewards for Children, a non-profit ministry developed in response
to a serial sexual child abuse case that came to light in Charleston,
According to the literature presented, the program is an international
non-profit organization that seeks to protect children from sexual
abuse by placing responsibility squarely on adult shoulders. They
educate adults to prevent, recognize, and react responsibly to
child sexual abuse.
While a small number of people took advantage of this training
session, it is the hope of the organizers that more will become
interested in how they can help to slow, or better yet, stop the
growing epidemic of child abuse.
Any adult is eligible for the training which can be offered through
Ripley County PCA. Parents are ideal candidates for the training
along with anyone who works with children in schools, churches,
businesses and sports activities.
Frank Goodpaster noted that it is typical that many churches just
do not tend to address such matters as sexual child abuse. The
Goodpasters pastor the Upper Room Fellowship at Napoleon.
It is the belief of the Ripley County PCA that if five percent
of the community were trained on the subject, it would be the
tipping point to making the community safer for children. The
Goodpasters believe as adults become more aware of this issue,
it would help change our culture.
Darkness to Light provided some startling statistics that should
motivate any adult to action. They include but are not limited
It is highly likely that you know a child who has been
or is being sexually abused.
Experts estimate that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are
sexually abused before their 18th birthdays.
1 in 5 children are sexually solicited while on the Internet.
Nearly 70% of all reported sexual assaults, including those
on adults, occur to children ages 17 and under.
The median age for reported sexual abuse is 9 years old.
Most child victims never report the abuse.
Sexually abused children who keep it a secret or who tell
and are not believed may be at greater risk than the general population
for psychological, emotional, social, and physical problems often
lasting into adulthood.
An estimated 39 million survivors of sexual abuse exist
The greatest risk to children doesnt come from strangers
but from friends and family.
More than 90% of children who are sexually abused know
People who abuse children look and act just like everyone
else. In fact, they often go out of their way to appear trustworthy
to gain access to children.
Young girls who are sexually abused are more likely to
develop eating disorders during adolescence.
Victims of child sexual abuse report more post traumatic
stress disorder, sadness, and problems at school.
Victims of sexual abuse have more physical health problems.
Approximately 70% of sexual offenders of children have
between 1 and 9 victims. 20-25% have 10 to 40 victims.
Serial child molesters may have as many as 400 victims
in their lifetimes.
While these arent the complete list of statistics given,
they are enough to raise a red flag of concern.
According to Barbara Bowling, office director of the Indiana Department
of Child Services, in Ripley County alone, there were 67 reported
cases of sexual abuse during 2009. Of those 67 cases, 31 were
substantiated. This means that there was a preponderance of the
evidence that the abuse did occur. Thirty-three cases were unsubstantiated
and three cases were indicated. Indicated cases means that there
was not enough evidence to support the allegations, but there
was concern that the abuse could have occurred.
Community members can make a difference. If you suspect sexual
child abuse or any other kind of abuse directed at a child, dont
hesitate. Call the Abuse Hotline at 1-800-800-5556 or your local
For more information about the Darkness to Light program you can
contact the Goodpasters at 812-212-8407. Paula asked the simple
yet complex question, What would our community be like if
we were able to eradicate sexual child abuse?