Their concern was that the evidence of childhood sexual abuse within the Boy Scouts would make the organization ‘look bad”. Their concern was grossly misplaced. Instead of recognizing the betrayal of the children in their care for what it was, yet another organization chose to protect their reputation over the well being of children.
The Boy Scouts of America were recently forced to release thousands of files showing that they protected more than 5000 sexual abusers. As the details emerged, we all sat in horror realizing the enormous numbers of young people represented: children who were sexually abused under the watch of those whose job is supposed to include protecting our children.
The Catholic Church, Penn State, and now new evidence of the enormity of the Boy Scout cover-up. When will our society take a firm stand to stop this? When will we, as a country, begin to value the safety of our children over the reputations of our once-revered organizations?
The problem is two-fold. It begins with society’s traditionally blind respect for authority figures. We must pull off the blinders. It is time for everyone to realize that people who are sexually excited by children are known to seek out positions where they can interact with them. We rarely run sufficient background checks on these whom we permit to be in close contact with our children. We must allow this legitimate concern to occupy space in our collective psyche and stop blindly respecting those in positions of authority.
Likewise, it is time to stop teaching our children that same blind respect for those in positions of authority. Pederasts inhabit our homes, our schools, our churches and our extracurricular programs. Yet we are missing one of our greatest possible defenses against enabling those who would harm our youth: we must empower our children to say ‘no’ and to tell us when something untoward occurs. Children have great instincts: they know when something isn’t ‘right’. Studies show that children as young as 4 know the difference between ‘creepy’ adult touch and appropriate touch. Yet studies have also shown that only a quarter of youth who are sexually abused tell an adult within a year of the first occurrence.
Five years ago, we started a nonprofit to change this. The primary mission of JustTell is to empower youth to speak up if they are being sexually abused. But for this mission to succeed, adults must become willing to hear, and act on, what children say. For too long sexual abusers have kept our children quiet with phrases like ‘no one will believe you’. Teach our children otherwise. Teach them that if anyone does something to them that makes them uncomfortable, they can tell you and you will believe them and act on their disclosure. That is the only way we are going to stop this horrific epidemic.
Vivian Farmery, MSW
Founder and Director, JustTell
Team JustTell starts our run on the Warped Tour this week! For the first time ever, we are putting THREE Teams out! Team I will do 4 Warped Shows in California, Team II will do 2 shows in the Midwest, and Team III will attempt to do the entire East Coast run...14 shows! We hope to do 20 shows which would enable us to educate and empower up to 100,000 young people about how and why they need to speak up and tell an adult they trust if they are being sexually abused.
We have been working really hard designing new information cards, stickers, wristbands, necklaces, Backpacks and shirts! We'll be selling them all on Warped and very soon they will also be for sale online on our website! Check back on www.JustTell/
We appreciate all those who donated to make our summer outreach possible!!!! THANK YOU!! We havent yet matched the full $5,000 grant, but we are hoping people will still donate to make all 20 shows possible!!
So Tweet to us @JustTell, share our posts at Facebook.com/JustTell and come see us if you are out on Warped!!!
Here's a list of the shows we hope to be on:
6/21 Irvine, CA
6/22 Pomona, CA
6/24 Ventura, CA
6/27 Chula Vista, CA
7/5 Maryland Heights, MO
7/9 Bonner Springs, KS
7/13 Holmdel, NJ
7/18 Scranton, PA
7/19 Mansfield, MA
7/20 Camden, NJ
7/21 Uniondale, NY
7/22 Hartford, CT
7/24 Columbia, MD
7/25 Virginia Beach, VA
7/26 Atlanta, GA
7/27 Orlando, FL
7/28 West Palm Beach, FL
7/29 St Petersburg, FL
7/30 Charlotte, NC
Thank you all who have supported our work ...and if you havent yet, please consider making a donation! Every bit helps and each show costs about $500 to attend.
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JustTell Launched our first 18 Street Teams in 2009...and as of December, 2011 we now have over 135 Teams in 38 States!
Our teen volunteers are really impressive! Their enthusiasm, commitment and positive spirit have helped get the word out to thousands of kids.
More teens are standing by - waiting for their packages of hand out materials so they can spread the word! Currently there are 9 new Street Teams ready to launch! Can you help us supply them with handout materials?
Each team is made up of 3 to 5 teen volunteers who learn about JustTell through our Website, our Facebook page, our MySpace page, our Twitter account or....our Street Teams!
In 2009 JustTell began sending Teams to all-day concerts like the Bamboozle Festival and the Van's Warped Tour. In 2010 and again in 2011 we attended 8 shows of the Van's Warped Tour. In Summer 2012, with YOUR help, we hope to go cross country with the Tour!
We reach over 5000 kids at each Show we attend. With your help we could reach 100,000 kids in 2012!