What Parents Can Learn From Penn State Scandal


The media is on fire with discussions about the Penn State University sexual abuse unfolding before our eyes in central Pennsylvania. While we don’t know the outcome of this story yet, we do know that child sexual abuse happens everyday. While difficult for most of us to talk about, it’s something that we should all be aware of, actively trying to prevent, and educating our children about.

As we are learning through the case at Penn State, it is critical that suspicions of child abuse be reported to the proper authorities. While making a phone call (to the police department, 911, or local child protection agency) to report abuse can feel embarrassing and uncomfortable, it is crucial that law enforcement have as much information as possible.

Some facts about childhood sexual abuse:

  •  Most children are abused by someone they know and trust; boys are more likely than girls to be abused outside of the family.
  • Some CDC research has estimated that approximately 1-in-6 boys and 1-in-4 girls are sexually abused before the age of 18.
  • Most mental health and child protection professionals agree that child sexual abuse is not uncommon and is a serious problem in the United States.

If you have family members of friends dealing with the pain of childhood sexual abuse, there are many resources available, including:

Fore more thoughts on how to help families learn from the situation at Penn State, check out my post on Dr. Stephanie

Photo by .Dianna. (via flickr)

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6 Responses to “What Parents Can Learn From Penn State Scandal”

  1. Sandra Kleven   November 10, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    Many parents have been guided through the “prevention” conversation with THE RIGHT TOUCH: A Read-aloud story to Help Prevent Child Sexual Abuse. In this picture book a mom talks to her son – covering important prevention information. First and foremost, is presenting the fact that sexual abuse happens, that it’s not okay, and it is important to tell if something happens. Without such knowledge, children have no defense when a perpetrator says it’s a special secret, the everyone doe it and that they must not tell anyone. The language used in the book was developed over a five year period when the text was presented as a play. Much audience feedback led to revisions and a book that has won national awards.