I have spent a significant part of my career working to stop sexual violence. I do this difficult work by treating men, women, boys and girls who have sexually abused children in our community. When I read about Jerry Sandusky, it showed me people continue to have stereotypes about individuals who sexually abuse, and the characteristics of this case really challenge those stereotypes.
As the country watches the case unfold, I urge parents, families, and organizations to talk about what they need to do to make our communities safer for children. I urge adults to find ways to get involved and learn the scope of sexual abuse. We know it takes a lot of strength to come forward. We can imagine that we would have done everything we could to protect these children. Now we have the opportunity to learn from this experience. We dont have to wait.
Start with opening the lines of communication. We can ask our church, synagogue, schools and other organizations if they have policies to protect children, if staff is aware of these policies, and if they know how to implement them on a day-to-day basis. Lets use the Sandusky trial as a rallying point to act and to begin conversations with every local organization about what we can all do to make our communities safer for our children and teens.
The writer is the former director of the Sex Offender Treatment Program at St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center, Ogdensburg.