Letters to the Editor

Help prevent abuse

In the wake of the Penn State scandal, it is important to maintain awareness that the sex offender is typically someone the child knows and trust. In most cases, the offender is able to groom the child by lowering the child's resistance and defenses. This is easily accomplished because children are not emotionally or socially developed to differentiate between kindness and potential deviancy.

The incidence of child abuse should be viewed as a public health problem as it affects the community on different levels -- medically, socially, financially, legally and emotionally. In terms of a public health problem, the most effective approach for reducing risk are intervention, prevention and treatment.

The Tri-Cities Exchange Club is a volunteer organization made up of a few dedicated individuals whose primary goal is child-abuse prevention. The club's fundraising efforts provide some support to the Support, Advocacy & Resource Center (SARC) for educational programs and new members are welcome.

A community approach is an effective way to prevent child sexual abuse. The affects of abuse are long lasting on the victim from the standpoint of betrayal of trust, intimacy problems, traumatic sexualization and general damage to self-esteem and self-worth.

Let's us work together as a community to provide a safe environment for our children. The burden for this is on the adults.

MICHAEL HENRY, Richland

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