About 80 percent of the substantiated acts of child abuse and neglect in Indiana are committed by parents or family members.
Perpetrators constantly cite lack of parenting skills and support as the primary reason for their abusive behaviors.
Yet, we continue to ignore the overwhelming need to better prepare parents and caregivers. We must make policy and systemic changes that value children and strengthen families — we cannot wait for someone else to do it.
If we work together to change the way society values and supports the well-being of children and families, and if we can change the cultural attitude to ensure that healthy, safe and nurturing experiences are supported by the actions of every individual and every community, then “preventing child abuse” no longer describes simply the “cause” we each support, but rather, it begins to describe the “effect” of all we do together.
The observance of Child Abuse Prevention Month in April reminds us all of our collective responsibility to make positive choices that will affect the safety and well-being of our children.
Beyond the choices we make every day to assure our own children and the children we know receive nurturing, loving experiences every day, we can make choices that will affect change at the governmental and community level on the systems that support healthy community and family development.
Child abuse and neglect robs so many of our society’s children of their childhood and their sense of security and well-being.
And while no one can do everything, everyone can do something. And together, we can do anything.
Together, we can advocate for policies and programs that support healthy families and children.
Together, we can live in a prosperous society that understands and genuinely values the well-being of children.
Together, we can prevent child abuse.
It is, however, up to each of us — not someone else — to make a difference in the life of a child.
We must hold policymakers, elected officials and ourselves accountable for being informed, being involved and being dedicated to preventing child abuse before any pain is inflicted on another child.
And while April is recognized nationally as Child Abuse Prevention Month, every day should be about preventing child abuse.
Preventing child abuse is possible if, collectively and individually, we make the right choices and changes for our children — Indiana’s future.
President, NET — Nurture*Engage*Transform, a Monroe County Chartered Council of Prevent Child Abuse Indiana
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I have always had a special affinity for art in places where art “isn’t supposed to be.” Certainly, most of us enjoy an afternoon browsing a gallery or museum, but there is something really nice about finding art in unexpected places.
I was pleased to see Matthew Cinkoske's recent column about domestic violence at IU — "Is IU mishandling student domestic violence?" June 14, 2015.
I would like to bring to the attention of the IDS the fact that harassment of disabled students occurs regularly at IU Bloomington. I personally know of physically impaired students who have been harassed in Ballantine Hall for taking the elevator up or down one floor. And they aren’t just harassed by fellow students; faculty and staff are guilty, too. Just because someone looks healthy, doesn’t mean that they are. Invisible disabilities are any of a number of chronic conditions that significantly impair normal activities of daily living while showing no outward signs of the illness. I also know of a physically impaired student who was made fun of recently for riding a scooter in Forest Residence Center. This is a student who can barely walk—and only for short distances—and only when feeling physically up to it. This same student was also harassed in the Forest parking lot by someone who didn’t think a handicap parking space should be used by a disabled student, even though the appropriate IU parking permit was displayed in the car. Harassment may be reported to the IU Incident Teams at (812) 855-8188 or firstname.lastname@example.org. I mention these incidents because they happened to students I know. And if they can happen to them, they can happen to anyone. I ask the entire campus community: How would you feel if someone you cared about was ridiculed or harassed because they had a disability? How does it feel to learn that members of the campus community, whether you know them or not, have to deal with harassment at IU Bloomington on a daily basis? I urge us all to think before speaking, show some Hoosier compassion, and offer to help instead of contributing to an intolerant environment. I also urge the IDS to investigate and report on the harassment of disabled students on this campus. As an IU alumna, IU employee, and IU parent, I hate to think of Indiana University’s reputation being tarnished by charges of harassment of any kind. Melissa Thorne Bloomington