Technology makes accessible all kinds of information that's useful in helping people. Today, satellite video technology, opens the doors for people who must deal with childhood sexual abuse to hear from professionals in distant locations how to prevent it, recognize it and help victims of it.
The video conference at 11:30 a.m. in the ICC/Tupelo Technology Education Building (the first of three sessions) is sponsored by the National Children's Advocacy Center, whose sole focus is on bettering the lives of America's children, especially when they are put in high-risk situations. Dr. Linda Chidester, who is a physician at the Mantachie Clinic and Advocacy Center, is the area coordinator. The conference is expected to attract laypersons as well as professionals who deal with the victims and with the perpetrators. It will cost $48 for each of three sessions at the ICC/Tupelo Technology Building.
A second conference later this month "Stop the Hurt" will focus on the same topic over two days at the Ramada Convention Center. That conference is underwritten by CREATE Foundation.
Child sexual abuse for too long remained hidden as a crime and held as a dark, dirty secret by many victims. A dramatic shift in public and family attitudes, especially during the last 10 years, has helped bring the crime out of dark corners and bring justice and healing to victims.
A professional counselor at the Region III Mental Health Mental Health Center said Thursday shedding light on child sexual abuse is positive. The counselor said there's a parallel with the rise in reporting of sexual abuse crimes and the reporting of rape by adult women.
"Victims and their families have decided they won't take it any more," the counselor said.
The counselor said the methods used to help victims have improved with the increase in reported cases. He said the shame has been shifted to where it belongs to the perpetrators. The counselor said the best part of the progress is that victims can move on and live happy, normal lives after confronting and dealing with what happened to them.
Information about the conference today is available by calling 601-282-4226 and about the CREATE-sponsored conference by calling 601-844-8989.
People with direct knowledge of child sexual abuse should report it to law enforcement professionals, professional counselors or people who can be trusted to start the process of healing and justice.