April was Child Abuse Prevention (CAP) month, and the national symbol for this effort is a pinwheel. I love this symbol: it’s whimsical, playful, and a reminder of the innocence and tenderness of childhood. That is what we’re striving to protect. And yet, each year, we hear more stories of organizations, big and small, that enable trauma among hundreds of youth at least in part because they do not want to, or are unable to, recognize child sexual abuse. I feel disgusted, angry, and grieved when I learn about yet another instance of high-profile abuse. I notice those feelings, but I also choose not to stay in those moods for long. I focus on what we are working toward: thriving children and families. This is truly at the core of what we do here at Interface. Here is just some of what we’ve been doing to stand up for our children:
We are spreading awareness within our organization by:
- Decorating our virtual offices with themed Zoom backgrounds and email signatures.
- Having a company agency-wide pledge campaign where everyone is encouraged to share a pledge of “I will help prevent child abuse by…” and then sharing that on Interface’s social media.
- Inviting our family members to take the pledge as well and think about how they too can contribute to the prevention of child abuse.
- We created an opportunity for our team members to participate in arts and crafts activities such as a CAP month-themed coloring page and pinwheel craft to bring the conversation home and start conversations within our families and communities about child abuse prevention.
We are spreading awareness in our community on social media:
- We created a social media campaign to educate the community on statistics and facts around sexual abuse and sexual assault.
- We are using hashtags such as #pinwheelsforprevention or #CAPM2021 to gain attention to our posts as part of the national conversation.
We are educating children directly:
- Year-round, our prevention team puts on different presentations to our schools and our youth with the “My Body Belongs to Me” program. We give age-appropriate presentations to PreK-5th grade students about body safety and personal boundaries, teaching them to feel educated and empowered about keeping their bodies safe.
- We are creating prevention tactics for teens to educate them on the practice of consent. They learn that consent is the presence of a “yes!” not the absence of a “no.” Check out some of the messaging around that below.
So, what can you do? As always, you can take these messages to the children and families in your life. Know the warning signs of abuse and be willing to have hard conversations. Remember: If you see something, say something. There is no such thing as overreacting to potential warning signs of child abuse. Call 211 if you are seeking resources or, if you see abuse of any kind happening in the moment, call 911. You can also support our programs. Your donations support us going into schools to educate children and teens on how to successfully resist abuse and how to seek help to prevent it from happening again.
Thank you for your passionate support in joining with us,