What Do These People Have in Common?

Can you guess what the following famous and not-so-famous people have in common?:

All of the above people are guilty of child sex abuse. Regardless of gender, level of fame, religion, title, and geography, they all abused boys and girls.

Cry Baby by wan mohd via FlickrSadly, in the US, one in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused by the time they reach their 18th birthday, according to the Centers for Disease Control! Like the perpetrators of this horrible crime, the victims come from all walks of life.

So, why am I telling you this on a blog dedicated to nonprofit management, marketing, and fundraising?

Let me explain.

I’m a former member of the board of directors of the Philadelphia Children’s Alliance, so this month, National Child Abuse Prevention Month, is particularly meaningful to me. To mark the occasion every year, I devote one blog post that will help you protect your loved ones from the nightmare crime of child sex abuse. Fortunately, we can do something about this national tragedy.

First, we need to recognize that child sex abusers are difficult to spot. Warnings of “stranger-danger” are inadequate because over 90 percent of abusers are not strangers; they are someone in the child’s circle of trust. Abusers can be men or women, famous or not famous, leaders or average individuals, city dwellers or rural residents, Americans or non-Americans. To help you better understand and recognize child molesters, read my post: “Can You Spot a Child Molester? Discover the Warning Signs.”

Second, learn what easy steps you can take to keep children safe. The experts at the Philadelphia Children’s Alliance have prepared a list of 10 things you can do. You can find the list in my post: “10 Essential Tips to Protect Children from Real Monsters.” You can find more tips in my post: “And Now for Something Completely Different.”

Third, consider supporting your local child advocacy center. CACs bring justice and healing to the victims of child sex abuse. For more information and/or to donate to the National Children’s Alliance, click here.

Fourth, as the Oscar-winning movie Spotlight observes, child sex abuse is a crime that exists in the shadows. The more light we shine on it, the safer children will be. So, I encourage you to talk with others about child sex abuse and what can be done to prevent it.

Fifth, I encourage you to share this post with others. As adults, it’s our collective responsibility to keep children safe. If we don’t take action to prevent abuse, we’re accomplices. So, I urge you to take action today to protect your loved ones and share the information I’ve presented so that others may do the same.

Will you help?

That’s what Michael Rosen says… What do you say?

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8 Comments to “What Do These People Have in Common?”

  1. Thank you for this important message! In my role as a major gift officer I had an unfortunate discovery yesterday. A guy I reached out to for a visit had not followed up yet. I had met him before and talked to him on the phone last month. Knowing we often work with an older population, I decided to Google him for a possible obituary. I did not find that…but I found his sex offender registry information (for an apparent child related crime). Needless to say, I was appalled and nauseated. An unfortunate reminder that predators can truly come from any walk of life.

    • Terri, thank you for sharing your story. As you experienced, predators usually do not look like predators. If they did, they would not be very successful predators; we’d know to steer clear of them. Being able to recognize predators in our personal lives is certainly a challenge. It’s also a challenge for us professionally. How much background research should a charity do on a donor before accepting a gift? Does the amount of effort and evaluation depend on the size of the gift? What would trigger a charity not accepting a gift? These are just some of the questions that organizations should attempt to answer in their gift acceptance policies.

  2. Thank you for your commitment to keeping children safe and for adding this post to your blog. None of us is one-dimensional; I appreciate learning of this side of you and applaud your effort to shine a light on something that is most often kept in the shadows.

  3. Thank you, Michael. Brave. Bold. Timely. Keep up the good work.

  4. Wow, how great that you wrote this post! I just happened to see Spotlight this weekend, amazing. I’m horrified-beyond horrified-at the Dennis Hastert case. Also-sad and scary and also just beyond to note the Rabbi and Priest [and of course there are so many others among these and other clergy]. The key is sensing something and saying something. Thank you for helping to protect the children.

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