BOISE, Idaho – Simone Biles and other American gymnasts face sexual abuse in their sport, most notably during a Senate Judiciary Committee this month. Now, with sports returning to school, advocates for preventing sexual abuse want people to think about prevention methods closer to home.
Roger Sherman is the Executive Director of the Idaho Children’s Trust Fund, a state affiliate of Prevent Child Abuse America. He says preventing abuse is not so much about finding predators as it is about minimizing the opportunities that attackers might have.
âThe important thing that we have to recognize is that this is entirely preventable,â Sherman said. “But we have to put systems in place to make sure that if there are predators, they are not able to take advantage of the children – our children.”
There are some protections in place for young athletes, including the Safe Sport Authorization Act, which was passed in 2017 in response to the USA Gymnastics sexual abuse scandal surrounding team doctor Larry Nassar.
But Sherman noted that parents can go further. He said they should ask teams and schools how they approach abuse prevention, noting that his organization and other state organizations provide education and training.
âThe kind of training that we think is important in preventing child sexual abuse is learning the facts first,â Sherman said. “The second is to minimize the opportunity. The third is to be prepared to talk about it.”
Sherman said the abuse can be debilitating, leaving lasting scars for those who are abused.
âYou can heal, and that’s important to know,â Sherman said. âBut it’s better if that never happens, and that’s really our job as adults. That’s what our job as parents is. You know, our job is to pose the right ones. questions and making sure the adults responsible for our children are doing the right thing. “
Source: Northern Rockies Press Service