Stoughton Schools Admin/Faculty Participate in Childhood Sexual Abuse Prevention Training
Stoughton Schools staff recently had the chance to attend a Darkness to Light workshop, which is dedicated to teaching adults simple, pro-active steps to help protect children from sexual abuse.
Stoughton Public Schools administrators, nurses and coaches recently partnered with the YMCA-sponsored Darkness to Light Childhood Sexual Abuse Prevention Program.
Darkness to Light, a non-profit organization dedicated to teaching adults simple, pro-active steps to help protect children from sexual abuse, is not widely known in the Northeast. The Old Colony Y and Certified Instructor Susan Komisar Hausman are ensuring that will change.
As Hausman says, “We are aiming high, looking to train 5% of the adult population in those 31 communities [part of the Old Colony YMCA] in child sexual abuse prevention. That means about 10,000 adults.”
It has been said that sexual abuse is a community problem and Hausman, with the support of the Y and other youth organizations, is taking it head on.
March 5th’s training began with Hausman explaining that Darkness to Light is “currently the only third party evidenced based [program] to train adults to recognize the signs of childhood sexual abuse.”
The two and a half hour training consisted of a video presentation interwoven with group discussions.
The video cited many alarming statistics, such as:
- 1 in every 4 girls/1 in 6 boys are sexually abused by their 18th birthday
- The median age of sexual abuse is 9
- 30-40% are abused by family members
- 60% are abused by someone they know
These statistics and poignant testimonials of adult survivors visibly moved the group.
Hausman noted. “I see a lot of sobering faces, but this [training] will empower you.”
Throughout the facilitated discussions, Hausman reminded the administrators, coaches and nurses before her to, “Match your actions with your intentions.” Cautioning that while, “we [Darkness to Light] don’t want people to become paranoid, we want to raise consciousness.”
Hausman went on to urge her trainees to have, what she calls, “Relentless Compassion,” saying, “if you love kids you are going to stay the course.”
“An overwhelming percent of the people who work in schools [and with children] have great intentions. We want to make sure that kids are first when we create policies,” Hausman said.
The video was not all scare tactics by any means, and served to highlight the benefits of one-on-one time with children, stating, “Some of the best learning opportunities happen one-on-one but they don’t have to happen behind closed doors.”
SHS Principal Matt Colantonio, piggybacked on the video’s sentiments, “There are steps that can be taken to minimize opportunity. It’s for everyone’s protection that we [Stoughton Schools] have shared best practices...we try to limit one-on-one contact.”
Assistant High School Principal Hope Fernandes shared that the training moved her so much that she has already spoken with the Assistant Superintendent, Jonathan Ford, to make Darkness to Light a professional development requirement for all staff.
Hausman ended the training by asserting, “We don’t want to eliminate the mentor relationships, we just want to minimize the possibility of abuse.”
Hausman, a Darkness to Light Facilitator since 2006, is currently a D2L Certified Instructor and YMCA Consultant. She is also a published author and Illustrator. Her book, Kisses From Dolce, A Book for About Children About Trusting and Telling, provides both parents and caregivers an age appropriate resource to open up lines of communication with children. Also included in the book are follow up questions to guide the parent or caregiver through ongoing dialogue.
To learn more about the Darkness to Light training, organization or the YMCA initiative on a whole, Hausman encourages you to contact her at KissesFromDolce@gmail.com or 781-264-0181.