Preventing Child Sexual Abuse

Child abuse can happen in any family—but how can it be prevented?

The Oasis Family Recourse Center in Cadillac is working to raise awareness and keep it from happening locally by educating the community during the Month of April, National Child Abuse Prevention Month.

It all started with the first event on Tuesday, where people walked the streets of Cadillac and planting pinwheels

Amber Herlein, executive director of the Oasis Family Recourse Center, says some ways to prevent child sexual abuse include teaching consent not only to sex, but also to human touch in general.

“Consent goes two ways, we often miss that,” Herlein says. “Teaching you have autonomy over your body. So even my own kiddos sometimes tell me no, I don’t want you to hug and kiss me, and even though that hurts me, I’m really proud that they can say no and give permission to who touches their body and who doesn’t.”

Herlein says the other piece of consent that often gets missed is asking permission to touch someone—even for something innocent like hugs and kisses between family members.

Something else that doesn’t help is disbelief.

When someone comes forward and says they were sexually abused, Herlein says it’s important to have their back.

“One in two women report, experience some level of sexual violence in their life,” Herlein says. “That’s staggering. And 80 percent of the time it’s someone they know…it’s common when people come forward they are not believed.”

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