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Prevent Adult Rape By Preventing Child Abuse

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Maria Fabrizio for NPR

June was a busy month at the Rape Crisis Center in Las Vegas. The Center assisted 32 percent more sexual assault victims than in the same month last year.

In fact – to cite more numbers – the Center has assisted 28 percent more people in the first six months of 2016 than it did in the first six months of 2015. The Center has built a counseling center, which offers one-on-one counseling and support groups.

And it has streamlined its website, to make information easier to get and, perhaps, reporting easier to do.

At the same time, the Center launched a child abuse prevention initiative with Prevent Child Abuse Nevada, called Enough Abuse. The hope is that by preventing child sexual abuse, you prevent people from growing up thinking they have no control over their lives or bodies. They also will understand the difference between what a healthy relationship is and what abuse is. 

This empowerment then lessens the chance that they will be sexually abused in the future.

“Obviously, we will always provide services to victims, but if that’s all we do then we are failing our community,” said Danielle Drietzer, executive director of the Rape Crisis Center of Southern Nevada. 

Support comes from

Drietzer said we hear more about sexual assault on campuses then we do about child sexual abuse, even though it is more common. She said there are a lot of reasons for that. 

“Child sexual abuse remains shrouded in a lot of secrecy and shame for the children,” she said.

Children don't report abuse because they feel it is their fault and many adults around them don't recognize the signs and symptoms of abuse, Drietzer said.

Amanda Haboush Deloye with the Prevent Child Abuse Nevada and the Nevada Institute for Children's Research and Policy at UNLV told KNPR's State of Nevada that Enough Abuse program is intended to educate the community at large about child sexual abuse.

“Ultimately, we want the community to be the responsible ones for protecting children from child sexual abuse,” she said.

The program offers classes for parents, medical providers and youth services personnel.

The classes for parents focus on the types of behaviors child abusers use to gain access and trust. The training for medical providers helps them recognize the signs and symptoms of abuse during a medical checkup. Youth services training is for people who are coaches or youth group leaders to make sure their behaviors are not misconstrued and what to look for when hiring people. 

“This is an issue we have to start talking about as a community, as a culture, as a nation,” Drietzer said.

Drietzer pointed out while a billion dollars is going toward the prevention of the spread of the Zika virus, which although it is a terrible virus has impacted only a few thousand people in the United States, no where near that amount has been spent on preventing child sexual abuse, which impacts millions of children. 

From Desert Companion: Seeds of Change

Guests

Danielle Drietzer, the executive director, Rape Crisis Center of Southern Nevada; Amanda Haboush Deloye, Prevent Child Abuse Nevada and the Nevada Institute for Children’s Research and Policy at UNLV

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