COLUMBUS Ga. – Darkness to Light is a non-profit organization that created “Stewards of Children” workbook, so that teachers, faculty and staff could learn more information on how to prevent, recognize and react to children who have been victims of sexual abuse.
Bobbi Starr, the Youth Lead of Set Free Columbus, says the number of sex crimes in our area has increased significantly.
“Atlanta was on the top 10 of cities trafficking children and that was in 2009. Now Atlanta is one of the number one cities for the trafficking of children. Anywhere from 300 to 500 children are trafficked monthly in the state of Georgia,” said Starr.
Starr went before the School Board on Monday armed with the current sex trafficking statistics in our area and she also outlined Darkness to Light’s, “Stewards of Children” prevention training program, which includes a DVD and online training course.
Dr. Brett Murphy-Dawson, a psychiatrist, says that 70 to 90 percent of children who have experienced commercial sexual exploitation have previously been sexually abused.
“Once someone is sexually abused, they start to see their body as a sex object. So they become more vulnerable to being taken advantage of again,” said Murphy-Dawson.
David Hughes, the Headmaster at Emanuel Preparatory School of Math and Science says it’s a requirement for faculty and staff to go through the sexual abuse training.
“As an educator it’s important that we know how to best support our students in every way, so if a student is experiencing things in the home or within their family or community, it’s best that we know how to support them,” said Hughes.
Dr. Brett Murphy-Dawson says, 1 in 10 children are sexually abused before their eighteenth birthday and 90% of people that are abused, are abused by someone they know.
So what signs should adults and educators look out for?
“They may act out and be hype-rsexual in their behaviors, they tend to be more aggressive, they tend to have decreased academic achievements and they score less on the memory assessments,” said Murphy-Dawson.
If you or anyone you know are experiencing sexual abuse, call 911 or contact the Children’s Tree House.