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Providing Resources To Prevent Abuse

By Adriana Ramelli, executive director, Sex Abuse Treatment Center

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. The Sex Abuse Treatment Center (SATC), a program of Kapi’olani Medical Center for Women & Children, is using the campaign to focus on preventing child sexual abuse.

Last year, 60 percent of survivors served by our center were under age 18; the youngest child was 12 months old. It is very common for children to know the person who harmed them. In 90 percent of our child sexual abuse cases, the child knew the abuser. Many children do not report the abuse because they are scared, threatened, or tricked into secrecy. When parents talk to their children about safe and unsafe touching, it helps children identify abusive situations, and motivates them to tell a parent should abuse occur.

Adriana Ramelli

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Adriana Ramelli

SATC’s website, satchawaii.org, offers a powerful 12-minute video, Preventing Child Sexual Abuse: Let’s Talk About It, as well as other sexual abuse prevention resources that can be viewed or downloaded free of charge.

In the video, made possible through a grant from the Hawai’i Children’s Trust Fund, survivors Janelle and Allicyn share their personal experiences with sexual abuse and provide insights on how adults can protect children. Clinical psychologist Sherrie Takushi-Isara from SATC and detective Jim Maurer from HPD’s Sex Crimes Detail provide facts about this serious crime, explain how to respond if a child discloses sexual abuse and give prevention tips.

SATC’s online Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Toolkit includes a wealth of information, including how to dialogue with your child about personal safety, and warning signs of abuser behavior. It also includes the “Let’s Talk About Touching” coloring book, downloadable “My Body is Special” sing-along songs, educational posters and more.

The Sex Abuse Treatment Center was established in 1976 in response to the community’s concern regarding the absence of medical, psychological and legal support services for victims. The statewide program is funded by public and private grants, and donations. Its mission is to support the emotional healing process of those sexually assaulted in Hawaii, to increase community awareness about their needs and to reduce the incidence of all forms of sexual assault. For information or to donate, visit satchawaii.org.

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