Child sex abuse: What to do about it

By: Amy

It is definitely not a pleasant topic yet it is an important one to address. Cases of child sexual abuse have been front and center in new headlines in recent weeks.

Last week in Charleston County, Louis 'Skip' ReVille pleaded guilty to 22 counts of sexual misconduct and lewd acts against minors. ReVille was a local camp counselor, coach and educator. He was sentenced to 50 years in prison.

Right now in Central Pennsylvania, former Penn State University football coach Jerry Sandusky is on trial. He is accused of a pattern of manipulation and using his own children's charity to molest boys over a 15-year-period.

Local advocacy group Darkness to Light works to educate about and prevent child sexual abuse. Speaking on Lowcountry Live on Wednesday, Cindy McElhinney with Darkness to light noted that the tragedy is playing out around us every day. She said that now is the time to rally against victimization of our children.

"This is playing out in our community, across the country," she said. "Every day we experience this here in Charleston."

We can channel our disbelief and disgust into a commitment to better protect children, McElhinney advised. She expressed that now is the time to learn the facts, learn the signs and lend our voices.{} Every individual, organization and community has a role to play.{}

"We need it to stay on people's radar," said McElhinney. "We want to teach people the facts."

McElhinney said that early intervention is an important component. She advised that parents talk to their children about their bodies.

"Telling them what to do if it happens to them," she advised, "Talking to your kids early, often, using the proper names for their body parts."

She also noted that parents should minimize the opportunities for another adult to have one-on-one conduct with their child, as that is when abuse occurs. They should also take notice to a change in a child's behavior

"They've started acting differently and it doesn't make sense."

This might include sign of anger, withdrawal, depression or eating. The child might be harming themselves.

For more information about child sexual abuse, visit: