Sexual Abuse Advocates Should Focus on Prevention, Not Punishment

In the wake of the Jerry Sandusky arrest and ensuing conviction, many new laws have been introduced that call for stiffer punishment of those who do nothing when they know a child is being molested.

An article by Susan Reimer in The Baltimore Sun published earlier this week looked at what still needs to be done to prevent child sexual abuse. Yes, punishment is called for when a child has been molested. But prevention is an even more powerful tool that has been neglected for far too long. 

James Cantor of the University of Toronto is cited in the article, who noted, "No one has been able to find a way to change pedophiles into nonpedophiles. But that doesn't mean we cannot prevent child molestation." 

The key here is not to focus on punishment, but rather to find ways to identify potential pedophiles and treat them before they offend. Parents, teachers and others who are in a position to protect children must learn how to identify signs of child sexual abuse, and know how to properly react.

Child sexual abuse is no longer the problem of a few; it is no longer a subject we refuse to talk about. Instead, it is a widespread injustice that is happening daily. Now that the subject is finally out in the open, it's time for us to find ways to prevent and protect our most valuable resource: our children.

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