Locals can do something to prevent abuse of kids

Nov. 08, 2012 @ 04:41 PM

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Editor:

Recently the world has been drawn to the events perpetuated by the horrible abuses forced upon children by Jerry Sandusky, and the decisions made by Penn State officials to do nothing about it, thus enabling its continuance. The fact is the world has been drawn to these events primarily due to the fame of the molester and the stature of the institution.

In our divisive, point-counterpoint world, everyone seems to agree on at least one thing, that these actions are beyond despicable. Who among us has not said or thought, "I would have done anything to have prevented such acts or to help these brave young people who disclosed their horrific experiences."

If you did say that, and if you are outraged and heartbroken by the harm done to these children, you do have the opportunity to help. Terrible and unspeakable things are happening daily to children everywhere, many happen right here in our own community. There may not be a famous coach involved or amajor college cover-up to attract the media, but these elements are secondary to the real story.

The real story is that the same type of horrendous abuses we have read about happening in Pennsylvania and across the country are happening to children right here in Sevier County. The physical and emotional damage these kids endure is no less severe just because the national media isn't involved, or the perpetrator isn't well known. Their lives are forever tarnished, and they need protection, they need our help, and they need to know they are loved.

Are you outraged? You say you would you have done anything to help these kids? Then do it!

Safe Harbor Child Advocacy Center is a non-profit organization that is right here in our community serving the children and adolescents who have been forced to deal with the horrors of physical and sexual abuse. As the coverage of the Sandusky trial shows, the damage these kids suffer will last a lifetime if the children do not receive the intervention and help that Safe Harbor provides. Please support them.

To learn more about Safe Harbor and how you can help, you can go to www.safeharborcac.com or you can call them at 865-774-1777. If you suspect that a child or adolescent is in an abusive situation, you need to call the Hotline at 1-877-237-0004. But whatever you do, please don't just turn your head and pretend it will go away, that has been done by far too many for far too long.

D.J. Atchley

Sevierville