3-ways-to-prevent-abuseThe holidays should be fun, peaceful and enjoyable. Don’t live in fear, but rather insight. Move forward with peace and without regret. Reduce chaos during your holiday by adhering to the following holiday pleas.

1. Understand that you are not looking for the boogie man.

Predators, pedophiles and rapists don’t look like the boogie man in the alley. They look like people we trust and admire, people that we could never imagine would harm a child or a person. Statistics prove that 95% of perpretrators are either a friend of the family or a family member. This is also why it is hard for victims to come forward. Who would believe them when they came against an upstanding person in the community or family? It was hard for ME to come forward. I was called a “lying b****” for exposing a pastor, a beloved man in the community who prayed for and blessed the people of God. I don’t put these heinous acts past ANY living human. Celebrities, teachers, clergy, professionals, family members and more are capable of this crime. Believe that.

2. Don’t tell any family members to “get over it”.

There is no expiration date on when a victim should tell. Healing is a process and personal journey. Many victims NEVER tell. If someone in your family decides to come forward with their story, hear them. Listen, then tell them that they are not alone and that they have your support. Hug them. Refer them to a local resource that can. Never, ever say to them that they should let it go or express your disdain for why they are bringing up something from years ago. If you really cannot bare to hear what they have to say, gracefully excuse yourself without comment.

3. Don’t force hugs and kisses.

Please don’t force any child to hug or kiss any family members or friends during the holiday. Let them choose. Be watchful. Don’t leave any children alone with anyone in a room at anyone’s house, not even at grandma’s. No lap sitting and be very conscientious of impromtu sleepovers!