www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/readersrespond/bs-ed-abuse-letter-20111120,0,5053216.story

baltimoresun.com

Children must be better protected

9:30 AM EST, November 20, 2011

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As news coverage begins to move away from the allegations of sexual abuse of young boys at Penn State University, we are seeing new allegations of sexual abuse of young boys in the basketball program at Syracuse University ("Longtime assistant at Syracuse accused of molestation," Nov. 18). While there is much yet to be written about the outcome of these allegations and the guilt or innocence of the parties involved, what is abundantly clear is that we need to do more as a society, as a community, to protect our children.

One in four girls and one in six boys will become victims of sexual abuse before their 18th birthday. As adults, we must not allow our children, our greatest and most cherished asset, to become victims of predators or of our inaction. We must arm ourselves with the knowledge of how to recognize the signs that our children might be victims of sexual abuse. We must provide for them an environment where they feel safe to disclose when they have been inappropriately touched. And we need to educate ourselves about how to speak to our children about body safety.

I hope that we all learn from these horrific allegations that it is not too late to do better, to heal those who have been victims and help them become survivors and to stop other young children from becoming victims.

Cheryl Ladota, Towson

The writer is assistant executive director of Family and Children's Services of Central Maryland.