Imaginif prompts for daily writers.
If you wish to join the Writers Prompt Daily simply use the below photo (changes daily) as a prompt and post a short story, poem or paragraph to your blog. Leave a comment and your link here so that all participants can come to you and read/comment/encourage. Stories below are copyright and are Megan Bayliss' writing around the below daily picture prompt.

Should Children be Taught How to Say No?

Should Children be Taught How to Say No? Yes, they need to be taught that there are situations where they are allowed to say no. Further, children need practice at saying no. When adults are learning new skills we need to practice, practice, practice to make the new skill second nature and habitual. Many adults will practice having discussions with other adults, so that they know what they want to say, how they will say it, and what possible reactions may occur in the other person.

Most children start saying no as they begin to talk. It is a simple word for them to get their tongue and vocals around. I don’t know about you but when my kids were toddlers I said “no” way too often and it seemed to give them permission to say it on every given opportunity as well. However, like most parents, I began training the “no” out of them. Innocently I would say things like, “It’s not nice to say no to Mummy.”

It’s not nice to be sexually abused either and if a child has been trained not to say no to a person in a position of authority (parent, teacher, police, adult, etc) then we take a risk of our children being unable to tell a sexual predator, “NO! I’m going to tell on you.”

In Say No to Hang Man, over at Toys, Books, Games Protect Kids, I offer a simple game to help our kids develop the skill of being able to say no. Unless your child practices with you, first in a game situation and then later in real situations, your child may not ever be able to say “no” in situations where a “no” is needed.

Here’s some other excellent articles to give you some more tips and ideas on how to teach your child to say “no”:

Teaching Children To Say No (and other safety tips) by Tenna Perry

Have You Got a Minute?

Teaching Children Refusal Skills By Leah Davies, M.Ed.

Tips to Help Your Child re-Handle a Violent Conflict by Megan Bayliss

BITSS of Say No by Megan Bayliss

Kidnapping. Saying "NO," is Child Protection. by Megan Bayliss


Have you ever considered teaching your child to say “no” as a way to keep them safe from sexual predators? Why/why not?



Photo courtesy of melodi2 at stock.xchng

Kidnapping. Saying "NO," is Child Protection.

I saved my little brother from kidnapping when I was just seven years old. I don't know why I saved him because I hated him and I wished to send him away. He was a three-year-old pest! He’d get into my bedroom when I was at school, pull out my toys, tear my books and touch my jewellery.

To this very day, I tell my brother he owes me for rescuing him. My other brothers and sister tell me not to be so mean but if I don't stay mean he might think an alien has stolen the real me. He is used to me picking on him but... he is also used to me sticking up for him when things are going wrong. How to stick up for him is something I did without thinking on the day the kidnapper tried to steal him.

It was a very hot day and all of the families in the barracks where we lived were having picnics at the pool. Everyone was busy - swimming, eating, watching diving competitions, judging splashes. My Mum had five kids to watch so we older kids had to help with the little ones. I so didn't want to watch Drew but Mum told me that all big sisters had to suffer little brothers and that I would be sad if ever anything happened to him.

Mum gave me some money and asked me to run across to the shop to buy some ice-blocks. I was excited. She trusted me with the money AND to go to the shop alone. "Take Drew with you," she said.

"Bum! I hate him. He's a pest."

Mum gave me a look of "don't make me punish you in public".

In his usual pest like state, Drew ran ahead of me down the windy path that led to the far-away road we had to cross. Hidden from view from both the pool and the road the path wound its way through beautiful tropical gardens. The gardens were a jungle. The plants were so close together that a dog would have had a hard time trying to get in for a pee. The winding path and the magical jungle made it impossible to see too far ahead. We had no idea what was around the next bend and we loved it. It was a treasure waiting to be found.

Drew ran ahead of me and I lost sight of him. A pest he may have been but I was worried because I couldn't see him. It didn't matter how much he destroyed my belongings he was my little brother, my family and I wanted him to be safe.

I started to run so that I could catch him before he got to the road. What would happen if he ran straight into the cars? My tummy felt all jumbly, like I had a big snake squirming around in there.

I couldn't hear him. No running footsteps, no singing; nothing. As I rounded a bend in the shadowed path, I came upon a man I had never seen. He had Drew by the hand and was pulling him into the jungle. Without even thinking about it, I grabbed Drew by the other hand and started a tug-of-war.

I don't know where my words came from; they just fell out of my mouth without any planning.

"Where are you taking my brother?"

"We're going for a drive because it's too hot for running."

"My Mum would say no. We are swimming and going to eat ice-blocks." The tug-a-war kept happening.

"I know your Dad. He asked me to come and take you for a drive." The man was in army uniform and we were at the army swimming pool. My Dad was the army boss so it could be true.

"No." I knew it wasn’t true. "Give him back to me. He isn't going anywhere. He is my brother. Give him to me."

The man in army uniform tried to trick me, "Your father said I have to take him. Father is waiting."

Somehow, and I don't know how, my thoughts were clear. My body was scared. My knees were shaking and my arms were tired of pulling. My poor little legs were jelly. The muscles were working hard to keep my footing and balance. My thoughts though, were clear. I knew that this man was phony. No soldier that I knew would have a prickly face, dare to walk around in an un-ironed uniform or without his hat and proper boots. This man had stolen the uniform and he was BAD.

I prayed to God, "Please help me. I'm not strong enough to save my brother."

I gave one big pull and said, "We'll just go back and ask Mum is it okay then."

The man let go. Drew flew back into me and knocked me over. The man disappeared. He melted into the jungle and I couldn't see him anywhere.

I hugged Drew, and we RAN back to Mum. I started crying and I couldn't talk. My body was shaking all over and I had to sit down. Drew came and snuggled into me and patted my hand.

"Take a deep breath," Mum coached me. "Tell me what happened."

People gathered around. Everyone wanted to help. I told the crowd that a man tried to steal Drew. The man was in Army uniform and had a little beard. He had black skin, red socks, and shoes that didn't belong with his army uniform.

Well, the army dads there ran down the path and began their manhunt. Nobody was going to hurt children and get away with it. They never caught the man though – he was long gone.

Drew and I became friends (I always had to look after him after that!). I learnt that he wasn’t too bad and that my memory was good. Even when I’m scared, I now know that my mind can remain strong, that my eyes see important things and that my brain will remember.


Could your child say "no"? What do you do to practice saying "no?" Tomorrow I'll give you some parent tips on helping your child to say "no."


Related article on the protective behaviour step of, Say No: BITSS of Say No.


Photo (Tug O' War) courtesy of KevinKLuu at stock.xchng

How to Attract Site Traffic to Child Protection or Sexual Abuse Blogs

Child protection and sexual abuse issues may not be matters of high priority for general blog browsers. The terms rank low as searchable key words and the existing blog sites appear to have few comments. I have long pondered the reasons for this.

Child abuse is a scarey topic for many parents and others may chose not to leave comments lest they be identified as survivors or parents of abused children. Other’s may think that they have nothing worthwhile to say (you’re wrong though – everyone has something worthwhile to say).

Increasing general knowledge and creating talk around child protection and sexual abuse can be encouraged by increasing the number of visitors to our blog sites. How though??

Blog carnivals appear to assist. Visits to this site increase by an average 66.66% when I submit an article to a carnival. In addition, the page views increase threefold and it appears that I then attract more repeat visits.

Increased blog traffic equates to consciousness raising around issues that affect our children. It does not equate to increased comments on blogs, but then, although nice, this is not the ultimate aim for child protection blog keepers.

Child protection and sexual assault bloggers mostly want to raise consciousness and they want to decrease the numbers of abuse. They also aim to provide helpful protective hints, tips and information to interested readers.

But…if only the initiated read their blogs, how is consciousness raised? We need to reach further afield and attract new readers.

Step 1: Reading and commenting on blogs outside of our area of passion is a must to be able to balance our views with views of the greater blog community populace. When we leave comments, the curious click onto our names to see what we write about. Bingo, an instant curious audience to child protection/sexual assault issues.

Step 2: Most important is submitting to carnivals outside of your comfort zone: Different readership, different way of thinking and hopefully new discussion around your chosen area of blogging.

I am now posting my child protection articles to many carnivals, the obvious and not so obvious. Submit your appropriate blogs to these ones for some new readership:

Think outside the square to attract new visitors to your blog on child protection or sexual abuse. Join the carnival.

For other helpful ideas about attracting new blog visitors and increasing regular readership, check out Darren Rowse articles at Problogger.

Photo courtsey of OmirOnia at stock.xchng

The Carnival Calls You to Join the Merry Go Round of Child Abuse Prevention

Imaginif…you could find a host of child abuse articles in one place. No more searching or hours spent sorting through those sites that just grab key words and offer nothing helpful. Well…you can have one site with multiple writers and articles: the bi monthly Carnival Against Child Abuse

Annaleigh from Blessed Fearscapes (Going to our darkest places, and finding healing…) has hosted the The 8th Edition of the Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse! And what a terrific job she’s done at pulling it all together. Eleven different writers, fourteen articles on child abuse and a plethora of moving, stimulating and research based articles.

I teach part-time in social work. All of my students leave our subjects with a good dose of knowledge around best practice in sexual assault and child focused work. Carnivals are a great place to find the realities of life for survivors and anecdotal research on child abuse. I will be pointing my students toward spending some time in the carnivals and walking in the shoes of people affected by child abuse. For those doing research papers in the area don’t overlook the value of contacting some of these people and talking with them about what happened, who helped, what would have made a difference, etc. A community of survivors is a rich and untapped market of thoughts on prevention and action.

Congratulations to every single writer who has an article in The 8th Edition of the Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse. Particular congratulations to Annaleigh for hosting and doing a terrific job in presenting the information.

For more information about what a blog carnival is see How to Find Comments About Sexual Abuse Prevention and Action.

Hosting a carnival is a great way to increase traffic to your site and to get your work known. Would you like to host a carnival on your site?

Photo of Luna Park Clown, courtesy of horizonaus from stock.xchng.

Click for Kids at the Child Health Site

Here’s a free and easy way to help maximum numbers of children at risk: The Child Health Site offers a daily email service reminding you to click their link and help children in need: without buying a thing or leaving your house. I've been doing it every day since last August.

Dear Megan,


Your friendly Friday reminder from The Child Health Site: Make a difference today!

Click on the blue button at The Child Health Site
and make health services possible that will save and improve the lives of children living in poverty. It's free.

FINAL DAYS OF OUR PURSE SALE!

Looking for a quick and easy way to update your wardrobe? A cute new purse is just the thing! Browse our Purse department for dozens of chic styles--many of which are on sale! Hurry-- this sale ends soon.
Shop now for the best selection.

Every item you purchase helps at least 4.5 children get the health care they need to survive and thrive. Thank you!

Interested in another fast, free and easy way to give children living in poverty a chance at a healthy life? Remember The Child Health Site when shopping your favorite shops online.

Shop at the more than 175 major online retailers in The Child Health Site shopping village, and a portion of every dollar you spend will go toward health services for children in need -- automatically and at no extra cost to you.

Click here to visit
The Child Health Site shopping village.

The village is always accessible via the "Merchants Who Help" link in the left hand menu of our home page.

Thank you for your support!

Sincerely,

The Child Health Site

For those who prefer to click for other causes, the site also has instructions for clicking to help Breast Cancer, Rainforests, Hunger, Animal Rescue and Literacy. Go on, subscribe and click. It costs you nothing and allows you to know you are doing something to help the world's underprivileged children.

After posting Support 2007 Children to Have a Happy New Year I know of at least one person who took up the challange to click daily. Thanks Birdwing.

Have you ever been to countries where the children live with great harm? What was the impact on you and did it change the way you help children?

How To Do A Mini Debrief With Traumatized Friends

When friends ring up, crying, traumatized, or very angry about a situation, do you know how to best respond? I hear from many people that they want to have a structure around how to help their traumatized friends: they want to know what to do and how to do it.


Using the framework of a Critical Incident Stress Debrief, I have prepared a simple framework of response to help you help your traumatized friends. Finding out that your child has been sexually abused is a critical incident in a person’s life, experiencing or witnessing domestic violence is a critical incident; viewing starving children on T.V can be a critical incident.

The next time a friend is traumatized over anything, this is what you can do to immediately help them to cope with their thoughts and feelings about the critical event:

A: ASK FOR THE STORY

Ask your friend to describe what happened just before, during, and after the critical incident. Ask open-ended questions that help them explore the facts, thoughts, and sensory experience related to the event. Examples of questions are:
  • So, what happened next?

  • What were you thinking at that time?

  • What did that look like?

B: BE INQUISITIVE ABOUT THE EMOTIONAL IMPACT

This is usually the hardest and the most emotional point of coping with our friend's emotions around a critical incident. In “A” you focus on the story, here you focus on your friend’s feelings. The focus is on your friend and their inner reaction to the situation. For some people it is helpful to avoid asking directly about feelings but rather to ask:
  • What was the hardest part of all this for you?

  • What kind of reactions or feelings were you experiencing then?

Do not leave this step until your friend has expressed all of their emotion. This may take 10 minutes or two hours. In their emotional state, things may not make sense to you. That is okay. This is not about you, it’s about helping your friend get rid of a build up of emotion.

C: SOME SYMPTOM EDUCATION HELPS PEOPLE KNOW THEY ARE OKAY

This is your opportunity to help your friend understand that the symptoms they are experiencing are common or typical reactions to traumatic events. They are having a normal reaction to an abnormal event. If you have some knowledge of the human body and psychology, you can explain to your friend why they are experiencing some of these symptoms (beating heart, cold sweats, persistent thoughts about the event, cannot sleep, etc). Look up the internet while your friend is on the phone and tell them what you find about common reactions to critical incidents, help them to identify the ones they are experiencing, and normalize this experience for them. Help your friend anticipate triggers they might experience in the future when they think about the critical incident or visit the place where it happened.

D: DO UP A COPING PLAN

Help your friend to create a coping plan. Explore further how they are doing now. If talking has helped perhaps ring a friend could go onto a coping plan. Some people like to listen to music to calm them, some like physical exercise. It is whatever helps your friend to cope with the horrible wash of feelings and thoughts that come over people after a critical incident.

Suggest to your friend that they talk to a professional. Find a list of people that they can go to. Help them to make the call but do not do it for them.

E: FOLLOW-UP WITH YOUR FRIEND

Before you leave your friend, set up another time to talk about what has happened. It’s like booking an appointment. Before this appointment time though, check in on your friend. Unexpected contact will help your friend to know they are not alone and that they can rely on your help. Most importantly, keep the booked time and go through the above steps again if your friend is up to it. If not, just checking in on “C” and “D” will be helpful.



After talking with traumatized people, you may feel traumatized yourself. It is very important that you are also able to debrief with someone else. There are professionals around who are trained in Critical Incident Stress Debriefing or you may be able to go to a friend who has knowledge of the above simple debriefing steps. In fact, why not have a coffee morning with a group of friends and all practice the above five critical incident stress debriefing steps. If all of your supports have knowledge about how to help, you’ll all be in very good company.

I hope this is helpful and I’d love to hear your thoughts on whether you think this would work with your friends. I would also like to hear how it goes when you use it in a real situation.


Photo (broken mirror 3) courtesy of jfg at stock.xchng

Market Research: How Do You Choose Which Child in Need to Help?

Does emotion stop people from hearing important child safety messages? A few days ago in How Can Child Protection Market Itself in a Positive Light to Parents? I raised my concerns about fear preventing parents from hearing and learning about child sexual assault prevention. And how the universe has heard my query... I have just had a personal experience of raw emotion preventing action.

A beautiful Peace power point presentation is doing the email rounds. Although I consider myself to be professionally hardened against life’s miseries and injustices, I viewed the power point as a parent and I felt the helpless, hollow grief of caring parents world wide. Touched and saddened by the graphic images of starving children, I called two of my children (11 and 20) to have a look.

My children were both disturbed and shocked. The oldest one, female, couldn’t talk. She put her hand to her mouth, sat down and quietly reflected without sharing any thoughts with me. The boy stared, made musings of empathy, but then got angry at me. “Why did you show me that,” he angrily intonated. “I can’t do anything.”

The reactions of my children have given me cause for further thinking on positive marketing around child protection. If raw emotion does block a person’s ability to hear and act then no wonder few people listen to global child safety messages.

I have long been a supporter of celebrating what parents do right. Parenting is a very hard job, with few immediate rewards and certainly no pay period financial bonuses!! Parents need support and parents need encouragement to continue good parenting. However, what about those parents who cannot protect their children.

How do you choose which child in need to help? The need is so great and so graphic that everyone will have their own way of either blocking or filtering the raw emotions of shock and horror. Some people may only be willing to help children in need that they can see. Other’s may prefer to give to agencies that help so that the financial contributor never has to see the shocking images of hurt children. Some may prefer to do voluntary work or learn about what other’s are doing.

I’d like to think of this as mini market research so that I have a better idea of what makes you tick, what motivates you to help and what causes you to take action.

How do you choose which child in need to help? Please leave a comment.

Photo (Children of Ecuador 4) courtesy of Nota at stock.xchng.

The 11th Carnival of Children's Literature Helps to Keep Kids Safe.

Can children’s literature help to keep our kids safe? It sure can and if you are looking for a host of information about children’s literature, the 11th Carnival of Children’s Literature is now live over at Mother Reader. They have kindly included my protective behaviour junior fiction chapter book, Bitss of Caramel Marmalade on Toast, in the current carnival. The entire book is available, chapter by chapter.

The process of helping children (or adults) through books is called bibliotherapy. I appreciate that many parents are terrified of talking about child sexual abuse prevention and a piece of junior fiction may be a non-threatening way to introduce the topic.

Bibliotherapy involves a series of steps to turn the book from a just a read to a learning experience. In Are children books providing them with enough advice? I set out the purpose of using bibliotherapy and the steps you need to climb in the race to protect your child.

Enjoy my book and thanks for helping with child abuse prevention. I’d love to hear your comments about Bitss of Caramel Marmalade on Toast once you’ve read it.

Little Pixie Gifts Help Sick Children

I’ve just been visiting my friend Erik’s site (Travelling around the world) and one of the Google ads (Little Pixie Gifts) caught my attention. Okay, it was a chocolate add but I’m about to get married and my head is in catering and wedding favor mode.

While being positively voyeuristic over the delicious delights, a display of excellent corporate social responsibility got me even more excited. This company advertises that $2.00 from every gift purchased is donated to the Royal Children’s Hospital Foundation.


This is exactly the type of commitment that will ensure that I become not only a customer but a repeat customer. Congratulations to Little Pixie Gifts for caring and using high quality and ethical business acumen.

Profit lines, experience and business leadership are not the only way to attract new and repeat customers. Investing in our children’s future, health and prevention programs will also attract interest from customers who want to contribute toward making the world safer for our children but are unsure what they can do to help. How simple is it to buy a product that ultimately helps others.

Thumbs up to Little Pixie Gifts.

Do businesses that help others influence your decision to purchase? I'd be really interested to hear your views.

The Link Chain Fence Between Child Sexual Abuse and Homelessness

A 12-year-old boy tells his Mum that her new partner is playing with the boy’s penis all the time. Mum confronts her new partner; he denies it and tosses Mum, her 12-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter out of the house. Suddenly homeless, with no clothes, no money and no social supports, Mum seeks emergency accommodation.

The women’s shelter is unable to house the family as the policies prevent accommodating boys over the age of 11. Mum is forced to leave her son in a homeless boy’s home where he is housed with street hardened boys engaging in crime to survive. And so begins the cycle of homelessness often faced by those affected by child sexual abuse.

Homelessness is another of those social curses that requires community action. In PHOTOS OFFER GLIMPSES INTO HOMELESS LIVES, Jaclyn O'Malley reports on a community and government driven initiative in Reno, Nevada, U.S.A. “Reno police officer Patrick O'Bryan came up with the idea of giving cameras to homeless people after watching a documentary about eight children born in an Indian brothel who were given cameras to document their lives. The city of Reno chipped in about $240 from an administrative community block grant for the cameras and the film development.”

Joclyn's blog has some of the pictures featured (many of people looking through link chain fences) and a commentary that I sincerely hope assists in us all reframing our views around homelessness and its causes.

Homelessness is a child protection issue and child protection is serious business. While I work hard to prevent child sexual abuse, I am heartened to know that others work equally as hard to end homelessness. Thank you to those who give a damn.


Photo courtsey of tomerka at stock.xchng

How Can Child Protection Market Itself in a Positive Light to Parents?

I need your help please. I’d like to ponder the best way for a scary topic (child sexual abuse prevention) to be heard and addressed by the average parent on the average street.

In, Switching off road safety, Gary Hughes over at The Australian asks, “Are those graphic road safety advertisements showing death and horrific injuries losing their impact? Are we “switching off” and not taking notice any longer?”


These questions are not new. As a first year psychology undergraduate I had to research these types of empowerment verses fear questions. The research then (20 years ago) was overwhelmingly supportive of fear creating a barrier to hearing and objectively responding to an issue (smoking, violence on T.V, child sexual abuse, water safety, etc.).

My experience supports that fear prevents parents hearing messages about child protection, particularly fear from sexual assault.

Think of someone you know. How can child protection market itself in the most positive light to them? How can we encourage parents to continue the good things they are doing and increase their awareness and proactive protection against child sexual abuse?

I am interested to hear your comments. While I am a parent of four, I am not the best person to make comment on these questions because I have no fear around the topic. Child sexual abuse, incest, rape and pedophilia ends dinner party conversation…I know because it has happened to my dinner parties on a number of accessions. A slow learner or a dogmatic passionate I may be but this is my profession, my area of expertise and my mission. I just really hate getting stuck with the washing up all the time!!

In the largest on-line child protection conversation in the world, Imaginif aims to reach maximum numbers of global parents and to assist them in keeping their kids safe. The last thing our children need is for parents to “switch off” because of fear based ramming.

What works for you and what would work for a friend?

How do we reach parents without scaring them?


Photo courtesy of mapelc at stock.xchng

Largest on-line Child Protection Conversation in the World.

The largest on-line
child protection conversation
in the world
begins mid April
(after Easter).

To know what it is that I refer to see:
Imaginif Jobs for Child Safety Writers

My impending marriage (5 weeks and five days away) has eaten into my time like I never knew possible. A relaxed, family focused affair, I had overlooked the organization and administration function of the event. Hence, I have placed the launch of our new web site on hold for another month.

Thank you to all those writers who applied for the voluntary blogging jobs. It is heartening to know that there are many, many people throughout the world that are committed to making the world a safer place for our children.

If you have a passion about any area of child safety (not just sexual abuse prevention) and would like to write weekly to the world’s largest on-line child protection conversation, please contact me and I’ll supply you the application requirements. There is no time limit on applying for the voluntary positions.

For those looking for a space to discuss child protection issues, the largest on-line child protection conversation offers daily blogs by a variety of writers on a variety of child protection issues. In addition, there will be a happening forum where people all over the world can contribute to discussion about their kids safety and receive parental feedback on how well they are already doing with keeping the kids safe.

We parents can never get enough positive feedback about the “right” things we do. Join our conversation and know that you are immediately doing the "right" thing for the "right" reasons.

Photos courtesy of stock.xchng, larar and David Lat

THE MUMMY TEST

I was out walking with my 4 year old daughter. She picked up something off the ground and started to put it in her mouth. I took the item away from her and I asked her not to do that.

"Why?" my daughter asked.

"Because it's been laying outside, you don't know where it's been, it's dirty and probably has germs" I replied.

At this point, my daughter looked at me with total admiration and asked, "Wow! How do you know all this stuff?"

"Uh," I was thinking quickly, "all mums know this stuff. It's on the Mummy Test. You have to know it, or they don't let you be a Mummy."

We walked along in silence for 2 or 3 minutes, but she was evidently pondering this new information.

"OH...I get it!" she beamed, "So if you don't pass the test you have to be the daddy."

"Exactly" I replied back with a big smile on my face and joy in my heart.

Source unknown. Came to me on email.

The Retail Value of Child Sexual Assault: Disdain or Sympathy?

Wedding shopping (only 6 weeks to go) has turned up a few specials in child protection. Whilst researching and seeking best value wedding paraphernalia I have had many opportunities to enter into social chitchat. “What do you do for a living,” is the standard salesperson question while they attempt to assess what rage of product to display us. My partner’s occupation is totally acceptable and valued: an Accountant. My response, “sexual assault therapist,” is met mostly with two responses: sympathy and down cast eyes or total disdain.

Disdain wins no favors from me. There is no way I will part with my money in that store. Sympathy and down cast eyes really gets me going!!!! The hushed conversation generally runs along the lines of, “What a horrible job. It must be very sad, very hard and isn’t it terrible that some children are sexually abused. Surely it doesn’t happen here though.”

Not being one to overlook an opportunity to consciousness raise around sexual assault prevention, I take the opportunity to gently educate.

I love my job and I love the people I have the privilege to work with. People who are living with having been violated in the worse possible sense are generally amazingly strong, creative and loyal. Read the posts from abyss2hope: (A rape survivor's zigzag journey into the open), Sadly Normal (Seeking Justice and Support for Survivors of Child Sexual Assault), or Child Abuse Survivor (About a male survivor of childhood abuse, and the issues he faces in adult life) and I dare you to not find strength and conviction in these writers.

Those retail salespeople who allow disdain to prejudice their thoughts around sexual abuse have some lessons to learn. Remember that one in three adults report having been sexually abused as children. Their loyalty to your product and corporate responsibility lies untapped. Rarely have I seen businesses that openly support the plight of those sexually abused. Rarely have I heard from clients that they support business because business supports sexual abuse prevention. I can’t help but wonder on the untapped market of securing a loyal customer base of one in three people affected by sexual violence.

Many parents have openly displayed disdain toward talking to their children about protective behaviours. The possibility of child sexual abuse remains low in their thinking and daily lives. Fear of scaring their children or spoiling innocence are reasons frequently trotted out in discussions. Worse still, is embarrassment. Parents have told me that they don’t know how to talk about such a “rare” and “rude” topic.

This last point amazes me. Collectively, parents appear to have no difficulty seeking worm medicine or teaching young children how to wipe themselves when potty training. Both of these health issues centre upon those private nether regions that also do not make for acceptable dinner party talk. Yet, manufacturers and retailers draw enormous loyalty and profit from a customer base prepared to enter into public counter discussion about those little white squiggly threads in Jenny’s pooh.

Next time I’m met with disdain after disclosing my profession and passion, I’m not going to let them worm their way out of not recognising the value of child abuse prevention. In considering whether or not to spend my dollars in the store, I'll weigh up the wider corporate consciousness. The sales person may not give a toss as to if they make the sale or not, the owners probably do. Further, displays of sympathy will be challenged to become displays of action. You can bet your bottom dollar the store owners and staff will be looking for sympathy if I and people like me assess their corporate consciousness as unworthy of our retail spend. Child protection is a collective responsibility. If you feel sympathetic toward the case, do something to help prevent other children from being abused. This site is full of ideas on what you can do. It is often the smallest things that makes the biggest difference.

If you know of a business that does support the issue then they deserve recognition and public thanks. Leave a comment about them, I’ll check them out and dedicate a "Thumbs Up" post to them.


Photo: My daughter and her partner on their wedding day.

How to Find Comments About Sexual Abuse Prevention and Action

It takes time to search for articles and blogs of topical interest. For those who are interested in issues of child sexual abuse there are two ongoing Blog Carnivals capturing a range of views, comments and political persuasions:

Carnival Against Sexual Violence

Carnival Against Child Abuse

What is a Blog Carnival? A Blog Carnival is a particular kind of blog community. There are many kinds of blogs, and they contain articles on many kinds of topics. Blog Carnivals typically collect together links pointing to blog articles on a particular topic. A Blog Carnival is like a magazine. It has a title, a topic, editors, contributors, and an audience. Editions of the carnival typically come out on a regular basis (e.g. every Monday, or on the first of the month). Each edition is a special blog article that consists of links to all the contributions that have been submitted, often with the editors opinions or remarks.


The plethora of information in the blog-o-sphere makes finding interesting stuff difficult. If there is a carnival for a topic you are interested in, following that carnival is a great way to learn what bloggers are saying about that topic, and often about you. If you are blogging on a specific topic, the carnival is the place to share your work with like-minded bloggers and readers.

Blog Carnival lists all carnivals available and provides information on how and where to submit your blog articles.

If you are blogging around any issues of sexual violence please do consider submitting your entries to either of the above two carnivals. The greater discourse created about ending sexual violence, the sooner our children can grow slowly into being fully functional adults.

How wonderful would it be to get to a point where sexual violence is wiped out and we can all become protective Seekers, singing The Carnival is Over.

I’ve got an article in the current Carnival Against Sexual Violence, check it out.


Photo of Luna Park Clown, courtesy of horizonaus from stock.xchng.

The Royal Flush on Child Sexual Abuse

Tatts and Tiara Day, a Valentine’s Day fundraiser for those who experience the opposite of love, now awaits the jewel in the crown – knowing how much money was raised nationally for the Abused Child Trust. Obviously, I’m not a candidate for Australian Princess. My tiara gave me a headache and I had to keep taking it off. This gave me cause for reflection though. How easy it was for me to just toss my tiara aside and get on with my life.

For many of our world’s children they are unable to toss their headache aside and get on with life. They live with the daily threat and experience of abuse. Without committed individuals and agencies to assist their plight, these children may grow into hurt, scared and dysfunctional adults. Is this how we want our future leaders to be?

Child Protection is the responsibility of all of us. I was not encouraged in knowing that our community cares by the few business houses displaying Tatts and Tiaras posters and selling Abused Child Trust merchandise this Valentines Day.

A quick content analysis of our local paper revealed 15 advertisements for Valentine’s Day and NO advertising supporting those who experience dysfunctional love (abuse) on Valentine’s Day.

We live in a fiscal world where cash is king. Advertising is expensive and child abuse does not equate to increased profit lines for corporations. Or does it? If one in three children are abused by the time they reach 18 years of age that’s an awful lot of future spenders who may well just support those industries that openly display their corporate responsibility toward child sexual abuse prevention.

Imaginif managed to sell a box of Tatts and Tiaras merchandise. That’s a donation of $115.00 to the Abused Child Trust. Small fry but if only 10 people in my area had done the same that’s $1150.00 that stays in our area to support children and their families affected by child abuse.

In addition to the merchandise sold, Imaginif will be donating the coins collected in our big blue vase since New Year’s Day. Every year we support a different child abuse charity. In 2007, our charity of choice is the Abused Child Trust. Our vase collection, made up of useless 5 cent coins, netted $43.15 in only 45 days. I challenge you to match this amount and donate it straight to the Abused Child Trust or a similar charity in your corner of the world.

Be a Royal – flush child abuse away by supporting a charity that works toward ending child abuse.

Imaginif Launches "Purse for a Curse"

What is Purse for a Curse
  • A fund raiser for child sexual abuse prevention.

  • Used celebrity purses, wallets and hand bags are auctioned at a gala dinner and simultaneous on-line auction.

  • 100% of profits go to a charity that supports ending child sexual abuse.

  • In 2007, all fundraising goes to the Abused Child Trust.

  • Auction and dinner will be held in Cairns during Child Protection week (September 2007).

  • The prevalence of child sexual abuse is said to be as high as 1 in 3.

  • Child sexual abuse is a curse that you can purse to.

Imaginif Pty Ltd is a family owned Protective Behaviour firm that offers a range of professional services to people who want to help end child sexual abuse. One evening while Megan Bayliss (Director) was feeling frustrated over the endemic numbers of child sexual abuse, she said, “We need a fund raiser for prevention, a purse for a curse. A fund raiser where every year the recipient changes so that the widest net is cast over those agencies working to prevent child sexual abuse”

From there, discussions began, and Purse for a Curse was born. Megan approached the Abused Child Trust in Cairns and asked if they would be the inaugural recipient of fund raising. They agreed.

Purse for a Curse allows you to help end the social curse that is a shame on our communities. Our children, and our helping agencies, need support. You can support by donating or bidding on a celebrity purse, wallet or handbag.

Who can donate used Purses, Wallets or Handbags?

If you are a person of high profile or celebrity status, you can! Your used purse, wallet or handbag will have far more value to one of your adoring fans that it would if you threw it out. Most importantly though, the money your donated purse will bring at auction will have an unprecedented value to a child affected by the social curse of child sexual abuse.

There is a tradition to include a coin or two when giving a gift of a purse so that the recipient has good luck. You may want to consider this as your additional symbolic move toward ending the social curse of child sexual abuse.

You may not want to donate your beloved old purse. You may prefer instead to donate a cash sum to the cause. Your donation is tax deductable and will be publicly recognised in both promotional material and on the night of the gala dinner and on-line auction. Everyone will know that you care about our kids and are prepared to do something about it.

How to Donate?

Please send your used purse, wallet or handbag to either Imaginif Pty Ltd, PO Box 995, Edge Hill, QLD, 4870, Australia, or to the Abused Child Trust in Cairns, PO Box 1084, Earlville QLD 4870, Australia.

Please include your name and a short bio about yourself, including any links to web or fan pages. This information will be used to promote your willingness to help end the social curse of child sexual abuse and to encourage bids on your purse for a curse.

Readers: if you know anyone of high public profile or celebrity status, please feel free to email this to them. The more celebrities we reach, the quicker we can all impact upon ending the social curse of child sexual abuse.

F A M I L Y

I ran into a stranger as he passed by, "Oh excuse me please" was my reply.

He said, "Please excuse me too; I wasn't watching for you."

We were very polite, this stranger and I. We went on our way and we said goodbye.

But at home a different story is told, How we treat our loved ones, young and old.

Later that day, cooking the evening meal, My son stood beside me very still.

When I turned, I nearly knocked him down. "Move out of the way," I said with a frown.

He walked away, his little heart broken. I didn't realize how harshly I'd spoken.

While I lay awake in bed, God's still small voice came to me and said, "While dealing with a stranger, common courtesy you use, but the family you love, you seem to abuse. Go and look on the kitchen floor, You'll find some flowers there by the door. Those are the flowers he brought for you. He picked them himself: pink, yellow and blue. He stood very quietly not to spoil the surprise, you never saw the tears that filled his little eyes."

By this time, I felt very small, And now my tears began to fall. I quietly went and knelt by his bed; "Wake up, little one, wake up," I said. "Are these the flowers you picked for me?"

He smiled, "I found 'em, out by the tree. I picked 'em because they're pretty like you. I knew you'd like 'em, especially the blue."

I said, "Son, I'm very sorry for the way I acted today; I shouldn't have yelled at you that way."

He said, "Oh, Mom, that's okay. I love you anyway."

I said, "Son, I love you too, and I do like the flowers, especially the blue."

FAMILY: Are you aware that if we died tomorrow, the company that we are working for could easily replace us in a matter of days. But the family we left behind will feel the loss for the rest of their lives. And come to think of it, we pour ourselves more into work than into our own family, an unwise investment indeed, don't you think?

So what is behind the story? Do you know what the word FAMILY means?

FAMILY = (F)ATHER (A)ND (M)OTHER (I) (L)OVE (Y)OU

Source unknown. Came to me on email and I considered it an apt reminder to post on this site committed to ending child abuse.
Photo courtesy of neza at stock.xchng.

Virtual Global Taskforce Against On-Line Sexual Exploitation of Children

Do you worry about your kids playing on-line all the time? Many parents worry for different reasons: no exercise, staring at a screen all the time, impaired social skills, or personal safety.

On-line Safety is my biggest concern about my kids playing habits. Just as sexual predators groom our kids and adults around them in real life, so too do internet sexual predators. Chat rooms and on-line game messaging are perfect places for those sneaky predators to mask their true colours. Befriending our kids, predators may pose as a similar age, say they have similar interests and skillfully trick our kids into releasing personal information.

Children love to share photos of themselves and like to look at photos of other kids. This is a natural part of a child’s development. It provides our kids with a sense of identity and allows them to measure themselves against others from different countries.

If ever anyone online asks your child for a picture of themselves, be wary. Allow the request to set of the bells of Notre Dame in your head. However, unless you have an open talking relationship with your child and you know what they are visiting, which games they are playing and whom their on-line friends are, you may never have the opportunity to find out if they’ve been asked the photo question. Often the request may be innocent, but you have to check it out. Who wants a photo of their child shared across a pedophile network or posted on sites that were not given permission by you or your child to be posted on?

Yesterday I had a lengthy chat with an Australian Federal Officer from the Online Child Sex Exploitation Team Economic and Special Operations. I wanted to know the process for listing Imaginif’s new on-line child protection conversation with the team that monitors on-line activity for child sex predators and exploitive material. The Officer was so incredibly helpful and he provided me some supportive information about where and how to report any suspicious activity.

The Virtual Global Taskforce is a partnership between police forces from around the world working together to fight online child abuse. Along with offering advice, information and support to both adults and children to protect themselves against child sex abusers the site encourages on-line reporting of any inappropriate or illegal activity with or towards a child online.

Created in 2003, The Virtual Global Taskforce, is a direct response to lessons learned from investigations into on-line child abuse around the world. It is an international alliance of law enforcement agencies (Australia, U.S.A, U.K, Canada and Interpol) working together to make the Internet a safer place and it is staffed by specialist police officers and investigators. Once a report is generated, the report will go to straight to them. From there, the report is sent to the country of origin for immediate investigation.

Although I am not a supporter of doing things anonymously, I appreciate that many parents prefer to make anonymous reports. One of the many advantages of using the Virtual Global Taskforce is that you can make an anonymous report about any suspicious on-line sexualized behaviour toward your children.

Please, don’t hesitate to use this service if you are concerned about any on-line activity. Investigation and proof is not your responsibility. The global team are trained, professional and passionate. They are the ones tasked with investigating and sorting the innocent from the guilty. The rest of us share the responsibility of reporting exploitive behaviour toward children. Remember, Child Protection is everyone’s business.

Some other excellent sites for ensuring your child’s on-line safety:


Netalert (Australia)


Netsmartz (U.S.A)

Kid Proof Safety (Canada and U.S.A)

Cybertip (Canada)

Family Talk - A Way to Prevent Child Abuse

A little girl, aged 11, asked me why her mother didn’t help her and stop the abuse. I explained that her mother had no idea that father and uncle were sexually abusing her. The abuse had gone on for years. The child was angry, her behaviour was telling everyone that something was wrong and she was sent to counseling to get sorted out.

During the therapeutic process, the child disclosed the abuse. She claimed that she had told her mother by saying things like, she hated her father and never wanted to see her uncle again. She was using a child’s simple language to explain something that her vocabulary and life understanding was unable to punctuate with words. The child's mother didn't understand what the child's behaviour was saying. It wasn't until I told the mother in plain adult English and gave her the choice to tell the authorities herself before I did, that mother understood what had been happening.

Devastated and wanting retribution, the mother turned her anger toward her husband and brother. She committed acts of violence and was charged with three counts of grievous bodily harm. The mother turned to alcohol to consol herself and sought as much support as she could from other angry friends. While the anger danced around the household and the plotting thickened, the child and her enormous emotional and healing needs were forgotten. The child and her emotional needs simmered and the child developed a belief that her mother had (and was continuing to) failed to protect her.

The child saw family and friends that cared only about themselves and family that didn’t really believe the abuse because they acted like it was her fault that the family was now separated. Because of her young age, the little girl failed to recognise that her family were handling grief in their own way, that they did love and believe her but that were incapable in that moment of providing the support she so required.

The secrecy that surrounded the sexual abuse tore this family apart. It was not only the dysfunctional secrecy of the abusive acts, but the secrecy that then surrounded everyone’s coping mechanisms. Nobody talked through their primary emotions. Anger, a secondary emotion, quickly escalated to violent behaviour: behaviour that knew no words but that acted to further destroy the fragility of the family.

The 11 year old ran away from home at age 14. She lived with family of friends who would take her in and she drifted from bad situation to worse. Now 16, she has begun to visit her father again and never sees her mother. Where is the justice in this story? There is none. The perpetrator wins and the innocent remain wounded and cut off from each other. Why? Because they couldn’t talk about what had happened.

Talking to our children is important. If we can establish preventative cultures of talk then it makes it easier for our children to tell us if something happens to them. It is also easier on protective parents when and if they discover child sexual abuse. Talking about our pain, our betrayal, our shock is far healthier than acting it out and taking the law into our own hands.

Just as we invest in our children’s academic education, so too must we invest in our children’s development of emotional intelligence. Discussions about child safety, what to do if someone tries to touch you, and who to tell, are just as important as learning to read and spell.


The clock is ticking: it’s time for talking. I’d love to hear how and when you talk in your family. Every family's situation is different but talk is something that we can all do – any time, any place, anywhere.

Corporate Pedophilia

Caroline Overington of The Australian, has today written on Innocent Seduction. An excellent article that offers a balanced argument on the alleged sexualisation and exploitation of children through the marketing and advertising of designer children’s wear, I was saddened to read that giant retailer, David Jones, has entered Litigious Street. Demanding that references to their company be removed from an Australian Institute research paper entitled, Corporate Paedophillia (see Revealing Children’s Fashion), David Jones’ CEO has called in the legal guns to support their “reputation for high-quality apparel and corporate decency.”

It would appear that the research report, “Corporate Pedophilia”, has upset many fashion brand labels. Add to this, everyday parents who view that the author of Corporate Pedophilia is way off beam. One father was quoted in Overington’s article as saying that, "Parents are doting on their kids. Children are saturated with love and affection and care."

This may be the case for many families. Certainly, my children are loved and protected as are the children of the vast majority of people that I am friends with. However, the reality is that the rates of child sexual assault remain high and eighty-five percent of child sexual assault is perpetrated by somebody well known to the child. While it is not the corporate entities that are sexually abusing these children, their marketing and advertising may well become skewed in the minds of a voyeuristic child abuser – a person who has access to innocent children, a person who may well collect and read advertising from their mail box and then carries out their perverted thoughts on the children in the home.

Discourse is needed around this. It is the responsibility of all of us to stop pedophilia. Child sexual abuse is an emotive topic and the divide between the believers and those unable to believe is wide. Somehow, we’ve got to find a common ground, a place where both parties can understand what the other is saying.

Many years ago I watched a Dave Allen skit on a scantily clad woman rubbing herself all over a car. The skit was a take off, of a car marketing add. Dave’s punch line was, “Buy this car and you’ll be fuc*ed!” That one line has stayed with me for twenty years. It assisted me to become highly sensitive to the use of sex or sexualised behaviour in marketing. Conversely, advertising that talks directly to pedophiles, telling them that what they are doing is wrong, unacceptable but that there is help for them, would also work on me. I would support that corporate entity in their delivery of exceptional corporate responsible.

If one in three adults have reported in survey that they were sexually abused as children, then this is a high number of potential children’s fashion label buyers, or non buyers. Already I won’t purchase several brands of clothing because the companies openly flaunt sex to sell their product. How many more people are there in the world like me? David Jones may well be concerned that they have been slighted as being non-protective, but it is their reaction that has concerned me to the point that they may well become one of those shops I stop shopping at. They are failing to hear the essence behind the report and have instead personalised it. However, if David Jones displayed corporate responsibility toward ending child sexual abuse, perhaps even donating to treatment programs for sexual offenders, then I would be likely to purchase all of my clothes there. If this was a similar case for the one in three prevalence statistic of people who have claimed sexual abuse then that is a massive increase in potential customers to David Jones or any other fashion label/house.

Please, it is time to end child sexual abuse. To the corporates, we need your help. To everyone else, the corporates that are displaying recognition and action for ending child sexual abuse need our support.


What can we do so that we are all speaking the same language about ending child sexual abuse?

The Political Power of Sexual Abuse

Yet another Australian politician falls from grace because he was caught engaging in unwanted sexualized behaviour toward a young person (alleged sexually harassing text messages to an 18-year-old female). It bothers me greatly that our taxes are not only paying the wages of these perpetrating people, but also that while they engage in unacceptable behaviours, they are tasked with being representative of their electorates or portfolios.

Does being representative of an electorate or portfolio mean that the majority of people in Australia also engage in sexually exploitative or abusive behaviours? On the face of it, it would appear so. The recent and all too regular media surrounding unacceptable sexualized behaviour from politicians makes it sound as though far too many top shelf Australian Civil Servants engage in sexually abusive behaviour. There have been so many public figures under scrutiny for perpetrating a range of personal abuses against others, if they are representative of us, what is happening in non public life?

These perpetrating people have come under the media spot light only because they have been caught. Some have been caught through extensive investigations and some have been caught and found guilty following a single disclosure from a person affected. Although we could argue that it is happening too frequently and that non public life reflects public office, we could also consider that more people than ever before are finally speaking out against abuse perpetrated by a few.

If victims are speaking out now, it is about time. No longer are people disempowered and scared of abusers, threats or deviant behaviours perpetrated by people in positions of authority. No longer will men, women or children be sucked into the rotting hole of blackness that some public figures attempt to keep their victims in. Ordinary people are speaking up, ordinary people are recognizing their own power, their own worth and their own value to our society. Ordinary people are saying: NO way. WE will not tolerate abuse.

Transparency in governance has long been called for. If you do the wrong thing in office, you will be called to task publicly. Whereas once it was referred to as airing dirty laundry in public, it now appears to have become accepted practice that to kill the bugs that breed in dirty laundry, bright sunlight and winds of change are mandatory and sanctioned. What a wonderful sea change to be a part of and thank you to those in office that have fought hard for it.

If Government is for the people, by the people, then our Australian people are speaking against the abuse perpetrated on our children and young people by people in civil positions of authority.

While not all politicians act in such devious or perverted ways, if you are a politician who is hiding your sexually exploitative behaviour, I’d be worried. It would seem the Australian public has had enough and that the power of the media is on their side.

If you have even been abused by a politician or anyone else, please, report it. End sexual abuse: talk about it and take the power away from the perpetrators.


Photo of Parliament House, Canberra, Australia, courtesy of paragen, SXC Photo Exchange.

Bitss of Caramel Marmalade on Toast

My daughter and I have decided to no longer post to her blog site: Toys, books & games protect kids. Child Protection: Serious Business has by far the greatest amount of traffic and it would appear the most sensible and protective thing to do to collate all protective information in the one spot.

Therefore, I am moving the entries about my children's book, Bitss of Caramel Marmalade on Toast: Complete, over to this site so that more people have an opportunity to print either chapters or the entire book as a resource to assist them in keeping their children safe.

This is a copy of the final post about Bitss of Caramel Marmalade on Toast:

The entire book, Bitss of Caramel Marmalade on Toast: A Chapter Each Day, has now been posted, chapter by chapter, to Toys, Books, Games Protect Kids. I do hope that you enjoyed it and I would love to hear some feedback. Just so that the contents are all on a single page, indexed links appear below.

A Dream Introduction
Bit 1. Tart Marmalade or Sweet Caramel
Bit 2. Caramel-Brown Toilet Sausages and Poisoned Worm Jelly
Bit 3. Leaping Tasmanian Devil in Sour Lime Sauce
Bit 4. Catmando and Reef Knots.
Bit 5. Bitssy Gets it Good!
Bit 6. Clown Fish Won't Survive in Limejuice.
Bit 7. The Mellow Yellow Prophecy.
Bit 8. Poison Snake Catches a Rat on the Front Verandah
Bit 9. Snot Nice
Bit 10. Hot Toast with Vegemite.
Bit 11. Off Caramel Smells Like Rotting Lime.
Bit 12. A Dog's Body
Bit 13. The Goodbye Van.
Bit 14. Caramel on Toast.
Bit 15. The Final Dreaming.
Eulogy.

To purchase Bitss of Caramel Marmalade on Toast please visit this eBay store: Duncan's Emporium Gifts and Curios. They are selling the book at only A$12.00 plus postage. RRP is $15.00 (+ p and h)

How to be a true Prince or Princess this Valentine's Day.


All over the world, lovers are making final preparation to their Valentine Day (February the 14th) surprises. In Australia, the Abused Child Trust is encouraging people to remember that not all people love as they should (see Tatts and Tiaras. Valentine's Day of Tough Love).

Eighty five percent of child sexual abuse is perpetrated by somebody well known to the child. This could be either a family member or somebody who has access to the child on a regular basis. This staggering statistic equates to many children developing faulty concepts around what love is and how it is displayed. Shocking for our future survival.

Show a little love this Valentine and donate to the Abused Child Trust. This independent charity works tirelessly to prevent child abuse and support families where child abuse has occurred.

In true Australian Princess regalia, the Abused Child Trust has produced a variety of products to fundraise with on Tatts and Tiara Day, Valentines Day, February 14th. Rub on tatts, tiaras, pens, bracelets, and pins are on sale now.

I met with a few friends yesterday afternoon and took along my box of Tatts and Tiaras. Not aware that our social occasion would turn into a fund raiser, nobody thought twice about supporting the cause. Congratulations and thank you to my friends, we need more people like you to help end the war of terror – child sexual abuse.

On February 14th, I am hosting an Australian Princess dinner party. All my invited guests must attend dressed in their regal splendor, purchase a tatt and tiara to wear AND donate the cost of a meal to the Abused Child Trust. This one small action of fund raising will aim to both consciousness raise and provide a small amount of money for the Abused Child Trust to continue their work in my community. Yes, all monies raised, stay in that town or city. Fantastic.

To participate in Tatts and Tiara Day, contact the Abused Child Trust NOW. There is still time to receive a small box of merchandise to sell.

Show some heart this Valentine’s. Remember those children who go unloved.

Australian Aboriginal Leader Guilty of Gang Rapes

Past head of the now defunct Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission, Jeff Clarke, is guilty of leading two pack rapes and has been ordered to pay $20,000.00 in damages to his victim.

The rapes occurred in 1971, 35 years ago. Australia has no statute of limitations on sexual assaults and the victim did not come forward until Mr Clarke’s cousin disclosed that Mr Clarke had raped her when she was a teenager.

In a jubilant moment, the once victim encouraged other victims of childhood sexual assault to gain strength from the verdict. "Truth's out, the reality's out," she said. "There's a lot of people out there who have been waiting on this outcome ... they can do it, they've got power."

Sexual Assault and Rape are not about sex: they are power crimes. Designed to bring pleasure only to the attacker and degradation, violation and fear to the victim, sexual assaults and rapes will remain unchallenged until victims start taking their power back and the community starts listening.

Mr Clarke’s abusive behaviour has not occurred in a vacuum. He has a long history of being in trouble with authorities.

· 1952: Geoff Clark born to Aboriginal mother and father of Scottish descent. Raised by his grandmother Alice.
· 1967: First conviction for robbery in company, receiving, housebreaking and stealing; gets two years' probation.
· 1970: Sentenced to 12 months in youth training centre for assault, serves eight months.
· 1971: In March and April leads two pack rapes against Carol Anne Stingel.
· 1996: Elected in December to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission board after rising through ranks of Aboriginal activists in Victoria.
· 1999: Becomes first elected chairman of ATSIC in December.
· 2000: Cousin Joanne McGuinness alleges Clark raped her in 1981 when she was 18. Insufficient evidence to send case to trial.
· 2001: The Age publishes claims Clark raped four women in the 1970s and '80s.
· March 2002: Clark guest of honour at the Lodge, Canberra.
· August 2002: Stingel files statement of claim alleging Clark raped her when she was16.
· December 2002: Clark and "Sugar" Ray Robinson are re-elected ATSIC chairman and deputy chairman, despite both facing serious legal scrutiny.
· February 2003: The Australian reveals ATSIC has agreed in principle to allocate $45,000 for Clark to fight criminal charges arising from a pub brawl.
· March 2003: The Australian reveals Clark took his wife, Trudy, on a $31,000 taxpayer-funded trip to Ireland because "she deserved a break".
· March 2003: Clark convicted in Warrnambool magistrates court on two criminal charges arising from a pub brawl on May 1, 2002. He appeals and is partially successful.
· April 2003: Then indigenous affairs minister Philip Ruddock sets the stage for using the federal budget to strip ATSIC of control of its $1.2 billion budget.
· April 2003: McGuinness begins civil action against Clark.
· July 2003: Ruddock sends Clark a letter asking him to show cause why he should not be removed for misleading the minister and bringing the national indigenous body into disrepute.
· August 2003: Clark handed suspension notice while attending ATSIC meeting in Darwin.
· February 2004: Victorian judge John Hanlon finds Clark led two pack rapes against a woman 33 years ago. The decision is overturned on appeal in May 2005 and the judge is criticised for his ruling.
· 2004: John Howard announces abolition of ATSIC.
· 2006: High Court gives Stingel the right to bring her case before a jury.
· January 31, 2007: Victorian County Court jury finds Clark raped Stingel.
Stuart Rintoul. The Australian, Feb 01, 2007


Until we report all crimes and stop accepting sexual assaults as normal male behaviour, we will be unable to adequately profile the escalation of criminal behaviours. It is well supported that sexual deviance, particularly adolescence sexual deviance, often follows a pattern of escalation. Reporting incidents as they occur allows for healing and prevention.

A compensation payout to victims of assaults does little to prevent crime from occurring again. It is time for our world to be proactive in protecting our children while they are children. In the words of Jeff Clarke’s victim: you’ve “got power.”

This world is full of men and women who have long carried the guilt and burden of having been assaulted as children. The crime is not theirs. The crime belongs to the perpetrators, those people who often go unchecked and move on to increasingly violent crimes because few people talk about, or report, sexual assault when it occurs.

It’s time to talk. Were you sexually assaulted as a child and never told anyone? Leave an anonymous comment and give strength to yourself and others not yet brave enough to talk about what happened to them.

For those interested in follow up reading or evidenced based interventions for working with children who sexually offend, here’s an excellent Literature Review compiled by the Australian Childhood Foundation: Children who engage in Problem Sexual Behaviours: Context Characteristics and Treatment.

 
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