Scouting, Volume 82, Number 2, March-April 1994 Page: 42
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It Shouldn't Hurt (from page 37)
about the potential damage that we
are doing to children. There are plen-
ty of studies about the importance of
healing, nurturing touch."
Organizations should have guide-
lines that define the boundaries for
physical interaction with children
that recognize the differences be-
tween exploitive touching and
healthy touching that children need.
• Barbara Bonner, director of the
Center of Child Abuse and Neglect,
presented a workshop on "The Ef-
fects of Sexual Abuse on Children."
She indicated that a number of fac-
tors determine what the effects of
child sexual abuse are, but these fac-
tors may vary from child to child.
Since most children are not evalu-
ated prior to the abuse, it is hard to
separate the effects of sexual abuse
from other factors that influence psy-
cho-social development, such as
chaotic family life, divorce, and other
conditions in existence before the
Some signs of sexual abuse include
sleeping disorders, avoidance of the
abuser, depression, substance abuse,
and high levels of fearfulness. Other
children may be so desensitized that
they are virtually nonresponsive. A
single behavior is not a reliable sign
of child sexual abuse. However, if a
child persistently talks about sex in-
appropriately, sexual abuse may be
• Susan Phipps-Yonas, a psychologist
from Minneapolis, in a "Sexual Abuse
Disclosure and False Accusations"
workshop, pointed out that, "There
are a lot of questions being raised
about the credibility of children in al-
legations of sexual abuse."
She used several scenarios to illus-
trate the complexities involved in de-
termining the credibility of sexual-
"It is more the exception than the
rule that young children will disclose
sexual abuse directly," she said. Most
often, the child will start by saying
that "I don't like so-and-so." Or the
disclosure process begins by an alert
adult noticing that the child is acting
differently than normal.
The old axiom that "children don't
lie" is most able to be disproved by
the fact that children will deny that
abuse happened when, in fact, it did.
The disclosure process usually begins
by revealing the least bad parts first
(Top) The BSA booth highlighted Youth
Protection resources available. (Above)
Dr. Michael Finkelhor discussed pros,
cons of criminal background checks.
and, as belief is established, more of
the story. Credibility increases as the
child understands the details of the
abuse and is consistent about what
• Joyce Thomas, director of the
People of Color Leadership Institute,
led a workshop on "Cultural Per-
spectives and Child-Abuse Pre-
vention." She pointed out that in a
multicultural society "family struc-
tures are likely to be different, family
supports are likely to be different,
[and] family needs are likely to be dif-
It is important that youth-serving
organizations take steps to under-
stand the nature of these differences.
As an example, to accommodate this
difference many of the BSA youth
protection materials are available in
• Deborah Daro, director of research
for the National Committee for Pre-
vention of Child Abuse, conducted a
workshop on "Child Safety Cur-
riculum Standards." She pointed out
that the way our nation has ad-
dressed child sexual abuse is differ-
ent from how it has addressed other
forms of abuse—the focus in sexual-
abuse prevention has been more on
the victim than on the perpetrator.
Physical-abuse prevention pro-
grams are very broad, focusing more
on the entire family than on the child,
seeking to change parental behavior.
In cases of sexual-abuse prevention,
studies indicate that parents want
their children to be educated about
prevention, but many feel uncomfort-
able about talking with their children
about this form of abuse.
Awareness of the occurrence of
sexual abuse has increased so that in
1967 there were 7,000 reported cases
of child sexual abuse; in 1992 there
were 460,000 reported cases.
• Dr. David Chadwick, director of the
Center for Protection at Children's
Hospital in San Diego, Calif., pre-
sented a workshop relating societal
values to the occurrence of child
abuse. Dr. Chadwick advanced his
thesis that "as a society it is hard to
say that we are practicing what we
preach." Parents feel proprietary
about their children and do not like
others to tell them what to do.
Dr. Chadwick stated that the mo-
bility of today's society and the re-
sulting loss of a sense of "neighbor-
hood" has produced a lack of com-
munity involvement in the raising of
Some things that Dr. Chadwick
suggested that governments and
communities might do to help pre-
vent family violence include: avoiding
premature parenthood; having child
care at the work site; providing bet-
ter parent training and leave to give
mom and dad some time to get to
know the infant and form lasting life-
time bonds; developing adequate ser-
vices at schools and other places
where children are; and teaching chil-
dren how to avoid abuse.
Dr. Chadwick cited the BSA's
Youth Protection emphasis as exem-
plary and said that the videotapes "A
Time to Tell" and "It Happened to
Me" were excellent examples of ma-
terials designed to empower children
to prevent sexual abuse. [Note: "A
Time to Tell" is available for use by
troop leaders to inform their Boy
Scouts about child sexual abuse pre-
vention. "It Happened to Me" is pro-
duced for Cub Scout-age boys. Both
are available from local council ser-
Other workshops examined the
different approaches used by organi-
zations in their child-abuse preven-
tion programs. Sheriff Johnnie Klev-
enhagen, an executive board member
of the Sam Houston Area Council,
explained how the BSA has become
the child-abuse prevention resource
for Houston, Tex., providing training
for 6,000 non-Scouters and more than
3,000 Scouting volunteers.
Scouting rjf March-April 1994
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Boy Scouts of America. Scouting, Volume 82, Number 2, March-April 1994, periodical, March 1994; Irving, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth353616/m1/42/: accessed August 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Boy Scouts of America National Scouting Museum.