COLUMBUS (WCMH) — A hashtag with two simple words ‘Me Too’ has gone viral and become a national movement addressing sexual harassment and abuse. Lawmakers and experts across the state say it’s time to start the conversation with our children before they too become victims.
A bipartisan bill in the house would require sexual abuse education in the classroom so children will learn the difference between good touch and bad touch and how to connect them with resources if they feel like they are being abused.
Lawmakers are calling it a silent epidemic, as many children are sexually abused, but don’t feel safe enough to ask for help.
“The statistics are 1-in-6 boys and 1-in-4 boys may be abused in some way before they turn 18,” said Democratic representative Dan Ramos.
Ohio lawmakers Dan Ramos and Christina Hagan have been working to come up with a law that would teach children what is appropriate and not appropriate when someone touches them. Similar bills have already passed in 31 states and have been introduced in 17 others.
“Where there is a gap in the law that would help prevent it, even if it would help prevent an act of abuse. That is something we should address,” said Ramos.
Daneisha Walker, Family Support Clinical Coordinator for the Family Center for Safety and Healing, works with families and children who have experienced some type of trauma.
“What we want to establish with for the children is that it is okay and that they are really brave for being able to come and talk about this,” said Walker.
Walker says it is important to keep communication open with a trusted adult.
“We do know that research has shown us that when children are believed and supported their trajectory moving forward in life with the resiliency and moving through healing is much higher,” said Walker.
The National Children Trauma Stress Network has resources on how to talk to your children about abuse as a family. http://www.nctsn.org/