The Blue Ribbon Neighborhood Watch Campaign In 1983, April was proclaimed National Child Abuse prevention Month. As a result, child abuse prevention and awareness activities are promoted across the country during April of each year. The Office on Child Abuse and Neglect (OCAN) within the Children’s Bureau coordinates Child Abuse Prevention Month activities at the Federal level, providing information and releasing updated national statistics about child abuse and neglect. In 1989, the Blue Ribbon Campaign to prevent child abuse began as a Virginia grandmother’s tribute to her grandson who died as a result of abuse. She tied a blue ribbon to the antenna of her car as a way to remember him and to alert her community to the tragedy of child abuse. The blue ribbon is now the symbol of Child Abuse Prevention much as the pink ribbon is the symbol of Breast Cancer Awareness. The Blue Ribbon is a term used to describe or symbolize something of high importance hence its frequent use. Since, it has been so linked to Child Abuse Prevention that whenever you Google it, it should be the first thing you see. Bill Murray, of the National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Abuse of which The Healing Branch is a member, is a popular host on Blog Talk Radio. He initiated the Blue Ribbon Neighborhood Watch program, marrying the two sister organizations www.LACP.org and www.NAASCA.org. Of significant importance to them is the combination of already existing public safety-minded groups and getting them to discuss the issues of child abuse/Child Sexual Abuse. In my little corner of the world I’m doing what I can to get as many people as possible to wear a blue ribbon during the month of April each year.
Child sexual abuse is a huge part of child abuse and not a pleasant topic of discussion. Despite the 63 million survivors in the United States (up from 60 million just two years ago) most people still would rather not talk about it…that is unless they are a survivor. Most survivors or parents of survivors are dying inside to talk to someone about what happened to them or their loved one. But no one wants to listen. A large number of therapists don’t even want to listen. I receive so many emails and phone call from people who are desperate to talk about their experiences with the inappropriate sexual behavior of others, only to find out that they have no education on the issue, no tools or resources to turn to to get help with this very ugly thing that has happened. We can’t continue to turn our back on those who have been sexually abused as a child and needs help. A few decades ago people didn’t speak about Uncle Willy who was an alcoholic. If they did they referred to him as not feeling well or he has some medical problem or any words they could use to disguise the real problem. Today, as a result of AA, we can tell the world if we are an alcoholic and feel no shame. Today we can help to heal ourselves. Why are we not allowing the same standards for child abuse/child sexual abuse that is so devastating, and that destroys lives as surely as cancer does. I am speaking with city officials about heightening the awareness in our community of child sexual abuse. I am giving talks. I am sending messages all over the Internet. I am doing anything I can so that the whole world will wear blue ribbons and raise the awareness of Child Abuse/Child Sexual Abuse. This year will be the 30th anniversary of the proclamation by Ronald Reagan of Child Abuse Awareness Month. We still have time to get our act together, to get rid of our aversion to that “yucky sex stuff”. But we have a dress rehearsal each April. So everyone, please, wear a blue ribbon during this month. You will not only be proclaiming awareness of this epidemic. You will be demonstrating the proof of your courage to the world. Stand Up for Children, Speak out and Break the Silence of Child Sexual Abuse!