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The Therapist as Activist: Speaking Out to Eliminate Child Sexual Abuse

Don't do nothing because you can't do everything.
Do something. Anything.

—Colleen Patrick-Goudreau

November 19 is the World Day for the Prevention of Child Abuse, and the Women's World Summit Foundation is calling for "19 days of activism" from November 1 -19, 2011.

As therapists, we fervently hope for the day when there are no child sexual abuse victims to treat. Until that day comes, in addition to providing compassionate, expert therapy for survivors of abuse, we can serve our communities as activists and educators.

Consider the following action steps for early November (or any time):

  • Write an article or a Letter to the Editor for your local paper on some aspect of child sexual abuse.
  • Contact your elected officials to express your concern about maintaining programs, services, and research related to child abuse.
  • Offer to participate in a community coalition or task force to address any form of violence that affects children.
  • Use your confrontation and communication skills to challenge colleagues who use sexist or oppressive language in describing clients, or who engage in victim-blaming during case conferences.
  • Urge your professional association to focus on issues related to child abuse and neglect.
  • Provide training for other professionals in your community on the topic of child sexual abuse (perhaps in collaboration with your local sexual assault program).

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Reviewed: July 11th, 2016