RAINN Celebrates Speakers Bureau Members in Lean On Me

RAINN would like to take a moment to celebrate Jann Simmons, L’Tomay Douglas, Jerome Whitehead, all members of RAINN’s Speakers Bureau who have participated in the creation of Lean On Me: A Caregiver’s Guide to Safeguarding Children and Supporting Healing from Sexual Abuse. This guide is designed to help individuals recognize and reduce online risks to children, illustrate how families and children are groomed, educate the community on the signs of sexual abuse, provide strategies to care for children who have been sexually abused, and suggest ways for caregivers to to practice self-care.

L’Tomay Douglas answered a question that many people are asking: What can we do and suggest to individuals who want to protect their children from abuse by a family member?

L’Tomay’s answered by saying “if trauma is not transformed, it’s transmitted.”

The most important thing that a trusted adult can offer in a child’s life is support, validation, and empathy. Trauma is transformed when adults start believing and listening to children and when adults notice if a child’s behavior and/or emotions have drastically changed.

Jann Simmons shared what it was like for her as a child and how the abuse affected her.

“If someone had taken the time to notice my behavior of being extremely withdrawn...I was always very terrified; I didn't speak much[,] I didn't interact much. I think those are telltale signs that a caregiver or a parent can watch for in a child because that's not child behavior. They're playful, they're energetic, and I wasn't; I was extremely withdrawn because I was terrified of being hurt.”

Grooming is covered in the Lean On Me guidebook and it offers extensive information on the stages of grooming. There are six stages including targeting the child, gaining the child’s and caregiver’s trust, filling a need, isolating the child, sexualizing the relationship, and maintaining control.

Jerome responds to individuals asking that important question: What can we do and suggest to individuals who want to protect their children from abuse by a family member?

Jerome says that “kids need to understand grooming and how it can happen to anyone.”

The beginning of eradicating child sexual abuse is through education. Thank you Jann Simmons, Jerome Whitehead, and L’Tomay Douglas for being leaders in the fight against sexual violence.

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