RAINN Supporter on What Parents Need to Know

Each month, RAINN highlights a member of its National Leadership Council (NLC). The NLC is a group of dedicated individuals who have shown their commitment to RAINN’s mission of supporting survivors and ending sexual violence. This month we checked in with E. Desiree Asher, board member of the Child Rescue Coalition.

Why are you passionate about ending sexual violence and why should everyone be?

Sexual violence breaks people. It breaks families. It fundamentally takes away a person’s basic level of safety, and that trauma can last a lifetime.

How can we all be better supporters and advocates for survivors in our lives?

First and foremost, we need to BELIEVE survivors. We need to actively listen to their stories, even when it makes us uncomfortable. We need to support their voices and their healing. Mostly, I think we can support survivors by asking them what they need from us and following their lead.

What is your message to survivors?

I see you. I hear you. I believe you.

What do we need to do as a country to prevent sexual violence?

It is imperative that we demand more law enforcement officers that are solely dedicated to arresting predators. Many sheriffs and district attorneys are elected positions. We need to ask our candidates if arresting and prosecuting predators is a priority, and vote in alignment with their responses. We need to demand that our elected officials take sexual violence extremely seriously, and we can do that with our voices and our votes.

Why did you want to be a part of RAINN’s National Leadership Council?

It would be impossible to be dedicated to ending sexual violence and not be a RAINN supporter. RAINN saves lives, aids in legislation to help survivors, and has absolutely changed the national dialogue around sexual violence. I am fully on board with the mission of RAINN.

How has your passion for ending sexual violence influenced other areas of your life?

My sister, Carly Yoost, and I founded Child Rescue Coalition specifically to end sexual violence against young children. We work with law enforcement in all 50 states and in 96 countries across the globe to track, arrest, and prosecute child predators. Child sexual predators typically abuse between 50 and 150 victims over their lifetime, so one arrest can protect over 100 children from future sexual violence and abuse. That startling fact drives most areas of my life.

Throughout your involvement with RAINN and the Child Rescue Coalition, what have you learned about child sexual abuse prevention that you think all parents should know?

The scariest statistic with child sexual violence is that, in 86% of cases, the predator knows the victim. We have arrested doctors, coaches, teachers, and clergy. Parents must be diligent about who has access to their children. Furthermore, predators no longer have to be in the same room with our kids to victimize them. We invite them into our homes through the internet. Always monitor your child’s online activity, and do not allow devices in the bedroom or bathrooms, or in any room where you are not present. Make sure children are not engaging with strangers on their electronic devices. Mostly, trust your gut and engage in open conversations with your children about what is and is not appropriate child/adult contact.