News roundup: Tampa woman blames heart attack on abuse, not genes; 12 states changing sex abuse laws; men who experienced sex abuse find help

News roundup: Tampa woman blames heart attack on abuse, not genes; 12 states changing sex abuse laws; men who experienced sex abuse find help

Psychological trauma can scar health for years — Tampa Tribune reporter Mary Shedden focuses on Carolyn Hennecy, who sees herself as example of a study done at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston that

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Project Unbreakable: where child sex abuse survivors reveal abusers’ words

Project Unbreakable: where child sex abuse survivors reveal abusers’ words

Secrets erupt on page after page from people who are pictured on Project Unbreakable, long-held secrets in the words on the posters they’re holding. Words that fathers and step-fathers and grandfathers and mothers and brothers and boyfriends  and dates and acquaintances said while abusing or raping them. “Now…Tell me you love me,” says one poster. “It is not going to hurt if you just relax,” says another.

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Court/legal news roundup: Therapy dogs; mandatory reporting in Texas; child abuse reporting is hard

Therapy dog program helps prosecutors in court — This nice overview that Jeremy Bordon did for the Washington Post last month is seeing wide distribution. It focuses on how dogs are being used to help young victims in Prince William County, VA, feel comfortable about relating the details of their trauma. Continue reading

Get gobsmacked about child trauma, genes and your life with this online course

Did you know that child trauma (abuse and other serious childhood adversity):

…is a leading cause of early death in adulthood?

…is a main cause of our high health-care costs, special education needs, high rates of kids failing

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Less than 1/3 of Penn State media coverage included solutions, prevention info

An analysis of early coverage of the Penn State University child abuse tragedy showed that 155 news reports published in the nine days following the arrest of former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky provided a “broader perspective” than a previous analysis of child sex abuse coverage and more “precise language”. But the coverage fell short in addressing solutions for preventing child trauma.

Final grade:  “C”.

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Wednesday/January 11 roundup

Is Our Society Prejudiced Against Children? – In her blog that appears on, pediatrician Claudia Gold reviews Childism: Confronting Prejudice Against Children, which was published yesterday. The book was written by Elisabeth Young-Bruehl, who died last month. Here’s part of Gold’s compelling review for what looks like a compelling book:

Following the history of the field of Child Abuse and Neglect (CAN) studies, she (Young-Bruehl) finds that “from the
start [this field] took attention away from abusers and their motivations; and it implied that children could be helped without their abusers being helped.” Furthermore, she describes Child Protective Services (CPS) as a “rescue service — a child saving service — not a family service supporting child development generally and helping parents…” Rather than setting up a system of treatment, CPS became “an investigative service…a situation in which bad families suspected of making their children bad will be invaded and infiltrated.” Young- Breuhl has empathy for both parent and child, arguing that failure to support families is a manifestation of childism. Continue reading

Tuesday/January 10 roundup

35% of child sex abuse caused by minors — Time Health picked up this fascinating article by Associated Press reporter David Crary, who did a good job at describing the tragic complexity surrounding the minors that commit child sex abuse.

For many of the therapists and attorneys who deal with them, these juvenile offenders pose a profoundly complicated challenge for the child-protection and criminal justice systems. It’s a diverse group that defies stereotypes, encompassing a minority of youths who represent a threat of long-term danger to others and a majority who are responsive to treatment and unlikely to reoffend. “There’s a long continuum, from kids who will never do it again to a kid who probably will be an adult rapist/pedophile,” said Steve Bengis, executive director of the New England Adolescent Research Institute in Holyoke, Mass. “It’s not a ‘one size fits all’ yet we end out with public policy that’s geared toward the worst 5 percent.” Continue reading

Monday/Jan 9 roundup

Missouri child abuse task force meets for first time. The 16-member Task Force for the Prevention of Sexual Abuse of Children met, the Springfield News-Leader reported. “Lawmakers created the task force during the previous legislative session to investigate causes and cures for abuse,” according to the report. Task force members met last Friday for the first time, but haven’t decided exactly what they’ll do yet.

Crying Baby program used in two Colorado hospitals. Since 2009, every new parent at hospitals in Colorado Springs and Fort Carson watches a 15-minute video, talks with a nurse, and signs a pledge not to abuse their child, according to KRDO-TV in
Colorado Springs. “Parents keep a copy which includes the phone number for KPC Kids Place , a center in Colorado Springs that provides free care for children if parents feel overwhelmed.”

Teen says community needs to support abuse victims. In an interesting guest column in the San Jose Mercury News, Kim Jejia-Cuellar, who attends Media Academy in Oakland, CA, writes: “Often at my high school, teenagers play around, touching each other’s hair and play-fighting by calling each other names. Some may not think it’s a big deal, but the truth is that many times it is. Not everyone feels comfortable playing that way. Throughout my years in high school, I’ve noticed that teachers don’t always step in to stop the name-calling or the play-fighting.”

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“Poverty solution that starts with hug”…NYTimes’ Kristoff on pediatrics policy

Nicholas Kristoff lauded the American Academy of Pediatrics’ policy statement in his column in the New York Times yesterday.

This month, the American Academy of Pediatrics is issuing a landmark warning that this toxic stress can harm children for life. I’m as skeptical as anyone of headlines from new medical studies (Coffee is good for you! Coffee is bad for you!), but that’s not what this is.

Rather, this is a “policy statement” from the premier association of pediatricians, based on two decades of scientific research. This has revolutionary implications for medicine and for how we can more effectively chip away at poverty and crime.

It’s definitely worth taking a look at, as well as the 98 comments (as of this evening) about the column. As a whole, they’re nearly as interesting and informative Kristoff’s thoughts.

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