Pinwheels are a collection of beautiful colors, but what they represent in this community is very ugly.
They symbolize a substantiated child abuse case and soon, you will see them popping up in your community serving as a reminder.
"I think public awareness is crucial to see any improvement and that's what this campaign is all about," said Linda Hogan from the Department of Families and Children.
The pinwheels are helping to mark the beginning of child abuse awareness month.
Case manager Sandra Woodruff says though the pinwheels may be small, it represents the large scope of the problem in our area. By educating the community, she hopes it will put a stop to abuse and neglect.
The Grady County Children and Youth Coordinating Council has also been working aggressively in the fight against abuse. The Council has implemented several abuse prevention programs with great success.
"It is something we feel strongly about and we feel really good that Grady County is making such strides in bringing our numbers down and educating our populous," said Deborah Loftiss from the Council.
If you notice one of these pinwheels this month, those who work with abused and neglected children everyday want you to remember what it really stands for.
Grady and Thomas County have also started similar programs that educate new parents about childcare, a first step in prevention.
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Sexual Abuse on Children Facts
- 1 in 4 girls will be sexually abused before the age of 18.
- 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused before the age of 18.
- Over 71 percent of child abuse is committed by someone the child knew and trusted.
- Approximately one-third of all juvenile victims of sexual abuse cases are children under the age of 6.
- Somewhere in the U.S. a woman is raped approximately every 2 minutes, but somewhere in the world a child is being abused every few seconds.
Do’s and Don’t when a child tells you about an incident of sexual abuse.
- Keep calm. It is important to remember that you are not angry with the child, but at what happened. Children can mistakenly interpret anger or disgust as directed towards them.
- Believe the child. In most circumstances children do not lie about sexual abuse.
- Give positive messages such as "I know you couldn't help it," or "I'm proud of you for telling."
- Explain to the child that he or she is not to blame for what happened.
- Listen to and answer the child's questions honestly.
- Respect the child's privacy. Be careful not to discuss the abuse in front of people who do not need to know what happened.
- Be Responsible. Report the incident to the Department of Human Services. They can help protect the child's safety and provide resources for further help.
- Arrange a medical exam. It can reassure you that there has been no permanent physical damage and may verify important evidence.
- Get help. Get competent professional counseling, even if it's only for a short time.
- Panic or overreact when the child talks about the experience. Children need help and support to make it through this difficult time.
- Pressure the child to talk or avoid talking about the abuse. Allow the child to talk at her or his own pace. Forcing information can be harmful. Silencing the child will not help her or him to forget.
- Confront the offender in the child's presence. The stress may be harmful. This is a job for the authorities.
- Blame the child. Sexual abuse is never the child’s fault.
Source: A collection of Web Reports contributed to this report