The Hockomock Area YMCA is helping to break the ice on a topic that is not always easy to talk about - childhood sexual abuse. The Y is participating in a national program to raise awareness in its five member communities, including Foxborough, about the issue of childhood sexual abuse.
Tony Calcia, Vice President for child protection and social responsibility at the YMCA, presented Foxborough selectmen, June 14, the Y's plan for raising awareness on childhood sexual abuse through the Darkness to Light "Stewards of Children program."
"Child protection is extremely important," noted Calcia.
Darkness to Light is a national nonprofit, which currently operates in 49 states and 27 countries around the world.
The Darkness to Light "Stewards of Children training program" is the first training program of it's kind. The program is geared for adults and focuses on prevention through raising awareness and providing education. The training is video based and features adult survivors of sexual abuse retelling their own personal story.
The training program also features a seven-step guide to protecting children including a policy guide, red flags and how to communicate with a child.
Calcia said their goal by implementing the program is to have 5 percent of the community population go through the training.
"Our goal is the "tipping point" theory, meaning when you can reach 5 percent of the adult population on an issue, that is when behavioral change takes place and a cultural shift takes place," he said.
Calcia, a passionate advocate for the prevention of childhood sexual abuse, listed out some alarming statistics related to the issue.
"1 and 4 girls and 1 and 6 boys are abused before they reach their 18th birthday," he said. "90 percent of children know they have been abused."
Calcia went onto note that 90 percent of the time, a caught abuser will have no prior criminal record of any kind.
The Y has been reaching out to local religious organizations, school groups and recreation programs to solicit volunteers interested in receiving the training.
"I am thrilled the community of Foxborough has embraced this," said Calcia.