April is a month in which some local organizations are doing their best to prevent some of the worst crimes from scarring the lives of Central New York’s Children. If you look around the community, one simple symbol might help.
You might start seeing pinwheels around the Syracuse Community, like those placed in Columbus Circle today. They’re meant to represent a happy childhood…while raising awareness about something that means anything but – child abuse. McMahon-Ryan Child Advocacy Center Director Linda Cleary knows there are a lot of barriers to finding out when and how children are being abused.
“It’s a scary topic. People are not comfortable enough to talk about it. You know it took years for people to start talking about domestic violence and we need to get to that same stage where people are not afraid to talk about child abuse. The difference is that most children don’t disclose when it happens. They very often don’t disclose until they’re an adult.”
One way to help is to believe a child who’s talking about abuse. Cleary says the worst thing you can do is to say “it didn’t happen” or “I don’t believe you.” She wonders if more open conversation about the topic throughout the community might lead to more disclosure.
“If more people would start talking about child abuse we believe more children would feel comfortable to disclose if they’ve been abused. But it also gives adults the ability to recognize it and try to help prevent it.”
Cleary adds 90-percent of children who are abused suffer the physical or sexual attacks from someone they know, be it family or friend, that makes it even harder to talk about. April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month.
The McMahon-Ryan center will be selling pinwheels, wrist bands and pinwheel lapel pins all month to raise awareness…in the hopes that more of the pinwheels really might represent more happy childhoods.
McMahon Ryan has a child abuse or neglect reporting hotline: 1-800-342-3720. More information can be found here: McMahon/Ryan.
OTHER CHILD ABUSE PREVENTION EVENTS IN APRIL
Bull & Bear Pub Celebrity Bartending Night - April 9th
5:30 pm - 7:00 pm in Hanover Square, Syracuse
All tips from this event will directly benefit programs and services at the McMahon/Ryan
Child Advocacy Center.
Shine A Light On Child Abuse Awards Ceremony - April 14th
4:30 pm -- The United Way of Central New York
This new awards ceremony will recognize dedicated individuals, who have tirelessly volunteered their time to child abuse awareness and prevention in Onondaga County.
The Pinwheel Ball - April 18th
6:00 pm -- The Oncenter, Syracuse
The fundraising gala will feature dinner, music by Prime Time, and live and silent auctions to benefit the McMahon/Ryan Child Advocacy Center.
A Call To Service and Compassion - April 28th
5:30 pm -- Bellevue Heights United Methodist Church
The community will unite with the powerful message of support at this annual multi-faith prayer service in observance of National Child Abuse Prevention Month. All agencies, providers, counselors, victims/survivors, and their families and friends are invited to attend.