The Stewards of Children is a child sexual abuse prevention program created for adults by Darkness to Light. It is an evidence based program that teaches ways to prevent, recognize, and respond to abuse, and exercises that empower and motivate participants to protect children proactively. Research suggests that the average trained adult will better protect at least 10 children in the years after training. (Darkness to Light, 2010) With the proliferation of Internet pornography, sexual boundaries between adults and minors have become blurred. It is anticipated that the prevalence of child sexual abuse will increase as individuals chasing the ‘dopamine high’ of online fantasy escalate to increasingly dangerous behaviors. It is imperative that adults know how to effectively protect children from sexual abuse.
SavvyGirls is an innovative workshop forum for girls in Western New York. The program combines self-esteem building materials with critical media literacy skill building by iOppose. SavvyGirls will empower girls to feel better about themselves and make healthier choices despite the adverse influences of a sexualized media. This workshop can be held either over a series of weeks or a one-day program.
Three of the most common mental health problems among girls: eating disorders, low self esteem and depression are linked with early sexualization. (2007 Report of the APA Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls) By the time a girl is 17 years old, she has received over 250,000 commercial messages through the media. An average of 56% of these messages in teen magazines aimed at female viewers use the pursuit of beauty as a product appeal. Marketers use aspirational marketing techniques to manipulate young girls’ natural tendency to idealize older kids and adults. This constant exposure influences girls to become self-conscious about their bodies and to obsess over their physical appearance as a measure of their worth. Beauty should be a source of confidence not anxiety. (http://www.healthyplace.com/eating-disorders/)
We at iOppose understand that there is a direct relationship between what the media produces for girls and girls’ perception of themselves. With this program we are able to help girls maintain a sense of confidence throughout their lives by helping them understand how the media affects them and make them wise and discerning consumers. We are projecting that SavvyGirls will become the Western New York model program for equipping our girls (and then boys) with healthy self esteem and media awareness and literacy.
iOppose partners with other organizations in various ways to help fight sexual abuse and exploitation. One of these organizations is Darkness to Light, a nonprofit which has various resources on its site Darkness to Light regarding related issues. We encourage anyone interested to take a look at what they have to offer as well.
The Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation is another organization that we partner with, please check their website for more information