Saturday, April 18, 2009

The blue ribbon is the international symbol for Child Abuse Prevention

In recognition of child abuse awareness day I spent some time making ribbons for Friday, and on each ribbon I placed a tiny pink or blue hand. On Thursday, I passed out the ribbons at work to those employees who report directly to me, and I also dropped a ribbon off at dear therapist’s office. On Friday morning, my son wore blue pants and a blue shirt & my daughter proudly wore a blue ribbon with a tiny pink hand, even dear husband wore blue on Friday. And when I arrived at work on Friday I was happy to see the ribbons proudly displayed on the shirts in the office.

Not only was Friday CA awareness day it was also the monthly staff meeting at my office. Typically, I am not able to attend these meetings as I have scheduling conflicts most months. It just so happened that yesterday, a meeting had been rescheduled which left my calendar clear for this hour. The free space in the calendar was noticed by one of my managers who was quick to remind me that due to my conference calls, meetings and travel that half of the staff don’t even know who I am. I enjoy the meetings and talking with the staff, understanding and recognizing their successes as well as their struggles, so I was happy to be attending this monthly meeting for the first time in several months.

Departmental and individual achievements were recognized, monthly and year to date results were reviewed. The employee of the month named and commended for her exceptional hard work and dedication. Anniversaries were recognized and awards were given. It was announced that birthday cake would be offered after the meeting to celebrate and honor those on staff who were born in the month of April. The staff members were jovial and content; the results are good, there is a sense of job security in this unstable economy, and not only was it Friday, but there was cake!

At the end of the meeting it was announced that there would be a pizza party on May 15th in honor of National Pizza Party day, and to see (staff member name) if you were interested in participating in this celebration. It was after the declaration of ‘National Pizza Party day’ celebration that I scanned the room and other than the ribbons I had handed out to my managers, there was not another ribbon visible in the room. Not one blue ribbon, not one mention of what we were observing in the current day ~ just excitement over pizza.

I was discouraged and disheartened when I left the meeting~ but still proudly displaying my ribbon. My discouragement was lifted a bit when I received an email later that night from DT, thanking me for dropping the ribbon off at her office, and letting me know that she was proudly wearing it during her evening work at the hospital, and even explaining the meaning to those who asked her what the ribbon represented.

What does that blue ribbon represent? The blue ribbon is the international symbol for Child Abuse Prevention. The color blue was chosen to represent the bruised and battered bodies of the thousands of children that are abused every day. It serves as a constant reminder that all of us have a responsibility to help keep children safe.

Every 6 hours a child in the United States dies from abuse or neglect

Child abuse kills more children in America than accidental falls, choking on food, suffocation or fires in the home.

More than 8 out of 10 abused children are abused by their own parents…
Mothers are most often the perpetrators. They either physically abuse their children or severely neglect meeting their basic needs of food and safe shelter.
Fathers, step-fathers, friends, and neighbors are generally the perpetrators of sexual abuse.

One in 3-4 girls and one in 6 boys have been molested by age 18 …
Boys report less than girls70-90% of the molesters are family members or friends62% of pregnant and parenting teens were raped, molested, or sexually assaulted prior to their first pregnancy.

Children age 3 and younger are consistently the most victimized group.

In 2005, more than 3.5 million children were reported as victims of child abuse or neglect.
And the staggering truth is that before today is over, four children will DIE because their little bodies cannot bear any more abuse. And another four will die tomorrow, and the next day, and the horror continues, each and every day.

Child abuse is an American epidemic.

Of course, there were over 3 billion pizzas sold in the U.S. last year…so perhaps the consumption of pizza is an epidemic too…and it is a much easier topic to discuss.

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