We love ’em to death
Today’s 10 highest grossing box office releases are about animals, including: “Finding Dory,” “The Jungle Book,” “Zootopia,” “The Secret Life of Pets,” and “Kung Fu Panda.” Nearly half of our households include a dog and nearly 40 percent have a cat. Two thirds of us view them as family members and cherish them accordingly. We love our animals to death.
For every cat, dog, or other animal that we love and cherish, we put 500 through months of caging, crowding, deprivation, mutilation, and starvation, before we take their very lives, cut their dead bodies into little pieces, and shove those into our mouths. And that doesn’t even include Dory and billions of her little friends, because we haven’t figured out how to count individual aquatic animals that we grind up for human or animal feed.
The good news is that we have a choice every time we visit a restaurant or grocery store. We can choose live foods – yellow and green vegetables, legumes, fruits, nuts, grains, as well as a rich variety of grain and nut-based meats and dairy products. Or, we can choose dead animals, their body parts and other products of their abuse.
What will it be?
Shining the Olympic light on child abuse
I applaud Olympic Gold Medalist Kayla Harrison for speaking out about her experiences as a victim of sexual abuse. At the London 2012 Summer Olympics, 26-year-old Kayla Harrison became the first U.S. athlete – woman or man – to ever take home the gold medal in judo. She is the number one seed going into this summer’s games in Rio. Kayla is not only raising the profile of judo but she is bravely raising awareness about sexual abuse by sharing that during her childhood, she was sexually abused by one of her judo coaches for years.
Although we may choose to believe that sexual abuse “happens somewhere else” or perpetuate the myth of “stranger danger,” the problem is closer to home. One in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused by the age of 18 years old. And in over 95 percent of the cases, the abuser is someone the child knows and trusts – in Kayla’s case, her coach; for other children, a father or stepfather; and for others a teacher, member of the clergy or youth leader.
Abuse does not happen just in certain neighborhoods. Sexual abuse is indiscriminate. I promise you that someone you know has either been abused themselves or knows someone who has been abused. The difficulty is that in most cases, it is kept a secret. It is estimated that only 1 in 10 children will disclose. Why? Because they are scared, they may have been threatened, they may be conflicted about the “relationship” with the perpetrator, or they may not be aware that there is help available to them.
We are so fortunate in Fort Bend County that we have a place where victims of sexual abuse can get the help they need. Child Advocates of Fort Bend opened our Children’s Advocacy Center 20 years ago to provide a safe place where child victims can tell their story and let their voices be heard, perhaps for the first time.
It’s a place of healing where children can get counseling and therapy and be referred for medical attention. It’s a place where child victims learn skills to avoid further abuse and break the generational cycle of abuse in families. It’s also a place where families can heal from the trauma that results from learning that their child has been abused.
Our family advocacy services work with parents, caregivers and siblings by providing support and therapy to strengthen the family unit and create a positive environment for all family members. Our Children’s Advocacy Center has received numerous awards for providing the highest level of quality services, all offered in a community-based setting by a compassionate team of bilingual, multi-cultural staff. We are considered the “best practices” in identifying and treating child victims of sexual abuse. And all our services are free so that no family is burdened or unable to access our services.
I applaud Kayla Harrison for her bravery to speak out about her personal tragedy with sexual abuse. I hope that other children in Fort Bend County who are or have been victims of abuse or who know someone who is a victim will now be comforted to know that they can find help at Child Advocates of Fort Bend so they do not have to endure the tragedy of sexual abuse without getting the help they need.
Our goal is for all children to heal and be able to have happy childhoods and healthy adulthoods.
For more information, contact Child Advocates of Fort Bend at www.cafb.org. To report abuse, call the Child Abuse Hotline at 800-252-5400 or contact your local law enforcement agency.
CEO, Child Advocates of Fort Bend
Scouts are active in the community
My name is Shane Jacob, a Life Scout from Troop 992 in Sugar Land.
I am currently working on my Communications merit badge. I wanted to voice my statement about how Scouts have become more active in the community. In my troop we have many activities that bring us closer to the community such as Scouting for Food and Adopt-A-Spot, in which we collect food for the needy and clean up Imperial Park in Sugar Land.
Scouts have become more active in the community, which will in turn create better citizens.
Thank you for your time,