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“Pedal for Prevention” Rolls Through Idaho

September 22, 2010

BOISE, Idaho - The Gem State is playing host to the "Pedal for Prevention" team this week. Three men are riding bicycles across the country to raise awareness about preventing child sexual abuse. They started in South Carolina in late July and are in Pocatello, Burley, Mountain Home and Boise this week.

Cyclist Tyler Gilliam knows the topic is difficult to discuss, but he says that allows it to be a hidden crime – and that has to stop.

"So much of what we hear about child sexual abuse is mired in drama and trauma and sadness, after the fact. So, what we really wanted to do was start talking proactively about what we can do on the front-end to make it go away."

Gilliam says he begins discussions every day with the facts: one in four girls, and one in six boys are sexually abused before age 18. He also outlines how abuse can carry ramifications in terms of social issues, including teen pregnancy, psychiatric disorders and substance abuse. He points to good news, though, because the crime is preventable.

"Talk about this is what we, as responsible adults, can do to stop child sexual abuse in real time. Education is the key."

Gilliam's team has partnered with Darkness to Light, a nonprofit organization that teaches adults how to recognize and react responsibly when children are sexually abused. The Idaho Children's Trust Fund is working with partners throughout the state to train people in the organization's child sexual abuse prevention program.

Darkness to Light trainings are available to anyone who is interested; information is at www.d21.org. The cyclists are also accepting donations to support trainings and education. Learn more at www.pedalforprevention.com.

Deb Courson, Public News Service - ID