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Sexual Assault Awareness Month in WYO – Don’t Forget the Smallest Victims

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 By Deborah Smith/Chris Thomas, Public News Service - WY, Contact
April 21, 2008

Cheyenne, WY – Part of the focus of this year's "Sexual Assault Awareness Month" is on the smallest Wyomingites at risk.
Ben Tanzer, with Prevent Child Abuse America, says most sexual assaults on children are committed by someone the child knows.

That fact warrants more discussion, Tanzer explains, because so much of the current focus seems to be on "stranger danger," such as warning youngsters not to talk to people they don't know.

"These things are all really important, and I don't want to minimize them. But we've actually sort of misled the public about how these things occur and who the 'predators' are."

Tanzer understands that the topic of sexual assaults on children by acquaintances is a sensitive one. His group offers advice at www.preventchildabuse.org. He's convinced that parents need greater access to information like this that will prepare them to have conversations with their children.

"Parenting is a really tough job, and we don't do enough to prepare parents. We don't necessarily provide them with the resources that they need."

Tanzer says children need to know there are "safe" people, in their families and among friends, to whom they can talk if someone harms or threatens them.

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