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I grew up in a small town in Rhode Island that is living through the trials of brothers who had been very active in Little League Baseball and Youth football as I was growing up. Hearing the stories, it is chilling to know what some of the kids I went to school with had to deal with. Now many years later, I have friends who just won't talk about what happened. I also was told of how my Grandfather confronted one of the brothers many years ago when he had grabbed my brother's leg. I had no idea that happened and appreciate that he did that. As a Catholic town in the 70s I am sure it wasn't something anyone wanted to talk about.

Thankfully, today we see earlier disclosure and action that involves the authorities more often. More people are watching and it is safer to come forward. There are better support systems for dealing with the survivors.

I was reading about a recent statement from the Alexandria-based National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, which has partnered with the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation to vet the issue of protecting child athletes from sexual abuse. In the statement they found that:

Youth serving organizations a “popular hunting ground” for sexual abusers, saying sports organizations are particularly popular. However, he added that if a child’s parents ask enough questions, predators move on to look for a next victim.

Their efforts are to educate sports youth leaders, parents, and the athletes themselves. To protect each of these survivors. The recent summit they hosted heard from football great Joe Ehrmann who explained that :

He came from a home riddled with domestic violence and a dad who gave him “the wrong concepts.” Ehrmann, who is now the founder of Coach for America, said he was brutally beaten and raped by two men at a church camp when he was 12 years old, adding that 47 years passed before he found the courage to say anything about it.

Abuse of children and the continued silence by the offenders needs to be prevented. If you suffered, saw, or suspected such events, it is important to know that there is help out there.

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