Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

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April 1, 2014

'Protecting Children and Teens from Internet Predators'

DIRECTIONS! Support & Advocacy Services, a program of Community Mental Health Center Inc., will host its eighth annual Take Back the Night event Thursday, April 10, at 5:30 p.m. at Dearborn Adult Center, 311 Tate St., Lawrenceburg, said Kevin Kennedy Sr., CMHC public relations manager.

With the theme “Protecting Children and Teens from Internet Predators, the event is held during national Sexual Assault Awareness Month, a time to promote awareness of sexual assault and related crimes and the impact of these crimes on society. According to a recent National Crime Victim Research study, one in six women and men in Indiana are victims of rape. Statistics from the Federal Bureau of Investigation indicate that nearly 2,000 cases of rape occur annually. Eighty percent of sex crimes are perpetrated by assailants known to the victim.

The evening features inspirational messages from survivors and information on key strategies to use when confronted by sexual predators. Participants also learn how to help raise awareness in their communities about these violent crimes and about how to make a difference in the lives of survivors. Dinner is provided, and door prizes will be awarded. A silent auction will be held throughout the evening.

The featured speaker is Aaron Negangard, Dearborn and Ohio counties prosecutor. He will present “Internet Crimes Against Children and Teens” and will also talk about sexting and have a question-and-answer session.

The Clothesline Project will be on display. It offers a visual tribute to the courage of all survivors and features shirts created by survivors and their family members and friends.

Rape and sexual assault are grossly underreported crimes in the United States. Only about 40 percent of rapes are reported to law enforcement. Sexual violence, as well as domestic violence, are “crimes of silence” and as such leave victims to suffer alone in the shadows. According to the World Health Organization, victims of sexual assault are three times more likely to suffer from depression and are four times more likely to contemplate suicide.

The Internet did not create perpetrators. It has provided an avenue for sexual predators to target many more victims while maintaining anonymity. Information and safety tips for parents and teens will be passed out at the end of the evening.

To access Directions! 24-hour confidential crisis services, persons can call 812-537-1302 or 877-849-1248.

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