WXXI AM News

Four More Organizations Join Bivona in Darkness to Light Campaign

Feb 24, 2015

Four more organizations have joined Bivona Child Advocacy Center and other community partners to educate people about child sex abuse.

Bivona Executive Director Mary Whittier surrounded by representatives from 15 partners in Darkness to Light training.
Credit WXXI

In a collaborative effort called Darkness to Light, adults are trained how to talk to children about abuse, recognize potential danger, and address the issue.

Bivona's Outreach Specialist Stefanie Szwejbka says this education effort now involves 15 community partners, all of whom undergo training that teaches them intervention techniques.

"From looking at situations that we put our kids in in a different way, to questioning policies at organizations to make sure that they are child-safety centered. It leads to, How do you talk to a kid? How do I give my child the words that they would even need to express if they needed to tell an adult?"

Mary Whittier is the Executive Director of Bivona. She says this campaign could not only help eradicate sexual abuse, it could help the children who need it.

"One in ten children, by the time they turn 18, will suffer some form of sexual abuse. Yet less than 1 in 10 will disclose that as a child."

Darkness to light is a national nonprofit organization and 14,000 people across the state have been trained through its campaign. Almost half of those trainees are in Monroe County.