Why didn’t children at Kurn Hattin tell someone who might have been able to help?

A few weeks ago, we learned the truth about the child abuse that took place at Kurn Hattin over the past 80 years. I want to applaud VTDigger's thorough and unflinching investigative reporting on this matter. Kurn Hattin, no doubt, was a haven for some children, but for others, it was hell on earth and impossible to escape.

One might ask: Why didn't those children tell someone who might have been able to help them? The report by VTDigger answered that question plainly, as described by the victims, now adults. They feared losing what little security they had - the security of food and a place to sleep.

How vulnerable were these children? They were utterly vulnerable and could neither imagine going back to their families nor what would happen to them if they dared to tell, especially if they were not believed.

As with most victims of child abuse, telling was simply not an option for those who are developmentally trapped. Due to being young, threatened, dependent on their offender, afraid they would not be believed, and afraid of being stigmatized and/or blamed, they simply are not able to tell.

All this is true, but what is also true is that child abuse can be prevented from occurring in the first place and interrupted even when it has begun.

As adults, we can acquire the knowledge and the tools to help children grow up without being tortured, terrified, or used. Children do benefit from having skills and information, yes, but they most importantly need informed adults to watch over them, to ask them how they are doing, and to be that “ask-able” adult in their lives.

Every child needs someone they can turn to if they are confused or hurt. If you are an adult who cares about children and listens, think for a moment if you might be that person whom a child could turn to, and consider how you might let them know you care and are there for them.

It is part of creating a healthier, safer community for every child. It is up to every one of us to provide safe environments for children and to reach out to support the children we know.

This is how we will put an end to child abuse. This is our responsibility.

For all our children,

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