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Wayne Independent - Honesdale, PA
  • Awareness key step in prevention

  • On Thursday evening, the annual "Take Back the Night" event was held in Honesdale.
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  • On Thursday evening, the annual "Take Back the Night" event was held in Honesdale.
    The event is annually held by the Victims Intervention Program and serves as a reminder about the many forms of abuse which take place each day in Wayne County and across the nation.
    Michele Minor-Wolf, executive director of the VIP program, reports this was the best event they have had in quite a few years.
    Attendance at the event was strong this year and that is a positive sign.
    We are hopeful that the message of abuse is getting out and people are starting to realize it can happen to anyone at any time.
    Raising awareness is the most important aspect of preventing abuse. The more people are aware, the more they see the signs and can make an attempt to do something about this problem.
    There's little doubt the Jerry Sandusky scandal at Penn State has raised awareness of child abuse. That is especially true in Pennsylvania, where we have been in the middle of the scandal.
    As a newspaper, we have also tried very hard to raise awareness about child abuse, sexual abuse and all forms of abuse. We hope that has contributed in some way, as well.
    A long-ago case in Salem Township surfaced in Wayne County over the past year and has also been a topic of discussion in this area.
    In that case, Darrell Edwards, now in his 80s, has chronicled abuse by a school principal. It took place over decades and there is no reason not to believe his story.
    Edwards has tried very hard to get law enforcement authorities to simply acknowledge the case but he has had little success.
    It must be very frustrating for Edwards, and all the victims in that case, because the scars remain for the rest of their lives.
    Page 2 of 2 - Hopefully, the one thing positive which has come from this case is the fact it has helped raise awareness. People are talking and that is a good thing in the prevention of abuse.
    Like Edwards, each year during Take Back the Night, victims of abuse step forward and tell their stories in a public manner.
    This has to be the most difficult thing which someone in that circumstance can do. It must be so painful to be a victim, but then to come out in public and share that story must take courage most of us can only wish we had within ourselves.
    Yet it is that courage and motivation which must happen in order for the public to get involved and make every attempt to stop abuse before it happens.
    For too long, many people in Wayne County have swept the issue of abuse under the rug. Out of sight, out of mind.
    They wanted to paint this county as perfect. The problem is, no area is perfect. Whether it's Manhattan or Damascus, abuse happens.
    It appears we may finally be turning the corner when it comes to at least acknowledging we have a problem.
    That is the first step in a long road to tackling one of the most heinous issues of our time.
    Though it is a small step, it is huge in terms of awareness and knowledge.
    As we all know, knowledge is power. So if we can turn that power into dealing with abuse, we are on the right path.
    Our hat's are off to VIP for putting on such a powerful program and we salute all those who attended to show solidarity.
    It's that solidarity which is vital in combating this problem.

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