Candlelight Vigil Shows Support for Victims of Child Abuse
More than 50 Penn State York students, faculty and staff, joined with members of the community, participated in a candlelight vigil on Thursday, Nov. 14 to show their support for victims of child abuse. The group gathered near the Edward M. Elias Science Building on the Penn State York campus. This is the third year that Penn State York’s Human Development and Family Studies (HD FS) Club has organized a vigil. The group has made a commitment to continue this observance annually.
Peg Chown, a child advocate, spoke to the group and shared her experiences as assistant attorney general for the State of Minnesota during the mid-to-late 1980s, including details regarding the handling of child abuse cases that were part of what was known as the Scott County Sex Abuse Cases. Chown also shared tips on how to keep children safe and urged the crowd to be sure that children understand the boundaries that define appropriate behavior for adults towards children. She also urged parents to be sure their children understand that they are there to listen to their concerns.
“Make sure that your children understand you are there to listen to them; that they can tell you anything, even if another adult says they shouldn’t say anything,” said Chown. “Make them understand that it is okay to say “No,” to someone who does something they don’t like and make sure they understand the difference between good touch and bad touch.”
Following Chown’s presentation, those in attendance lighted candles, recited the child abuse protections pledge, and paused for a moment of silence.
Attendees recited the following pledge as part of the vigil: “I believe that every child has a right to grow up free from the shadow of abuse. I believe that the responsibility to protect children rests solely in adult hands. I believe that, as adults, we must remain ever vigilant and dedicate no less than the best of ourselves to that purpose. To all the victims of abuse, male and female, adult and children, known and unknown: I pledge to educate myself about the realities of child abuse; I pledge to give a voice and report any and all suspicions; I pledge to cast a light in the darkness by doing the right thing the first time, every time.”
In a portion of her closing remarks, Chown’s remarks moved the crowd with a quote from Irish philosopher Edmund Burke, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men (and women) do nothing.”