I've often written about forces in our culture that create and perpetuate child abuse, and I'll continue to do so.  But one of my personal blogging goals for the new year is to highlight projects and events around the country that contribute to creating the kind of social change that both protects children from abuse, and promotes the healing of those who suffer from the wounds of abuse. Today I'm eager to share with you two events that have come across my desk in the last 24 hours.

The first is a memo that Holy Innocents Episcopal Church in Atlanta, Georgia has scheduled a Requiem Mass for Sunday, January 22 @ 4PM to honor the children who lost their lives to abuse and violence in the state of Georgia during 2011. At sundown on Saturday, January 21, the congregation of Holy Innocents will hold a prayer vigil. During the night, volunteers will read the names of the 550 children who died. The vigil will end at 7AM the next morning and Mass will begin at 4PM that afternoon.  The intention of the people of Holy Innocents is to hold these prayer services annually, to remind us of the innocent children, celebrate their lives, and proclaim the love and reconciling grace of God. What a beautiful way for a community to raise awareness, give expression to their compassion, and offer faith, hope and healing! What about your place of worship? Could you invite the members of your congregation to do something similar? If so, tell us about it.

Today, while checking my emails, I opened one from a favorite new organization, Miss Representation (www.missrepresentation.org).  First off, let me tell you that social change is what Miss Representation is all about - the kind of social change that would make ours a healthier culture in which to rear girls and boys. As a mother (of four women), grandmother (of three girls and four boys) and long-time family therapist (I'm talkin' lots of experience with the culture's influence on child development here), I'm consistently positively impressed by their efforts. Today's email was no exception, as they announced that The Invisible War, a new documentary Executive Produced by their team members Jennifer Siebel Neusom, Regina Kirlik  Scully, and Geralyn Dreyfus, has been selected for the Sundance Film Festival. Directed by Kirby Dick and Produced by Amy Ziering, the film is a groundbreaking examination of the epidemic of rape in the U.S. Military. (Did you know that a woman in our military is more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire?) You might ask, "What does rape of women in our military have to do with child abuse?"  My answer: watch the trailer at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ifc_ongQFQ and read Jennifer's interview with filmmaker Amy Ziering on the Miss Representation.org blog. (See link above.) When you're done, please share your reactions.

About the Author

Catherine McCall

Catherine McCall is a Clinical Fellow of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy and the author of Never Tell: A True Story of Overcoming a Terrifying Childhood.

You are reading

Overcoming Child Abuse

How to Survive the New Order

A primer for sexual abuse survivors.

Feeling Victimized by Presidential Campaign Updates?

What to do if memories of your childhood sexual abuse are being triggered

Where Have All the Lifeguards Gone?

Resources to help child abuse survivors stay afloat this summer