Protect Every Child calls ending child abuse ‘the Civil Rights Movement of our time,’ How you can help

Protect Every Child - a nonprofit association and coalition dedicated to raising awareness on and the prevention of child abuse - will host its inaugural March for the Children in Salt Lake City on Saturday, October 5. More than 5,000 people are expected to participate in the first major march to raise awareness and end child abuse.

Founder Sam Young stopped by with VP of SNAP's National Board Judy Larson to tell us about how widely spread child abuse and sexual assault really is in this country, and how we can stop it.

Judy said 300,000 children are abused in the U.S. every year. Sam said one in four girls in the U.S. are sexually assaulted every year - one in three here in Utah. Judy shared a picture that's pinned to her jacket, of herself at the age at which she was raped by her priest. She now speaks out to end the stigma of sexual abuse and hopes the community will start to wrap their arms around survivors, and really tackle the problem at its root.

"As the country continues to be rocked by child sex abuse scandals on a massive scale, we will not sit on our thumbs and just read about it," Sam said. "On a massive scale, we will shout from the mountain tops for this horror to end. It's up to us. Not the media. Not any church hierarchy. Not the government. Us."

Individuals of all ages and organizations are invited to the Protect Every Child March and rally. While not required, those interested can register for free here.

"Marching to end child abuse is really about spreading awareness. This is an opportunity for the entire community to come together and march in solidarity against something that unfortunately is so rampant in our society," said Sam, founder of Protect Every Child. "Every kid deserves a childhood that's carefree and full of promise. We hope to push the conversation forward and to encourage everyone to speak up and stand up for every child and use their voice to promote safe practices toward ending child abuse."

The event starts at 9 a.m. at the Salt Lake City and County Building on State Street and 400 S. Participants will march up State Street and finish at the Capitol where the march will culminate in a rally.

In the spring of 2018, Protect LDS Children held a similar, smaller-scale march and rally in Salt Lake City that drew 1,000 participants. The event concluded with the delivery of a petition signed by 20,000 supporters to the top Mormon leadership. Additionally, books that contained hundreds of stories of harm done behind closed doors were delivered with the petition.

The nonprofit has partnered with numerous similar organizations that also seek to end child abuse, including Zero Abuse Project, SNAP, Child-Friendly Faith Project, SCAARS, Talk to a Survivor, Open Stories Foundation and many more. For more information about Protect Every Child, visit https://protecteverychild.com/.

Earlier this year, Protect LDS Children expanded its cause to Protect Every Child, regardless of religious affiliation, to raise public awareness about all forms of child abuse, educate communities and organizations on how to prevent it and bolster prevention efforts throughout organizations where children participate. Specifically, the coalition is calling on churches, synagogues, mosques and all other youth-serving organizations to adopt policies and practices that will ensure the safety of children frequenting these institutions.

About Protect Every Child

In 2017, Sam Young originally founded the nonprofit association Protect LDS Children to protect children from certain Mormon Church practices by ending one-on-one interviews with children and ecclesiastical leaders and eliminating the sexually explicit questions that were being posed to them. During 2018, Protect LDS Children started a petition that gathered more than 22,000 signatures, held a march and rally in Salt Lake City with more than 1,000 participants, and conducted a 23-day hunger strike to raise awareness. The initiatives generated much needed awareness of the dangers that the Mormon interview practice poses to children and the church responded with a minor but significant policy change.

In 2019, Protect LDS Children expanded its cause to Protect Every Child, regardless of religious affiliation, to raise public awareness about all forms of child abuse, educate communities and organizations on how to prevent it and bolster prevention efforts throughout organizations where children participate. The nonprofit has partnered with numerous similar organizations that also seek to end child abuse, including Zero Abuse Project, SNAP, Child-Friendly Faith Project, SCAARS, Talk to a Survivor, Open Stories Foundation and many more. For more information about Protect Every Child, visit https://protecteverychild.com/.

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