When and How Would and Should You Respond
(Trigger warning for discussion of sexual abuse, child abuse, and other related subjects)
By Kelly Ann
The scandal at Penn State has generated a lot of discussion in the media about when and how would and should you respond to abuse – whether sexual, child, or otherwise. While I have shied away from reading all the details of this heinous case, in drawing lessons, my first response was that I am not likely to walk into the men’s locker room nor be the head of department or clergy member to whom someone would confide in. Rather I think about when and how I or people I know might encounter it in our lives and think about how would and should I respond – so that if I ever have to, I will be prepared.
In reflecting a little about it over the past week, I imagine what most people encounter in their life will be grayer than the stories we hear on the news. While I hope I would respond properly if I was abused or knew anyone that was abused, the reality is that thankfully in my life I really have had limited experience.
So for the purpose of discussion, I would like to gauge theoretical responses and legal requirements to the following hypothetical scenarios (some which may have more standard answers than others):
1) A student in your primary class routinely has bruising that you are worried about
2) A classmate at BYU confides to you that she was date raped but doesn’t want to report it because she feels at fault for crossing other chastity lines and wants to be able to finish the semester (i..e she doesn’t want her Bishop to know)
3) The custodian at school makes you uncomfortable in the way he is chummy with the student and gives them candy but you don’t actually have anything else to report
4) You are concerned that an adult friend is being abused by her husband (more emotionally than physically) but don’t know how to bring it up
All thoughts on these and any other theoretical or actual examples of when and how should and would you respond are welcome.
I’m also really curious to know what are the exact requirements for Mormon Bishops.
And finally, how do you teach your children safety and prepare them for what they might encounter.
I hope this discussion might be useful.