St. Vrain Valley Voices: Are you One With Courage?

By Judy Toran Cousin Blue Sky Bridge

Posted:   03/20/2012 01:00:00 AM MDT

Courage is a word we typically associate with soldiers, firefighters, police officers and others fighting on the frontlines to keep all of us safe from harm.

But courage can also be ascribed to those who push fear, stigma and discomfort aside to talk about that which society keeps in the shadows. These individuals are courageous because their actions — combating secrecy by communicating openly — protect us from harm, especially the most vulnerable among us.

Child abuse is a crime of secrecy that, tragically, breeds within our society because it is difficult to talk about. That’s why the Colorado Children’s Alliance is launching the One With Courage campaign in Colorado. As a member of the alliance, Blue Sky Bridge Child Advocacy Center is proud to support this campaign.

One With Courage is the first-ever initiative centered around the courage it takes to talk about child abuse, learn the signs of abuse and report abuse when it’s suspected.

Why One With Courage? Because it takes tremendous courage for young victims to come forward and talk about the abuse they’ve experienced. It takes courage for adults to recognize the signs of abuse and report suspected abuse. It will take courage for all of us to engage in an open dialogue about child abuse.

One With Courage also aims to highlight the unique role children’s advocacy centers play in providing comprehensive, coordinated and compassionate services to child victims of abuse. At Blue Sky Bridge Child Advocacy Center, we have served more than 10,000 children and their families since our founding in 1995. In 2011 alone, we helped more than 570 children who’ve experienced abuse, and their families, through forensic interviews and family support services. Without the intervention services of a children’s advocacy center, these child victims may never have been helped, and statistics tell us that the abuse would likely have continued.

Most importantly, One With Courage aims to inspire the courage required to take action against abuse, whether it be starting a dialogue about this issue, equipping ourselves with the knowledge needed to recognize the signs of abuse or volunteering at a local children’s advocacy center like Blue Sky Bridge. I strongly encourage everyone to visit to learn the big and small ways each of us can join the fight.

I wholeheartedly share the Colorado Children’s Alliance’s belief that child abuse can be eradicated through the formation of informed, empowered communities. One With Courage is a powerful step forward in that fight.

Please join us in this effort and be one with courage.

Judy Toran Cousin is executive director of Blue Sky Bridge, a child advocacy center based in Boulder.