We live in a society where information is readily available whenever and wherever one wants to seek it.

I can access any amount of information from any of the devices in my household or from most locations. If I want to know the weather in Greece, I can ask Siri on my Apple devices and Siri will give me the degrees in Fahrenheit and Celsius. If I want to know who won the World Series in 1983, I can ask Google, and it would not only give me the team but the name of the runner-up team and about how many fans were in attendance.

One may ask, if all of this information is so accessible, why do people shy from information that can saves lives?

It’s April, and nationally we recognize Sexual Assault Awareness Month and Child Abuse Prevention Month. The organization for which I volunteer, Empowered to Heal, uses this month to provide education about prevention so families can ensure their children are safe and protected.

What interests me most when we offer the training is the number of people who say one of two things: Why are you offering the training? Why would anyone need this type of training?

This type of training should be a point of interest for anyone who has children in their lives they care about and whom they want to be safe. Education is the key to the protection of our children.

There are hourly reports in the media of children being raped and molested, yet one common question is, “Why does this keep happening”? One reason could be because parents and caregivers do not know how to address the issue of child sexual abuse or sexual assault.

These are very uncomfortable societal issues, but if they are not addressed and discussed often, then the occurrences of child molestation will continue to increase. Not only will occurrences increase, but issues such as depression, drug abuse, bullying and suicide will increase. And yes, there are correlations between the just-mentioned issues and child sexual abuse.

Here are some statistics that might raise your consciousness:

>> Nearly 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men report being raped during their lifetime. In addition, 45.9 percent of South Carolina women and 17.8 percent of men in our state report being victims of sexual violence or coercion other than rape. (cdc.gov)

>> Approximately 1 in 10 children will be sexually abused before his or her 18th birthday. (d2l.org)

This and other information can help us all to be able to identify the potential dangers to our families and our communities. Many community resources in Florence and the Pee Dee are beneficial to educating us.

Education is so important, because when we all understand an issue, it helps us to address it and share possible solutions. We also do not want people to be misinformed. So many families have members who have been abused, and yet they do not receive the care they need because they are not aware of the resources that are available.

It is time that we get comfortable with what has been uncomfortable for us to talk about. Being afraid has cost too many children their futures and their lives. Let’s talk about it!

Jennifer Robinson is executive director of Empowered to Heal. She is married with three children and her dog, Prince. Jennifer’s hobbies are traveling, writing, and attending social gatherings. She can be reached at empoweredtoheal@gmail.com.