Stacey Honowitz, who has prosecuted sex offenders for 22 years, has written a book to empower kids to tell if someone touches them inappropriately. An article in this week's Miami Herald, by Julie Landry Laviolette shares the important story. It is worth picking up on the blog, seemingly abandoned for months by your author here, as he publishes a newspaper, at www.southfloridagaynews.com. But with the paper setttling in, maybe I can get to more posts of legal import and meaning. This is a good one, and Stacey is a great prosecutor, a wonderful person, and individual whose career is worth noting both for her caring and concern, and constant committment to professionalism. Were all lawyers so devoted to their tasks...
Here is the Herald piece by Laviolette:
There was the tiny girl, not yet 4, whose babysitter sexually molested her while her mom was out working. There was the elderly man who fondled the special needs kids at the private school where he volunteered. There was the adult who, 20 years after he was molested as a child, could not hold down a job.
In her 22 years prosecuting sex offenders at the Broward County State Attorney's Office, Stacey Honowitz of Miami has heard many chilling tales.
But it still shocks her when she meets young victims who never knew there were body parts others shouldn't touch, until it was too late.
Honowitz's self-published book, My Privates are Private, aims to change that.
``So many kids come into my office and their parents have never talked to them about their private parts,'' she said.
In her book, Honowitz, a supervisor with Broward's Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Unit, created a character named Betty Boodle who tells why it's OK to maintain privacy. Told in limerick form, the 22-page book is aimed to educate kids ages 3 to 12.
``It's a bright, sunny book that teaches about a little girl who says, ``I'm big enough; I'm brave enough to tell if something happens,'' Honowitz said.
The book is not about a child who has been molested, Honowitz said, and it is not targeted to sexual abuse victims.
``It's to empower these kids to tell if someone touches them,'' she said. ``This book needs to be mandatory in every household.''
Honowitz said many parents don't talk to their kids about privacy because they think they are not at risk. And they are wrong, she says.
``Molesters are everywhere. They are in rich homes. They are in poor homes. They are in Jewish homes and Catholic homes. It could be the babysitter, the lawn guy or a neighbor,'' Honowitz said.
One in six boys and one in every four girls will be sexually abused by age 18, she said. Of the victims, half will be abused by someone they trust outside of their family. Thirty to 40 percent will be abused by a family member. Only 10 percent are abused by strangers, Honowitz said.
A frequent lecturer on the topic, Honowitz also has provided legal commentary for Larry King Live, CNN Headline News, Good Morning America and other news outlets. She says when she speaks to groups, parents often tell her they don't know how to broach the subject.
``Parents have difficulty breaking the ice and finding the words,'' Honowitz said. ``I think parents never think that their children will be in that position, so they don't think it's that important.''
Honowitz said her daughter, 2, knows about her private parts. By age 3, a child should know that some areas of their body are off-limits to others.
``People don't want to confront issues like this. It's taboo,'' she said. ``It's time for the secret to be let out.''
My Privates are Private is $12.95 and available at www.barnesandnoble.com and www.amazon.com . To contact Honowitz, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/10/07/1862839/prosecutors-book-lets-secret-out.html#ixzz12M7KaosS