Educating adults on protecting kids

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) -- It was an interaction with someone Susan McMannama trusted. A request to leave her kids in a room alone with this person that triggered an instinctual reaction.

"That just it kind of jolted me that I had allowed them to maybe be in a situation that might have turned out not well," said McMannama."I wasn't comfortable with that but I allowed it and fortunately nothing happened."

A recent training course with Project Harmony shed light on things this mom hadn't always thought about; like the fact that 1 in 10 kids will be sexually abused.

"Just horrifying. I have between my sisters and myself there are 10 grandchildren and then those 10 grandchildren have 17 and almost 18 children of their own so,” said McMannama.

It’s a statistic that Project Harmony's Angela Roeber knows well.

"What this means is that in any classroom, in any neighborhood full of children there are children who are silently bearing the burden of sexual abuse," said Roeber.

In the future, McMannama says she won’t push children in the family to hug or kiss other family members or friends. It's just one thing she learned in the class to allow kids to explore their own comfort zones.

"There might be certain people that they're not comfortable going up to," said McMannama.

While she tries to educate her children how to be safe, she knows there are things adults can do to make sure those kids don't fall into that statistic.

"I think as parents and grandparents we need to use our gut instinct and teach our children to trust their gut instinct and if something doesn't feel right then don't enter, go get help," said McMannama.

Project Harmony is offering the Darkness to Light: Stewards of Children class Thursday to teach adults five simple steps to spot and protect kids from sexual abuse.

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