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Gabriella Speaks Out

Ryan Hazelton, Senior Philanthropy Officer
September 7, 2016

Child Safety Awareness Program in action with Ms. Brianna in the classroom.

Gabriella raised her hand and asked to speak with Ms. Brianna privately. At the end of the lesson, outside the 5th grade classroom in the elementary school hallway, Gabriella asked whether it was okay that her parents touched her private body parts, the parts that her swimsuit cover. Ms. Brianna reminded Gabriella of the differences between a safe and unsafe touch. Gabriella nodded with understanding and started talking about how uncomfortable she felt at home, and how much she disliked being touched by her parents.

This was Gabriella’s secret. The one she didn’t even tell her best friend. The one her parents told her to hold tight. It wasn’t until Ms. Brianna, that Gabriella understood that what her parents were doing was wrong. Ms. Brianna listened, comforted, and most importantly, told Gabriella that it wasn’t her fault. She did nothing wrong.

Brianna Green is a Child Safety Instructor with the Prevention Center, who teaches elementary school children lessons on how to protect themselves from harm.

Gabriella had kept this secret for five years — since she was just 6-years-old — enduring this abuse alone and in silence. Without Ms. Brianna, and the lessons provided by our Child Safety Awareness program, Gabriella, and far too many other children, would still be suffering.

These secrets disrupt childhoods and destroy lives.

Child sexual abuse is pervasive in our community and in our country. But, thanks to your support, last year the Prevention Center provided more than 6,000 children with life-saving information and tools to find their voices, to be brave, and to take the scary step of reaching out for help. And last year, more than 2,000 mandated reporters were trained on how to recognize and report abuse, and more than 50 community organizations worked together to protect San Francisco’s children.

Gifts to the Prevention Center support our programs and the work of our safety educators, which allows us to continue to target the most at-risk communities in the upcoming school year, because every child deserves to be protected.


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