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Billboards seek to make parents aware of abuse signs

Billboards seek to make parents aware of abuse signs
Billboards seek to make parents aware of abuse signs 02:26

MIAMI - Whether you're speeding down I-95, glancing at a billboard, noticing a message while getting on or off the Metro rail or seeing a poster while waiting for the bus, the signs are all around you. 

Some of the billboards for example, show a child who looks very sad and the title is, "Your child. Sad or sexually abused?"

Kathy Anderson is a child sexual abuse survivor. Her group, "End 1 in 4" is behind a media blitz on billboards and signs around South Florida making sure parents know the signs of abuse, asking questions like, "is your child acting out or are they letting you know something is very wrong?" 

"We can't count on children self-reporting because of the fear and manipulation, the shame. What we can do is look closer and ask," Andersen said.

Statistics show as many as 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused by age 18 and that 93 percent of those abusers are known to the victims.

"It's so important that people that are surrounding children know the red flags," said State Senator Lauren Book. She is a child sexual abuse survivor too. And runs the child advocacy program Lauren's Kids.

She says communicating with your children is key to prevention and recovery. "It's important for that child to always know and understand they can talk to you about anything that you're that safe person," she said.

Another part of the campaign is highlighting the stories of celebrities who told their stories of abuse, like Gloria Estefan, Tyler Perry and Oprah, letting kids know they're not alone.

"We can create the change, together. We just have to pay attention. Look closer," Andersen said.

These messages will be on billboards in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach at various times throughout the month of April. They will also be on 90 MetroRail digital billboards and 30 Metromover digital screens as well as 15 bus stop shelters in Miami-Dade. 

The celebrity, "You are not alone campaign," also kicked off in Los Angeles with 55 billboards and in New York City with 27.

For resources in Miami-Dade, click here. and in Broward, click here.  

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