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It’s finally here…A TEDMED talk about preventing child sexual abuse

[Johns Hopkins]

Last November Dr. Elizabeth Letourneau, director of the Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse and professor in the Department of Mental Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, gave one of the most important talks of her life: A TEDMED talk about preventing child sexual abuse.

The talk weaves her experiences as a seasoned researcher who was surprised to learn that there were young adults attracted to children who made a decision to never offend against a child. A reporter named Luke Malone introduced her to this concept, and his reporting became a This American Life episode. From there, interest in this topic ballooned and eventually Letourneau was invited to share her story with the TEDMED audience and now that her talk has been released, she can share it everyone.

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  1. mike r

    Interesting concept, she claims 80% happen at institutions, the other 20% in the home…Hmmm,where are all the sex offenders that they are so worried about? Oh, and half of those are kid on kid. Like I said, interesting little piece there..

    • Double A

      I just wanted to point out you have some of her numbers reversed. 80% of the incidents happened in the home and 20% of the incidents happened in an institution.

      Like you said, it’s very interesting. When I was in county jail everyone shared info about their cases. Obviously, I didn’t take an official poll, but the majority of the people in there were involved with someone they knew. Whether it was an ex-girlfriend’s daughter, a stepdaughter, niece, or what have you, it was always someone they knew. I never met a person in there involved with a “stranger danger” case. I’m sure if a person was in there for that reason, they wouldn’t share it. For the most part, the numbers she claims seem to be on par with the dorm I was in at county.

      For the record, I was in a dorm with 96 people in it. I think there were 6 that were either a pastor, teacher, or coach.

  2. ab

    Here’s a link to the talk itself:

    Overall some good points are raised by her. Yet she misses an opportunity to introduce the bigger picture by not following through on her best findings. Despite correctly realizing child sex abuse can be prevented before it happens she unfortunately fails to make the connection to how prevention efforts focused on children and teenagers also leads to stopping those individuals from becoming offenders as adults. Moreover by mapping what occurs in childhood and adolescence that leads to an offense the roots of what might lead an adult to do something illegal are also revealed. So eventually all adult offenses can be prevented prior to occurrence as well.

  3. Bill

    Back in my day if it was kid on kid we just called it being curious and playing Doctor.

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