Building a Culture of Respect

Each of us has a role to play in making sure women and children are safe in their own homes, write Roger Sherman and Kelly Miller.

In the last couple of weeks, we have been flooded with images of Ray Rice punching his fiancée and kicking her down the hall and descriptions of the open wounds left on Adrian Peterson’s son’s body after he beat him with a tree branch. Then there was the inevitable debate: Why did Janay Palmer stay, why did she marry Ray Rice after the violent act? Was the “whooping” of Peterson’s son just proper parental discipline or abuse?

Isn’t this all beside the point? Why is it that women and children are a greater risk of violence in their own homes than any other place?

Rice and Peterson, star running backs for, respectively, the Baltimore Ravens and Minnesota Vikings, have brought the issue of family violence into our living rooms and our kitchen tables. Because these are high-profile athletes, we are hearing about it daily. Most abuse, whether of children or intimate partners, goes unreported. It is an open secret that most of us don’t want to talk about, yet family violence is a daily occurrence in our own neighborhoods and communities in Idaho.

Research tells us that 50 percent of men who frequently assault their wives also assault their children and that child maltreatment and domestic violence co-occur in 30 percent to 60 percent of families where either form of abuse is identified.

Many groups throughout Idaho are working to create a culture of respect by preventing family violence and providing alternatives to harsh and abusive disciplinary practices. The Idaho Coalition is working in middle schools and high schools throughout the state to promote youth leadership and healthy teen relationships, recognizing that starting early matters. ICARE in Coeur d’Alene, Family Advocates in the Treasure Valley and Help Inc. in Idaho Falls all work to strengthen families through working with parents and children in home visiting programs. The Green Dot initiative trains people not to be passive bystanders by teaching them how to act responsibly to prevent violence incidents from occurring. The Idaho Children’s Trust Fund is working with local government, faith-based and community based organizations statewide to end child sexual abuse. Incentive-based programs like Baby Steps in Boise and Pocatello and Baby Haven in Caldwell provide diapers and other baby products to parents who learn more about parenting and child development and do the right things for their baby’s well-being.

These are but a few examples of the amazing work being done in communities throughout Idaho. But it isn’t just up to organizations to make a difference. It’s up to each of us. Today we are outraged by what we are hearing about the abusive behavior of Rice, Peterson and other NFL players. Now let’s turn our outrage into constructive action. Volunteer. Meet the children on your block. Adopt policies at your churches and workplaces. We each have a role to play in ending family violence.


Miller is executive director of the Idaho Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence; Sherman is executive director of the Idaho Children’s Trust Fund.


Essentials for Parenting Toddlers and Preschoolers



This is a free, online resource developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It gives parents information about how to interact positively with their child. The information is based on the best available evidence and is designed for parents with children between the ages of 2 and 4. This resource also provides answers to common parenting challenges so parents can be more confident and enjoy helping their children grow.

Idaho Children's Trust Fund Announces Multi-Year Grantees, Cycle 4 2013-2016

ICARE, St. Vincent de Paul
Expanding Child Sexual Abuse prevention to North and North Central Idaho by training 30 Stewards of Children facilitators who will offer 30 workshops to adults in 10 counties. Way to go, ICARE!  

Catholic Charities of Idaho
After the long journey from Africa to Boise, CCI will support new American refugee families by recognizing and increasing family strengths with the Nurturing Parenting Program.

Idaho Department of Correction
Parenting is easier when we can learn together and from one another! IDOC supports parents and caregivers both within and outside of the correctional system through parenting workshops and community building.

Find more information about each Grantee here.

Boys Sexually Victimized by Women are not "Lucky"

ICTF's Executive Direction, Roger Sherman, was recently published in the Idaho Statesman in response to an earlier published article about a Child Sexual Abuse Case in Kuna, Idaho where eight teenage boys were abused by a 35-year-old mother.  

Roger explains "When we teach adults how to protect children from child sexual abuse, we start with "Learn the facts." Here's the first fact: The long term consequences for victims of child sexual abuse are nearly identical regardless of gender, according to a number of recent studies."

Read more here:

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