Dear University Community:

At some point in our adult lives, most of us learn how to respond to anger with love, to violence with peace and to ignorance with education.

As you may know, Pennsylvania State University is dealing with very painful issues regarding alleged child sexual abuse.

Many of us, some of us with histories of trauma and abuse, are reacting to what appears to be endless reports of graphic violence to children. Media reports and stories and headlines are not simply information. They can become triggers and reminders for us — personally and for people we know.

The students at Penn State declared last Saturday’s game against Nebraska to be the first official “Blue Out” (as distinct from the usual ”White Out”) in support of child abuse awareness. (Blue ribbons are a symbol of child abuse prevention). This student response and decision was wonderful to see and can become a needed antidote, as well as one step toward healing. We should be inspired by numerous Penn State faculty, staff and students who are responding positively to this.

I urge all of us to do our own “community of caring” — take time to talk with others, educate ourselves, reflect on the meaning of all these events, check in with each other and support each other. For those who have suffered from childhood sexual abuse, please know that reaching out to others and seeking professional counseling helps.

Through these actions, we can together respond with action, with knowledge, with peace and with voice.

Please remember to utilize our U-M resources:
• CAPS http://www.umich.edu/~caps/
• SAPAC http://sapac.umich.edu/

For more information on men and childhood sexual abuse: http://1in6.org/

Todd D. Sevig
Director of Counseling & Psychological Services
Chair of U-M Student Mental Health Work Group

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