Ignorance Isn't Bliss
a Memoir and Call-to-Action
by Christy Pavano Heiskala
What I taught my daughter stopped a child molester who had been molesting his students for seven years but we may have been able to prevent it all together.
In my book Ignorance Isn't Bliss I share how my own sexual abuse as a child was the catalyst for teaching my daughter to speak up if anyone touched her inappropriately. In 2007, she was put to the test when she was molested by her third-grade teacher. She used the skills I taught her and stopped a child molester who had been molesting his students for seven years.
I learned a lot going through the entire experience, including how to predict and prevent child sexual abuse. I am super proud that I taught my daughter to speak up and she did just that. However, if I would have known then what I know now, I could have possibly prevented it from happening in the first place. There were many red flags that anyone trained in child sexual abuse prevention would have noticed. The school had made many notes in the teachers file. Everyone loved the teacher, including the parents and staff, and minimized any questionable behavior. Hence the title, Ignorance Isn't Bliss.
My book shares all that I have learned so that parents and those who work with children can learn the grooming behaviors and how to react when something does happen. There were many victims that came before my daughter who had not been taught to speak up so our story is proof of what happens when you educate yourself and your kids and when you do not.
The intention of my book is to serve as a call to action for parents and youth-serving organizations to be keenly aware of grooming techniques, question people they have trusted with their child's safety, and listen to the child who discloses. I am also urging parents to demand that all schools and youth-serving organizations to provide child sexual abuse prevention training to all of their staff. The Child Molestation Research and Prevention Institute says 95% of abuse is preventable through education. There is no reason for anyone not to educate themselves on this matter. It is neither time consuming or cost prohibitive. No excuses!