ACE Prevention? Can we do it?

Andrea GadsonBlogLeave a Comment

Can we stop ACEs from occurring? Interesting question. But to answer it we need to first understand what an ACE is. ACE, in the context of assault survivors, has nothing to do with the bandage or a tennis term. It is not an acronym for a transcending belief such as All Change is Exciting. In the conversation about childhood assault survivors, ACE stands for Adverse Childhood Experience. It refers to any traumatic experience a child may undergo before the age of 18. Then, what I’m asking, is whether it is possible to prevent traumatic experiences from happening to our children?

Ponder. Noodle. Consider this question for a moment. Is it possible?

The Center for Disease Control believes it is possible. They’ve created a framework titled Essentials for Childhood, which provides a plan for how to minimize the chances of a traumatic event occurring for a child. The framework is for “anyone committed to the positive development of children and families, and specifically to the prevention of all forms of child abuse and neglect.”

I applaud and admire those who work for social change. If given a clock to turn back, I might pursue a career in social policy, instead of information technology. I want to help make the world a better place, especially for our children.

Social policy drives the creation of laws and regulations to mandate behavior and change hearts. For example, the social policies of civil rights for African Americans gave me a seat in the cube of corporate environments. Without these changes, people of my skin color, may continue to be locked out of the conversations held in conference rooms and shown only the maintenance room as my job opportunity. Can you imagine a world of the 1960’s still existing in 2018? I just shuddered. Thankfully today, the people of opposite color in the conference room accept me and value what I offer it the conversation; although some of them may still have heart issues with me being in the room. This is the beauty and power of social policy and work.

But I’m puzzled. We’ve made significant changes in so many areas, but the work for children remains slow, and almost helpless when it comes to “covering”, i.e., providing a robe of protection on them. Having a framework with four goals, such as the Essentials for Childhood is admirable, but I believe this issue is an individual heart issue.

Can we change people’s hearts towards children? Can we stop people from seeing children as poison containers, i.e., relief systems for adult pain?

In preparation for an interview, I researched some statistics on sexual assault. What bothered me the most was from 2006 to 2015, the change in those statistics was very small. We continue to see the same sexual assaults occurring. Why? The heart issue.

Can we use social policy to change people’s hearts? Can we change a sinful heart? Oh no, there I go again, talking about sin. We’ll continue that part of the conversation in a couple of days.