One retired teacher from Glen Ullin wants kids to know they have a voice, and she’s using a book to help them find it.
Marie Pflugrad says it’s her own experience as a child that motivated her to want to help other kids, leading her to write You Have a Voice.
“What I would have given to have someone tell me it was not your fault. What a difference that would’ve made in my life,” shared Pflugrad.
She says throughout her 17 years as an educator she witnessed the damage caused by sexual abuse toward children.
“There was a little girl in school that I was working with and it turns out she was, had been molested. And it really affected me,” shared Pflugrad.
That’s why Pflugrad wrote the book You Have a Voice as an education tool to teach kids about what to do when it comes to sexual abuse.
She says far too often children are taught about the “stranger danger” method but not preventive measures to people they may already know.
“It doesn’t take much. And I think that’s what we tend to downplay the fact that this, this doesn’t need to be a long term to do damage. It doesn’t take that many times of being molested to really do damage,” explained Pflugrad.
With the help of some animal characters, the book gives kids some defense mechanisms in case they find themselves in an uncomfortable situation.
“And so each of these animals are able to do something about it. The turtle goes in her shell. The skunk sprays, but she also tells and nobody listens to her. And that’s another factor that needs to be pointed out, that we have to get kids to be encouraged to talk about it…and for adults to listen. And for kids to keep telling and telling until they are heard,” explained Pflugrad.
She says her ultimate goal is to get a book into the hands of educators, adults and councilors across the state to teach kids all the tools.
Since publishing her book Pflugrad has added an activity book that includes a pledge for kids to sign once they complete all the activities.