“Where were you when I was eight?”
This was a comment written by a teacher on the back of a CAP evaluation sheet. It is a powerful endorsement for the work being done by the CAP projects across the world. The combination of an excellent curriculum and skilled facilitators have produced many successes for the program.
The New World Dictionary describes “success” as “a favorable outcome or result”. Their definition can surely be applied to the important work of CAP where parents, teachers and children have learned and used our valuable prevention message and our CAP facilitators have intervened in and helped to stop hundreds, yes thousands, of assault situations. Schools, law enforcement and local child protection offices have worked closely with the CAP projects to ensure ongoing safety for children disclosing abuse. Below are just a few examples of why the CAP program effectiveness crosses cultural and geographic boundaries.
CAP Empowerment From Around The Globe
From Estonia CAP Project:
The first year of operation, CAP was very successful here and very well received by the communities it served. The greatest impact has come in working with the many “street children” who now receive CAP training at the shelters and who have embraced the “Safe, Strong & Free” slogan. Submitted by Estonia CAP, Tartu Child Support Center, Estonia
“Even when you are right within eye range of your child, something could happen. They need to know what to do if they are not safe….“
From Croatia CAP Project:
Outside a church,a six year old girl waited with other children while their relatives proceded out of the church. In the crowd an unknown young woman approached the little girl and started to talk to her. She took the little girls hand and said: “You are so cute! You have such a nice dress! Come with me for a minute.” The little girl stayed silent and started to walk slowly towards her aunt without saying a word. The young woman followed her in an attempt to make contact with the little girl. It was after her third attempt to touch the girl that the little girl took a decisive body position and said loudly, “I don’t know you! I will not go anywhere with you! “
Only then her aunt realized that this person was unknown to the little girl and that the situation was dangerous. The stranger got lost in the crowd and was not seen afterwards. The day after our teachers heard the story from the little girl’s mother who concluded, “If there had not been for the CAP program my little girl being so shy and timid would have never managed to find the strength to say no.“
A little girl came to the Zagreb Clinic for child protection, accompanied by her mother. They were sent by the school counselor. We found out that the girl opened up to the teacher who was a member of CAP team after CAP workshop and told her about the inappropriate sexual behavior she had experienced from her older cousin. The teacher and the school counselor instructed her mother to take the little girl to the Clinic where a suspicious sexual abuse was determined. The little girl underwent all regular procedures and counseling in order to overcome the traumatic experience and express her feelings about it. All relevant institutions were included in dealing with the suspected abuse case, and all necessary measures were applied. This child finally got the help she needed to stop the sexual abuse she had been enduring. – Child Psychologist, Zegreb Clinic
– compiled by Parents Association Step by Step, Zagreb, Croatia
From Ohio CAP Project: Teen CAP Empowerment:
One teen reported to a CAP facilitator that several years ago when she was in elementary school, she had been forced to perform oral sex on a male who was a friend of the family. He was also in elementary school at the time. She had never shared this information with an adult before, but had told her girlfriend. This was reported to the appropriate agency for investigation.
After a Teen CAP workshop, another teen female reported to the CAP facilitators that girls in her school, who are about the same age as she is, were pressuring her to be sexually active with a boy with whom they themselves had been sexually involved with. This teen did not want to go along with them and was upset by them. She recognized the emotional force that was being put on her. The CAP facilitator helped her to realize her rights to be free from harassment. She helped her develop a plan to stand up for herself and maintain her own position and stay safe.
Elementary CAP Empowerment:
One elementary school girl was being molested out on the playground by male schoolmates. In her CAP workshop, she learned that she needed to report this to a grownup and told an adult that she trusted. It was reported to the proper authorities.
Submitted by Ohio CAP RTC, Catholic Charities and Ashland Family Services, Ohio, USA
From Colorado CAP Project:
A teacher who had attended a staff in-service called the local CAP project to report this story: After she had CAP in her school, she was having a discussion with her own children one day about the role plays and the importance of staying safe. Her second grader who had had the workshop was talking about the uncle role play. Her fourth grader, who had not yet had CAP, was listening and then blurted out, “Mommy, Dave did that to me.” In the conversation that ensued, the teacher discovered that her own child had been molested for the past two years while in a home day care. The husband of the woman who ran the center would molest the child whenever she was put in a closet for “time out”. He committed aggravated sexual assault on the child and threatened to “kill her entire family” if she told. The teacher reported the story and the offender was arrested. As the result of the program the sexual assault stopped, the child received help and the offender was imprisoned.
Submitted by Front Range Center for Assault Prevention, Arvada, Colorado, USA
From Japanese CAP Project:
Children in Japan enjoy the CAP workshops.
A young girl was followed by a man on the way to home. He grabbed the girl’s hand. Even though she hadn’t had CAP for 5 years, she remembered the CAP self protection strategies she was taught and did her CAP yell. Startled, the man ran away.
“ I never knew I have special rights of SAFE, STRONG, FREE. It made me so happy to know my rights.” – 5th grade student
There were incidences of bullying in an elementary class. Those who were bullied did not know what to do and just felt powerless. By attending CAP workshop they felt “I am not alone.” They were able to talk to each other to stop bullying .
A fifth grade girl was able to tell CAP people the big secret of her family, violence against her mother by father and by older brother. She wanted to tell her mom to get help. CAP staff role played with her to say that. When mother came to the school to pick her up she was able to tell mom. Later the teacher reported to the CAP staff that the child was much happier after that day.
– CAP success stories compiled by CAP Center Japan, Hyogo, Japan
From New Jersey CAP Project:
A 40 year old mother called the assault prevention offices and disclosed that she had been sexually abused as a child. She said she had never told anyone in more than 30 years. She went on to say that she was motivated to call as a result of her neighbor’s 9 year old daughter who had had the CAP program. She was at the neighbor’s house when the child came in from school. After a CAP workshop, the child had opened up to the school nurse and told her that she had been sexually assaulted. The nurse had contacted DYFS (child protective services), and the mother was informed about the incident and about support services available to the family.
The caller was moved by the situation, because her own abuse had happened when she was about the same age as this child. However, she had never had a program like CAP to assure her that she had rights, and to encourage her to tell someone to help end the abuse. The caller was thankful that CAP not only helped her neighbor’s child, but also indirectly encouraged her to “break the silence”.
– Submitted by Atlantic/Cape May Co CAP, New Jersey, USA -2006
At a parochial school in this county, the following amazing story was related to the CAP facilitators. One of the teachers at the school, a nun, was asleep in her bedroom in the convent. A man broke into the convent, went into her room and attempted to sexually assault her. Even though she was awakened from a sound sleep, her first instinct was to do the CAP yell. A nun in a neighboring room woke up, ran into the room and began to hit the assailant with a wooden folding gate. The police were called and the man was apprehended. He was later convicted of the attempted sexual assault and sentenced to seven years in prison. The nun attributed her safety to the help of her friend and to the “CAP yell” which she had learned the prior year at a CAP teacher in-service.
– Submitted by Gloucester/Salem Co. CAP, New Jersey, USA
From England – Devon CAP Project:
Devon CAP facilitators conduct a Preschool CAP
workshop.Devon CAP started in 1995 with the support of the Health Education Authority. Within a short time CAP was featured throughout Devon and spread to other districts in Southwestern England. After a preschool CAP workshop, a 4 yr. old girl shared with her “godmother” how she could be “safe, strong and free”. The godmother just happened to be a journalist for the country’s leading woman’s magazine. As a result “Woman’s Own” features an extensive story on the Devon CAP project.
– Submitted by Devon CAP, Totnes, England
From Moldova CAP Project:
A 10 year old boy was chained to a tree every day after school so his parents could return to work and know he was not running around in the streets. When it rained, people brought him a cover and when it was hot, they brought him water. But, no one released him. He was the “property” of his parents. A newly trained CAP team went to the prosecutor in the city and demanded the boy’s release, defining the situation as torture and abuse. Their demands were met and the boy was released, and they also arranged for people in the neighborhood to watch the boy so the mother and father could return to work and support the family.
– Submitted by CAP Project of Moldova, Chisinau, Moldova
Kentucky CAP Project:
A little girl was abducted from a local Wal-Mart. The first chance she got, she yelled and kicked and ran for help. After giving a complete description of the abductor to the police, she said she learned how to be safe, “from those nice ladies from CAP”. Her mother credits CAP with saving her life.
– Submitted by Kentucky CAP, Louisa, Kentucky, USA
From New York CAP Project:
A number of children in different classes in one elementary school came down during Review Time to tell about a “strange guy” who was hanging around a park a few blocks away. Though many children knew he was there every day after school, none had told any adults. A call was placed to the local police who waited for him to appear that afternoon. Almost like clockwork, he drove up to the park fifteen minutes before the school was scheduled to let out. Police later told the school principal that the CAP program had helped in apprehending a known sex offender who had recently been released from prison.
A fifth grader came down to speak with CAP Facilitators during Review Time. He asked if they would be going to the middle school the following year. The CAP person said she was not sure. At that point, the boy said, “Well, then I guess I need help from you now.” He lifted his shirt and had two complete iron burns on his chest as well as multiple bruises. His mother was referred to CPS for physical abuse. As a result of CAP in that school, his abuse was stopped and the family received the much needed intervention.
– Submitted by New York CAP, Crime Victims Assistance Center, Inc., Binghamton, NY, USA
From the New Hampshire CAP Project:
While doing CAP in a fifth grade and beginning to talk about the Safety Yell, a boy excitedly raised his hand and said, “I know what you’re going to do. I had this program in first grade.” When asked which school he had been in when he had CAP, his response was a school the facilitator did not recognize. She discovered it was in New Jersey and he remembered it from first grade! That is the second time this has happened, and in the first incident, the child was also from New Jersey.
– Submitted by CAP Coordinator, New Hampshire CAP, The Youth Council, Inc., Nashua, New Hampshire, USA
The Virginia CAP Project:
The CAP team in Winchester, Virginia, received a letter from a school official in which she explained, “As the result of the CAP workshop with the fourth grade, a sweet girl timidly identified her situation. It was the first time she had broken her silence, revealing the dark secret she had held so close for so long. As the result of CAP’s work, this girl’s older sister was also identified as a victim. The perpetrator was arrested and is serving a prison term.” She went on to credit the CAP program for the family’s deeper bonding and their new efforts to communicate more openly.
– Submitted by CAP Coordinator, Child Advocacy Network, Winchester, Virginia, USA
From the Former Yugoslavia CAP Project:
Thirty six people were trained in CAP one month before the war broke out. Despite the danger at the Albanian/Serbian border, three women came to Belgrade to be trained in CAP – not knowing if they would ever be allowed back into Kosovo by the Serbian border guards. But they believed that their children need to be empowered.
Through tears, they told us, “Our children are not safe or free, but we must teach them to be strong!” After the war, though the country is economically and physically devastated, CAP workshops were presented in 29 schools in 6 cities throughout Yugoslavia!
– Submitted by Gera Ibolya, Former Yugoslavia CAP