INDIANAPOLIS -- One in four girls and one in 13 boys will experience sexual abuse at some point in childhood, according to the CDC. A child is sexually assaulted every nine minutes in the United States.
Those are gut-punching statistics. If your stomach turned reading them, you're not alone.
"That makes me sick," Colts coach Frank Reich said. "That makes me sick every time I think about it."
Reich and his wife, Linda, are dedicated to raising awareness, initiating prevention and providing restoration for those affected by the horrible, pervasive – yet often clandestine – issue of sexual abuse, exploitation and trafficking of children in Indiana and the United States. The Reichs founded kNot Today in 2019 to bring this serious problem to light – since, too often, it's something we don't think or talk about enough.
"It's very difficult emotionally and cognitively to separate oneself when we're so involved with this organization," Linda Reich said. "But yet, it's so critical that we make a different because adults have to stand up and stand in the gap for children.
"And if we don't, who?"
kNot Today's latest initiative is a 12-page guide designed to provide parents an easily-digestible resource to raise awareness for and aid prevention of sexual assault. You can download a copy of the guide on kNot Today's website by clicking this link or can pick up a hard copy at Colts training camp practices at Grand Park. The guide was also given to fans attending Sunday's Colts-Panthers preseason game at Lucas Oil Stadium.
The guide covers how to talk and listen to children about such a difficult subject; how to review body boundaries; red flags for parents to watch out for in both their own children and sexual predators; ways to minimize risk; and words every parent should know and understand.
"What it will do is stimulate conversation, and that's the idea," Linda said. "It'll create something in a parent's mind that, oh my goodness, I haven't thought about this to talk to my child about this.
"And the reality is, it's never too early. Our two and a half year old granddaughter, my daughter's already talking to her about safety body parts, what body parts are private, who should never touch your body parts, never keep secrets from your parents about what's going on at playdates. Things like that, it's just never too early to talk about it."
An additional part of releasing the guide is a survey released in tandem with it, which asks those who take it if they have experienced childhood sexual abuse, exploitation or trafficking, or know a close family member or friend who has. You can contribute to the survey by clicking here.
The goal of the survey, with which Kerauno is a partner, is to collect data to help kNot Today influence legislation aimed at better protecting children in Indiana.
And that's because, Linda explained, "Some of the legislation right now in Indiana is some of the worst as far as helping protect children."
"As it stands in this state," Linda said, "that if there is an interested adult, let's say, that wants to partake in sexual relations with a child, with a minor, and that child is quote-un-quote exploited or trafficked to a third party, whether it's trafficking ring, whether it's a parent, whether it's a dad, whether it's a cousin — whoever is setting them up.
"Right now that piece of legislation states that unless the third party is identified, that sexual buyer can not be convicted until they have both people."
House Bill 1200, a bipartisan bill in the Indiana state legislature, aims to close that loophole of sorts. But to better push that piece of legislation through, groups like kNot Today need more data.
"It's absolute insanity," Linda said. "… People need to be aware of what's happening. We need to protect and step up, protect children and prevent it from happening. We need to mitigate this on the front side. We need to stop sexual predators."
Additionally, kNot Today also is working with The U.S. Institute Against Human Trafficking (USIAHT), It's a Penalty, A21 and Inner City Visions to make an impact nationally, including in cities such as Los Angeles.
Those interested in getting involved can log on to kNotToday.org to donate and sign up to volunteer for the organization.
"This is a subject that, when you start to talk to people about it, like, I'm in. What can I do? That's really encouraging," Frank said. "I think it's time that this becomes more prevalent and more aware, so we want to talk about awareness and then we want to talk about prevention and in those cases where we haven't prevented something, restoration. Helping the children get better. So we're all about those things, awareness, restoration and prevention."