by Andrew Crisp
On the steps of the Idaho State Capitol Friday morning, activists turned out to commemorate Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness Month. The cold, windy morning set dozens of blue and silver pinwheels spinning.
"We love wind," said Roger Sherman, executive director of the Idaho Children's Trust Fund, "because we love pinwheels."
The Pinwheels for Prevention, as they're called, are a symbol of Prevent Child Abuse America, aimed at keeping the issue of childhood sexual abuse in the minds of everyone. The attendees cheered Sherman as he talked about the problem of abuse in American society.
"We don't want to talk about it," said Sherman. "We want to believe that a stranger in the park is the only threat. But in 90 percent of cases, the victim and victim's family trust the offender."
Matt Pipkin, the man behind the sexual-abuse awareness project Commit 65, also spoke before the group, which included members of Boise's Women's and Children's Alliance, the Idaho Coalition Against Sexual Abuse and Violence, the Idaho Youth Ranch and Let's Talk About It, Idaho.
"I was molested at the age of 5," said Pipkin. "It's heavy; it's icky. Nobody wants to talk about it, but that's why were taking this approach."
Pipkin plans to pilot a plane with his father continuously for 65 days to bring awareness to the cause. The entire rally was focused on broaching the issue, bringing the topic out into the light of day instead of sweeping it under the rug. According to Pipkin, his flight is a novel way to do just that.
"What does flying an airplane have to do with sexual abuse?" asked Pipkin. "Nothing, but it's an interesting way to talk about it."
At the end of the rally, attendees grabbed hands to form a human chain around the bell at the center of the Capitol steps.