Fran Henry founded Stop It Now! in 1992 and led the organization through 2005. Today, she continues to support Stop It Now! and is an internationally-recognized leader in abuse prevention. Below is a letter she wrote in 2005 to outline her ongoing support for the organization and her recollection of its founding.
I founded Stop It Now! in 1992 because I am a survivor of child sexual abuse. As I grew up, I learned there are millions of us in society, many who are suffering and feeling unnecessary shame because of society's decades of ignorance and denial. In 1992, there were very few prevention programs, and those that did exist focused exclusively on teaching children basic protection skills. Those programs were an important and necessary first step, but the gravity and complexity of child sexual abuse required more, and different, programs if sexual abuse was to be prevented before it happened.
Many people have a part to play in preventing child sexual abuse. If you know someone who is or could be abusing a child, you can learn to ask the right questions of that person. If you are someone who has abused, or feels at risk to abuse, you can learn how devastating your behavior will be. There is help and treatment available that can help you change. Everyone involved with children needs to learn that sexual abuse is a crime, and that children can be taught and modeled the truth: that they have a right to their sexual and physical well-being.
Stop It Now! was started, and still exists, to provide information and hope. Even though child sexual abuse still harms many children and families, individuals need courage to face sexual abuse in a straightforward way. When people get the right information, and suggestions about what actions they can take, they find the strength it takes to make the right choices. Anyone who needs help can call the Stop It Now! Helpline.
After thirteen years of heading Stop It Now!, I have moved away from the leadership role. I have not, however, wavered in my belief that Stop It Now! provides a vital solution that would have made a huge difference in my life forty years ago. Stop It Now!'s pioneering work can keep our kids safer and healthier.
Finally, if you care about prevention, and child sexual abuse has touched your heart and mind, please click on the link to our donation page. Stop It Now! is funded almost entirely with donations like yours. Each one, small or large, means that our work can continue.
Key Policy Speeches
"Where is Will Shakespeare When We Need Him? Preventing the Sexual Abuse of Children"
San Diego Conference on Child and Family Maltreatment, 2002
"A Prescription for Change on Child Sexual Abuse"
American Medical Association 2001
"The Impact of Sexual Abuse and its Implications for Our Work"
U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs
Promoting Public Safety through Sexual Assault Prevention and Sex Offender Management, 2000
Fran Henry featured in Smith College Archive
The pioneering work of Fran Henry and Stop It Now! in the field of child sexual abuse are documented in the Sophia Smith Collection of the Women’s History Collection at Smith College: