What are some examples of training sessions you've done?
We had the first continuing legal education seminar this year [on sexual abuse] that was sponsored by the Family Law Section of the Georgia Bar. We had 25 attorneys attend. It will now be an annual event. We hope to get 50 attorneys next year.
My younger son's preschool is on its way to being a partner in prevention, which means at least 90 percent of their staff will be trained.
Before you got involved, did you know anyone victimized by abuse?
I was never exposed to it as a child, thankfully, not knowing anyone personally affected. As a father, I sort of woke up when the Penn State case broke. Someone said to me, "We all know someone who has had cancer, which affects one in nine people. Statistically, the estimates are that one in four girls and one in six boys under the age of 16 are victims of sexual abuse to some degree." That was shocking to me.
Do you believe the Penn State case has raised awareness of the problem?
Any situation like that does raise awareness but only for the short term. It's a blip on people's radar screen. They say it's unfortunate, then move on. Whether it's something with the Catholic Church, the Boy Scouts, it's in the news almost weekly. Long-term, I think educating people is the best way to raise awareness.
The new law passed in Georgia requires that any person or organization that deals with children has a duty to report [sexual abuse]. Most people don't know where to report or how to report it.
How else has your involvement affected your awareness or how you deal with the issue?
With my children, I know how to talk to them about it. It's not an issue that we keep hidden. I talk to my family and my friends. It's not a comfortable social topic, but I don't feel uncomfortable about it.
When you talk about it [to adults], inevitably someone will say, "You know, I was a victim." Or, "I knew someone who was a victim." Or "I knew someone accused of sexual abuse." For some people, it's the first time they've spoken about it. That catches me off-guard.
What was the idea behind Mobilezen?
In 2009, we saw an opportunity for a way to deliver information that at that time was unique and outside the box. It originated out of wanting to get information on real estate property at the curb. It evolved into the idea that, "If I have information about a business, a product or a service and everybody has a phone in their hand, I should be able to make that information available to them now through text messaging or a mobile website."
We've done a number of programs with Emory University, with Fulton County, Ga., with the Florida Panhandle and others.