By the time a child is 16 years old, 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will have been sexually abused. However, Dr. Susan Forward, one of the nation’s leading therapists, said that "Ninety percent of sexual abuse victims never tell."
Why is this? Why do ninety percent of victims never tell?
It seems that we live in a society in which the topic of childhood sexual abuse is taboo. So many people seem to want to ignore it and hope it will just go away or resolve itself, sweep it under the rug and figure no one will notice. But any victim of abuse will tell you that the pain, guilt, and scars will not go away simply by ignoring it.
As a parent I know that if something happened to my child, I would want them to tell me. I would want to help them in anyway possible. I am sure most parents feel the same way. However, children are often to tell because they are scared of getting in trouble, being treated differently, etc. But far too often when a child does work up the courage to open her mouth, she is not taken seriously and we don't take action. Or sometimes, we may make matters worse and confirm the child's fears, simply because we do not know how to handle the situation. Something needs to change...
There is a culture of silence in our society when it comes to childhood sexual abuse. In order to put an end to this horrible epidemic, there needs to be a fundamental change.
Why do you think this culture of silence exists? What can we do to change it?
- James Huntington