Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Silence


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



5 comments:

  1. http://articles.mcall.com/2011-03-03/news/mc-bill-white-sex-folo-20110302_1_abuse-tammy-lerner-combat-child

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  2. Thank you for sharing that article. If we just stand by in silence, the abuse will just continue undeterred. We need to stand up, break the silence, and end the cycle of childhood sexual abuse.

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  3. What can we do besides donate? Pittsburgh is so full of all kinds of abuse. It's so sad!

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  4. It's seems like such a difficult thing to change, and I believe it is. We are talking about changing the way an entire society views something. Seems overwhelming, and I think that is why so many people do little to nothing about it. They just hope someone else will take care of it, and that just further perpetuates the silence.

    I am not a therapist or an expert by any means, but I think we need to start with ourselves and with our families. We need to create a "culture" within our families in which we feel safe and comfortable talking about the subject. Once we are successful at that, then we can take it to a community level. That is kind of my thinking. It's a difficult problem to solve, that is why I wanted to get people's opinions.

    Thanks for the comment Rachel!

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  5. Thanks for your post James. Yes, we need to understand and break our own taboos before we can expect our children to challenge older people perhaps in positions of power over them.

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