When you’re growing up, you learn two things: 1… Don’t tell other people’s secrets… 2… Don’t tell your family business. A broken the lamp or momma switched out your dead goldfish for a live one are secrets. Daddy lost his job today or our lights were cut off, are examples of family business. Uncle Rupert has been touching his nieces in places he shouldn’t is child sexual abuse. It should not be a secret and not filed away as family business. These secrets are destroying the lives of young men and women everyday. These secrets are destroying our society.
Statistics state that 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 5 boys are victims of sexual abuse before they reach the age of 18. A family member abuses 68% of these children. Generally the perpetrator convinces the child that it’s their secret. The real problem occurs when the child decides not to keep the secret and reports the abuse to a family member. In many instances, families do the right thing and call the police. In other instances, a Band-Aid is placed on the situation by making the perpetrator leave the home and promising the child it won’t happen again. In many other instances the child is labeled a liar and punished as a liar. That makes the child shut down and less likely to report anything.
The families that immediately report the abuse are not only helping society by removing a criminal from the streets. They are opening the door for the child to receive the appropriate medical and psychological care they need to become healthy, productive members of society. The families that decide to handle things “in-house” are setting the child up for a life that could be potentially laden with self-destructive behavior and psychological dysfunction. Promiscuity and substance abuse are common in adults that were sexually abused as a child. 75% to 95% of prostitutes report that they were sexually abused as children. Boys who receive the appropriate treatment when they are young are less likely to abuse when they become adults.
Failure to report child sexual abuse is a crime. Failure to report child sexual abuse is not only damaging to a young girl or boy, you allow a sexual predator to roam about society seeking his/her next victim. Failure to report child abuse contributes to increased high school dropout rates and unemployment rates.
In order to combat this problem, make sure your child knows they can tell come to you is someone has sexually abused them or attempted to abuse them. If your child or any child reports to you that they have been sexually abused, believe them and report it immediately. Don’t confront the alleged perpetrator. Don’t start your own investigation. That’s what law enforcement and the department of child services will do. Don’t overwhelm the child with questions. Let the investigators handle that. If you know of a child that has been sexually abuse and it was not reported, report it. It’s not too late.