Are We Still This Ignorant?
A friend and I attended training on sexual abuse against children. There were many important points and I had decided to write a series of articles on a few of the issues and statistics. Over the next couple of days I had two people make comments to me that stunned me. Stunned me; I was completely unaware that such ignorance of the facts still existed. I want to share these two conversations with you before I share a few facts.
I am so sad that my nieces (adults) are committing these acts against others.
Why do you think that?
Oh, I know it. That’s what those people do.
Children who have been sexually abused; they all grow up to be sexual abusers.
(Regardless of the facts and statistics I threw this woman’s way she insisted her information was correct. One week later, she is still insisting her information is correct and my facts are wrong.)
Hopefully, Karen will make a decision in the next few years to stop this behavior.
What??? She had no choice. This was forced upon her by an adult!
Well, I just hope she makes an informed decision to stop.
(Karen is a 9-year-old child that had been removed from her home due to sexual abuse against her.)
Neither of these people wanted to believe the facts. They choose to remain ignorant and spread that ignorance. Are we still so ignorant we blame a child for their abuse?
85% of offenders admitted to being molested as a child, of that 85% after undergoing lie detector only 25% were actually molested as a child.
One of the most distressing statistics is the following: Prior history of victimization
- Those with a prior history of sexual victimization are extremely likely to be revictimized. Some research estimates an increased risk of over 1000%.*
Do you realize they are saying One thousand percent more likely to be revictimized! People think if a child cries out more than once then the child is making it up. If the child is not believed and helped the first time revictimization becomes more likely. Predators know this and take advantage of the child.
We can openly discuss AIDS, Cancer, Sex, Drugs, Alcoholism but most people do not want to educate themselves against the epidemic of sexual abuse against our children. Until we do, ignorance controls our society and our children continue to suffer in silence.
Do we really want to be this ignorant about our children’s risks? I want to keep going until we can have televised events similar to “Stand up for Cancer.” Our children are this important.
Darkness2Light has a program aimed at preventing Sexual abuse against children.
Child sexual abuse: What parents should know*
What is child sexual abuse?
Child1 sexual abuse is any interaction between a child and an adult in which the child is used for the sexual stimulation of the perpetrator or an observer. A central characteristic of any abuse is domination of the child by the perpetrator through deception, force, or coercion into sexual activity. Children, due to their age, cannot give meaningful consent to sexual activity.
Who are the victims of child sexual abuse?
- Children of all ages, races, ethnicities, cultures, and economic backgrounds are vulnerable to sexual abuse.
- Child sexual abuse occurs in rural, urban, and suburban areas.
- It affects both girls and boys in all kinds of neighborhoods and communities, and in countries around the world.
Who are the perpetrators of child sexual abuse?
- Most children are abused by someone they know and trust.
- An estimated 60% of perpetrators of sexual abuse are known to the child but are not family members, e.g., family friends, babysitters, childcare providers, neighbors.
- About 30% of perpetrators are family members, e.g., fathers, brothers, uncles, cousins.
- Just 10% of perpetrators are strangers to the child.
- In most cases, the perpetrator is male regardless of whether the victim is a boy or girl. Heterosexual and gay men are equally likely to sexually abuse children. A perception that most perpetrators are gay men is a myth and harmful stereotype.
- Some perpetrators are female — It is estimated that women are the abusers in about 14% of cases reported among boys and 6% of cases reported among girls.
- Child pornographers and other abusers who are strangers may make contact with children via the Internet.
- Not all perpetrators are adults – an estimated 23% of reported cases of child sexual abuse are perpetrated by individuals under the age of 18.
- Other common characteristics of perpetrators include:
- a history of abuse (either physical or sexual)
- alcohol or drug abuse
- little satisfaction with sexual relationships with adults
- lack of control over their emotions
- mental illness in some cases
How prevalent is child sexual abuse?
- Some CDC research has estimated that approximately 1 in 6 boys and 1 in 4 girls are sexually abused before the age of 18.
- Other governmental research has estimated that approximately 300,000 children are abused every year in the United States.
- However, accurate statistics on the prevalence of sexual abuse of children and adolescents are difficult to collect because it is vastly underreported and there are differing definitions of what constitutes sexual abuse.
- Boys (and later, men) tend not to report their victimization, which may affect statistics. Some men even feel societal pressure to be proud of early sexual activity regardless of whether it was unwanted.
- Boys are more likely than girls to be abused outside of the family.
- Most mental health and child protection professionals agree that child sexual abuse is not uncommon and is a serious problem in the United States.