Making children’s books on sexual abuse accessible is one way to help these children and help educate others on the reality of sexual abuse crimes against children. Another important way to help is by reporting. Remember, telling the parent is not the same as reporting. Report to the proper authorities and let the professionals take it from there.
Those that know me well, recognize this as a change. In the past I wrongly felt one handled things within the family, gave the parent every opportunity to seek help, to change their own behaviors and to protect their child. I now know this is not always the situation. Mental illness, substance abuse, fear of their own personal secrets being revealed, fear of being ostracized by society and other empty reasons are crutches some parents use to justify keeping sexual abuse against their child quiet. Just because a person has a nice job, home and other “things” does not mean they are functioning as you and I expect a normal parent to; they are good at “acting” the part in front of others. The lengths they will go to force their child into silence, recanting and even lying are mind-numbing. As are the lengths, they will go to destroy anyone who “defies” them and does not fall into their plan of action. Please, learn from the mistakes of others; report suspected child abuse, encourage others to report and be aware of what they are seeing.
First, what we ask you to report are those suspicions that are your own and not those that someone has shared. When someone comes to you with their own concerns or things they have witnessed I highly recommend you let them know they are informing the wrong person, and give them the toll free number to report. It is not right for them to come to you or anyone else other than professionals with their gossip. When adults go around gossiping about a child they ruin the natural experiences that child would have with other children and adults. As, we run the risk of unenlightened adults keeping their child and others away from the already victimized child.
Second, we ask that you report to the proper authorities. When you tell the parent you run the risk that parent/guardian already knows of the abuse and have done their best to hide the secret. In telling the parent/guardian, you may be further endangering the child and be an active part of keeping the child silent. The parent/guardian could assume the child has said something to spill their family secret and use the information you gave them to further traumatize the child and the information stops with them. If this type of abuse has been occurring for generations, that parent will not seek help. As well, it could be as simple as putting a task on the parent that they are unable to cope with at that time, or a parent using poor judgment in thinking they can handle it on their own when they are not equipped to do so.
A child who has been traumatized by their own family when they have cried out for help needs encouragement to keep telling before they are forever silenced; as this type of victimized child puts their safety and their life on the line when they are the only ones to tell. They need adults around them that choose to see past the lies and are present for them when their own parents are not. We need to have as much courage as the child and should not leave the child to fight this horrible violation all alone. When we do not report we are making a choice to abandon that young child. If enough people in that child’s life make known to the authorities their own suspicions, no matter if just one incident or concern, collectively those reports can add up to make a change in that child’s life. Furthermore, if you continue to witness things or behavior in the child that causes you concern you may need to report multiple times.
It takes a strong person to stand up for and not give up on a child. We should have no loyalty to those that protect the child molester. Sometimes people choose not to speak out for a child for fear the attack will turn on them, even teachers and others who are required by law to report. Instead they turn a blind eye and protect their retirement, reputation or own personal secrets leaving the child to suffer in silence, confusion and heartbreaking, mind rending pain. Remember the face of the child, the terror of their abuse, the strength they must muster each day just to survive and make a decision to pick up the phone and help that child. Do the right thing… In Texas: Toll-Free: (800) 252-5400
For all other states look at our page – Report Abuse: Who to Contact in your State