Yesterday I was interviewed by a young lady who, as a part of her college curriculum, needed to interview someone on any subject matter that she was totally uncomfortable with. I found that interesting, a subject matter she was totally uncomfortable with. What better subject than child sexual abuse. After the interview was over I found myself (as I often do) putting myself in that young lady’s position (she came from a family where three of her siblings were sexually abused). I totally got it. Child sexual abuse, especially incest, is so repugnant, so disgusting and abhorrent that for a few minutes, I too, wished I’d never heard of it, much less been a survivor. I understood why one of my granddaughters referred to the work I do as “that yucky sex stuff” and why another granddaughter treated me as invisible at family gatherings for many years. Once that young lady and I were so close that she looked up to me as if I were her second mother. Her response to what I was doing almost broke my heart.
Today I stumbled on the non-profit below and after reading what was posted on their website I moved from those moments when I too didn’t want to hear about it and felt such a feeling of revulsion to understanding yet one more time why we must not turn our backs on this subject, why we must not treat the statistics of child sexual abuse as something to be ignored. I was back in my purpose and proud of it. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if no one ever needed to discuss it because it was gone? I doubt if that wishful thinking will ever happen. The world we live in has much darkness, some in shadows, some in violence, drugs, physical and sexual abuse. All we can do is keep plugging away. If my work saved just one other victim I would feel that I had succeeded. These things have a ripple effect, that one person tells a friend, who tells another friend and then another. Someone in this chain becomes impacted by the hope that maybe there is a way to have a happy and healthy life. They type www.thelamplighters.org into Google and are on their way to recovery and living a happy life. If you don’t believe this, go to this page of my website: www.thelamplighters.org/llblog01/marjories-bio/ and follow the path of my life from despair and misery to being the happiest person I know.
Incest Survivors United Voice of America, the non-profit I mentioned above, at www.isuvoa.com/ supports men, women and children who have suffered from the effects of sexual violence and child abuse. Their statistics tell the heartbreaking tale.
Five children die every day as a result of child abuse.
12.5 million American children will be sexually molested before they are 18 years of age.
1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys have been molested by age 18.
Boys report less than girls.
90% of the molesters are family members or friends.
The youngest children are the most abused.
80% of children that die from abuse are under the age of 4.
2% of pregnant and parenting teens were raped, molested, or sexually assaulted prior to their first pregnancy.
Children who have been abused or neglected are 59% more likely to be arrested as juveniles.
The US has more child maltreatment deaths than any other industrialized nation, ranking highest in both the total number of deaths and deaths on a per capital basis.
Child abuse is a worldwide epidemic. In the United States more than 3.5 million children were reported as victims of child abuse or neglect. The staggering truth is that before today is over, five children will DIE. The problem seems to grow worse as the headlines today show. Child abuse kills more children in America than accidental falls, choking on food, suffocation or fires in the home. It is sad to reflect on how many innocent and vulnerable children are living in homes where abuse is a routine part of life.
There is no reason anyone should turn their back on these stats. If those of us who were victimized don’t move forward and then reach back to help others there will never be a change in these numbers. Despite being a shameful topic and happening, the shame should be on the perpetrators and not the victims.
So please, rather than finding the subject of child sexual abuse repugnant, look upon it as one looks upon cancer, cardiac failure and many other traumas. It is sad. It is curable.