The Lamplighter Movement
Why CSA is increasing
First, let me apologize to my readers. My blog from last weekend contained a typo. The first stat listed which said “As per Dreamcatchers for Abused Children, child abuse has increased 34% since 1980. What I meant to say was “134%”. I apologize to my readers.
What is up with these shocking numbers??
I prowled the net for information and came up with some possibilities:
- With more publicity around the subject of child sexual abuse, more people are coming forward with their stories than ever pushing the numbers higher. That doesn’t necessarily mean they are all in a recovery program or getting healed.
- With the economy in bad shape non-profits are having a more difficult time obtaining funds. This cuts into the help they are able to give those who need it, thereby increasing the numbers. If you have nowhere to go you become self-destructive.
- Since child sexual abuse is a multi-generational problem, children of an untreated child sexual abuse victim stand a five times greater chance of being abused themselves. Hence, a mother in 1950 who had been sexually abused and had three daughters, has now contributed four people at high risk for sexual abuse. If those four had three each, now we’re at twelve, twelve times two children equals 24. If, as the years go by the majority of these girls are sexually abused and 20% of them are untreated, we now have sent out into the world a lot more than the original one. According to the Centers for Disease Control, child sexual abuse is now an epidemic. This is one of the reasons why.
- The lowest risk ratio for abuse is one in which the biological parents are married and the family has always been intact. The divorce rate is accelerating which increases the number of sexually abused children. The breakdown of the family has a direct impact on the children in an often negative way.
- The widespread proliferation of pornography contributes greatly to the increase of child sexual abuse. Pornography destroys lives, destroys marriages, destroys families, destroys the ability of a person to have a normal and healthy sex life with their spouse, destroys careers, and leads people into other bondages like drugs and alcohol. It also follows a destructive path towards child sexual abuse.
- More males, encouraged by the large numbers of their gender who are telling their story, are also coming forward with their stories.
- New technological developments make it easier to produce and transmit illicit videos and images. The market for this has exploited thousands of young children. In other parts of the world children are being sold to this seedy market for child pornography, sometimes by their parents who need the money to buy food for the family.
- The sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church has encouraged more and more people to come forward with their stories. In the years prior to this most victims never spoke of their trauma.
I spent hours combing the Internet and these are just the major reasons I found that contribute to the increase of child sexual abuse. What must be done to bring these numbers down?
1. More adult survivors must be encouraged to get into a recovery program that works. If we can reach the parents we can save the children. Remember, children of an untreated child sexual abuse victim stand a five times greater chance of being molested themselves.
2. We must bring this demon out of the dark into the open. Too many people feel this subject is so disgusting and yucky that they don’t want to hear about it and feel nothing but ill will towards those who want to talk about what happened to them. I gave a talk to a local organization awhile back about what had happened to me and what I was trying to do with the Lamplighters and REPAIR Your Life program. Approximately 40 to 50 people were in the audience and every one of them averted their eyes from me, some turning their head sideways. One man stood up, turned his chair around and sat with his back turned to me the entire time. If we are ever going to get a handle on this we must start talking openly and honestly about what happened to us. We must not allow the general public to treat us as if we have leprosy.
3. What are you doing to make a difference? Tell your story! A few years ago when I was traveling around the country trying to find out what other survivors would like to see in a program, I stopped at a small town in the Midwest. Several women were in a park across the street from a hospital where they worked, eating their lunch. I joined them and began telling my story and what I was trying to do. One of the women said to me in a hushed voice, “Why are you talking about this as if it weren’t your fault?” When I responded, “It wasn’t.” she appeared shocked. I continued, “I was sleeping on a bottom bunk with a rosary under my pillow when my father came in and raped me. What part of that story is my fault?” Before I left, she had told me her story.
4. Order a copy of the pamphlet, “He told me not to tell, A parents ‘guide to talking to children about sexual assault,” published by the King County Sexual Assault Resource Center. If you call 425.226.5062 they will mail you free of charge as many copies as you want. Sit down with your children and share with them what is in the pamphlet.
We are all in this together. We need an army! If you have been sexually abused, and have not told anyone your story, think of your children. Think of your grandchildren. Do you really want what happened to you to happen to them? Get started. You have a job to do.