Listen to your children.

We need to see like children and fight like warriors against Domestic Violence and Child Sexual Abuse!
Court Systems need to listen to our children and stop re-victimizing them. They have a right to live in peace and should enjoy their youth without constant fear and worry. When a child cry’s out for help, we as adults need to take action and keep them safe.

If you have been sexually abused, it is important that you let someone know what happened and get help.
Disclosure may be scary, but it is also the first step in healing from the pain.

Why should I tell anyone?
All I want to do is put this behind me.

Sexual abuse lives on because of secrecy. People who commit sexual abuse (perpetrators) often blame, shame, or threaten their victims to make sure no one hears about what they have done to you. Disclosure is the first step to healing for you, and also the first step to making sure the person who hurt you doesn’t get a chance to hurt anyone else.

Because so many people do not report child sexual abuse, it’s difficult to know how frequent it is, but most estimates are that 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused before they are 18 years old.

There are an estimated 80,000 reports of child sexual abuse made each year in the United States and mental health specialists report many more are unreported. The reasons are complex and varied.

A few of the main reasons concern a child’s fear and anxiety of not being believed.

Confusion and shame over the incident may also lead many to not report sexual abuse.

Many state laws do not adequately protect children from sexual abuse and make it very difficult to come forward to authorities.

Many child sexual abuse victims are re-victimized by the legal process and their families’ own disbelief.

Most will try to bury the incident and attempt to forget the ordeal. This often leads the victim into a spiral of self-destructive behavior including drug and alcohol abuse, further abusive relationships, and an inability to trust friends and family members.

Through it all, these people—still youngsters or now adults—remain in this kind of “necessary denial” about what happened and what it means in their lives.

So it is that those who’ve suffered sexual abuse as a child often don’t confront the issue until much later in adulthood, if ever. The lingering effects to the psyche are devastating and leave the child a permanently altered individual.

I have witnessed the triumphs and tragedies of courageous survivors who have come forward and confront the evil and put an end to it. Which is why I need to continue to be an advocate for all children that continue to suffer with their secrecy so they are not ashamed and afraid to speak out and begin the healing process early in life opposed to waiting until adulthood and suffering through their childhood to bury the abuse.

Each survivor has his own, or her own, unique healing process.

For some, this means filing a sexual abuse lawsuit.

For others, healing requires counseling and a simple but profound awareness that he/she is not alone and does not have to keep secrets or suffer in silence any longer.

I hope this helps a child reach out for help. The goal is about healing of the survivors and protection of children in the future.
To Report Child Abuse: CALL 9-1-1 OR 1.800.4-A-CHILD. (1.800.422.4453).

Catherine Sanson