Sunday, October 31, 2010

Wake up and do something abou it.................

Sexual abuse of children is one of the highest rated crimes yet one of the least reported around the world. Every minute of every day, around the globe, children, primarily young girls are being victimized by sexual assault. The majority of these girls remain silent due to embarrassment, fear, guilt and even blame. They suffer greatly, alone, with psychological and behavioral issues. As adults, they carry with them the horrors of their past and are drastically hindered by their effects in every aspect of their lives. The silence of these victims not only affects them, but society as well. With another un-reported pedophile on the loose, the probability of that person striking again is almost inevitable. Our society needs to learn how to speak more openly on this issue so our children will not be so afraid to tell.
            Statistically, females are at a higher risk for sexual assault. The horrors of these statistics become apparent when we are forced to recognize that the groups with the highest incidence are young girls between the ages of 5-13. According to the organization RAINN (2009) in the United States alone, 1 in out of every 6 women has been a victim of rape or attempted rape by the time they reached 15 years of age. Every 2 minutes someone is sexually assaulted, here in this country. Despite what most of us teach our children, 60% of all sexual crimes go unreported. Factoring in the unreported rapes, only about 6% of rapist will ever spend a day in jail (2009). The perpetrators, or monster as so many victims call them, are usually people the child and family know and trusts. The pedophile is bold, 50% of all incidents occur in the child’s home or the home a relative.
            The fact that most perpetrators are individuals that the child and family know is sometimes used as silence weapon. The perpetrator uses the innocence and submissiveness of the child to scare them into silence. Usually threatening to harm the family or denying it all together. Not only is there fear, but there is shame and embarrassment. Working with several individuals that have been abused, the common thread to shame is that they don’t want people to look at them as if they are damaged.  Some children do not tell because they feel guilty. The mind of a child is not yet developed properly to be faced with barbaric acts such as these. The primary factors that play a role in the silence of the child is self blame. Children feel that since they did not tell the first time, they are at fault for the atrocities bestowed on them.
            One can imagine the psychological and behavioral implications this will have on the psyche of a child. While some children show no sign of abuse, most become withdrawn and depressed.  Adults and children can both develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorders, the same thing most of us affiliate with the horrors of war. Regressive behaviors such as bed wetting and thumb sucking often occur. I believe this is the minds way trying to feel innocent again. Eating disorders develop 35% to 40% of the time in both women and children based on research done from the nonprofit organization After Silence (2007). This is the person’s way of acting out their rage or regaining control of their bodies.
            Abused girls usually grow up with low self esteem an isolate themselves from the dangerous world outside. As adults, women have difficulties setting boundaries and saying no to anything. Trust is shattered and everyone is suspect. Some women experience flashbacks when reminded of the incident. Anything from smell to a color can trigger a flashback.
Since there is a problem setting boundaries and having low self esteem, most of these girls grow up to be promiscuous. Added to all the other baggage, most women depend on drugs and alcohol to feel ok. This usually leads them right back into a path of abusive relationships with men and their environment.
Speaking about sexual crimes is uncomfortable enough, but speaking about it in reference to children is almost too terrifying to face. The numbers speak for themselves, we have a problem. The fact that laws against sexual assault are not stricter allows these criminals to walk proudly amongst us as outstanding citizens. People cannot turn a blind eye to this most relevant issue. Is it taboo? Yes, and it is this fear of the taboo that needs to be changed before we can try to beat this pandemic. Speaking openly about sexuality and setting boundaries with our children will instill in them the knowledge as well as the security to come to you if someone is hurting them.

Please join the fight and get the word around.  Sex offenders should not enjoy freedom. One Strike Rule for sex offenders.

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