Country finally responding to sexual abuse correctly
To the Editor:
In response to a well-written and informative article by Angela Pike in September and with the current situation at Penn State University, our country is finally responding to sexual abuse allegations in the correct manner.National Statistics released by the United States Department of Justice indicate that one out of three girls and one out of five boys will be sexually abused by the age 18. A child is sexually abused every six minutes, 240 children every day. These statistics are overwhelming and tragic.
Unfortunately, most sexual abuse crimes still go unreported. Experts believe as few as one in ten children will ever disclose. If the victim is a male, most will not disclose until between the ages of 19 to 25 years.
Research indicates that 95 percent of sexually abused children will turn to alcohol and/or drug abuse to self-medicate and relieve the pain and turmoil in their lives. The incidence of suicide increases is this population and often has devastating effects not only on the victim, but on the entire family.
Research now indicates that 93 percent of victims know their abusers. This relationship that the offender establishes is a calculated process to manipulate the child. Often the child or a family member is threatened by the offender. The longer this relationship and process occurs usually decreases the chances of the child telling.
Many people are unaware of these alarming statistics. If you suspect a child is being abused, summon your outrage and your courage, and report it! By acting, you may not only save one child, but perhaps countless others as most offenders have multiple victims. Trust your instincts!
All 50 states require that professionals who work with children report reasonable suspicions of child abuse. Do not give up as often times a child has to share the events seven to ten times before the actual truth is revealed. This can be a frustrating process for caretakers and is a normal cycle as the child feels embarrassed and humiliated. There can be several obstacles with the law enforcement agencies and other professionals: events are not recalled, information can be suddenly lost, and individuals are not able to accept responsibility, shame on those individuals for being cowards.
Bivona Child Advocacy Center in Monroe County offers an annual summit to professionals on Child Abuse. It is held annually every April in conjunction with National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Please call 1-585-935-7800 or visit the website at BivonaCAC.org for information and registration.
Other numbers and agencies include: Darkness to Light helpline @ 1-866-FOR-LIGHT
Reachout Services: 265-2422/St. Lawrence Children & Youth Services: 541-2001
Please choose to save a child and be a victim advocate.
Susan Burns-Normandin, R.N.