I began researching sexual abuse in college when I was dealing with my own personal healing. To be honest, there wasn’t a whole lot of research available then, so I primarily relied on my my pastor to give me guidance. After I became a youth worker I learned how to recognize the signs of child abuse and child sex assault, and how/when to report suspicions. It wasn’t until I became a foster parent that the reality of how vile people could be really hit me. After the adoption of our son, who was 12 years old at the time, I made it my mission to understand the effects of sexual assault and child abuse on brain and behavior development. Thankfully my desire for knowledge and my obsession with research has been beneficial for my son. It led to some major breakthroughs in his development and success. We weren’t afraid to talk about it, research it, challenge the “status quo” and get answers. We met the issue head-on, as a family, instead of shying away from it and pretending it wasn’t there.
Unfortunately, this topic has been labeled “taboo” far too long, making it difficult to discuss, and therefore combat. No one really wants to talk about sexual assault, because that leads to talking about sexploitation and the many forms/avenues it has (20+). Because THEN we have to talk about things like pornography, sex in media, and the deep seeded DEMAND for this product and so much more. And then we have to talk about WHO is demanding it. And no one wants their dark secrets exposed. They want to “help”, but they don’t want to discuss how their involvement in the problem is an issue and feeding into the second largest illegal international crime industry with over $99 billion in annual profits (1). No one wants to know that the youngest sex trafficking victim reported is just 2 years old (2). No one wants to discuss that nearly 30% of victims are abused and/or trafficked by a FAMILY member (3), and 60% are abused/trafficked by someone their family knows (4). And that’s just a few facts and figures that people avoid. This epidemic runs deeper than you can imagine, and it’s time to talk about it.
I’m talking about it. I hope you will too.
Want to take action? There are local, national and international organizations you can volunteer with: endslaverynow.org, Love146.org, polarisproject.org, International Justice Mission at ijm.org, World Vision at worldvision.org and many more!
And feel free to share this with others.
1. International Labour Organization, Profits and Poverty, The Economics of Forced Labour, 2014
2. Sneed, Tammy, Inroduction to CSEC and DMST, Spet. 2015
3. “Child Sexual Abuse.” MedlinePlus. 2011
4. “Child Sexual Abuse Fact Sheet.” NCTSN. 2011