|Image credit: http://www.colorlines.com/content/what-you-need-know-about-childhood-sexual-abuse|
The statistics in the image are heartbreaking and shock a lot of people. Childhood sexual abuse doesn’t shock me. It doesn’t stun me, and it doesn’t surprise me. I never wonder how it could possibly happen. I never have wondered. I never will wonder.
As early as any of us can remember, this body was used sexually. We have hints of memories prior to the age of 3 years old. We have definite memories as early as 4 years old. It started so early and went on for so long that we grew up believing it was normal. Our abuser was in the home daily. Outside of the home he was a devout church member. He sang in the choir and was a deacon in the church. Friends love him, other kids thought we had the coolest step dad ever. He always seemed to be wonderful. He fixed bikes, went camping, took us on vacations, and videotaped all typical childhood events. To the outside we had the perfect family.
He never paid for what he did. The mother worked hard to defend him. The police said there simply wasn’t enough evidence. Our case never made it into a statistic. The above statistic doesn’t include us. If it doesn’t include us, how many more cases like ours are not included? What are the actual numbers? How many children are being broke, split, and shattered because of not reporting? How many are being taught that help isn’t coming because of not being believed?
Its time to pay closer attention to the world around us. You can make a difference to one child if you can save that one child. Had any family member really paid attention, we could have been saved too. Its not their fault, they didn’t know. I just believe that a little more diligence, attention, and time can make a huge difference to a child. We don’t have to save all children, but we can all save one. We removed our children from a situation that was abusive in other ways. They are now supported, healthy, and growing. We are here with them, yet we are not raising them. We have no ability to raise children. We are still small children ourselves.