11 million British children sexually abused
The latest numbers are shocking to some, old hat to others, but they do show that England is, like many European countries, full of child sexual abuse. The numbers of 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are numbers many European countries echo.
Scandals, lies and cover ups
Of late, Brittain has had quite a few scandals hit the papers, in particular (and of international infamy) surrounding the BBC. Jimmy Saville, Gary Glitter, Church officials, politicians and chiefs of police: the one thread that these cases have in common is that in all of these case they were a ‘public secret’. Meaning that people were aware that it was happening and chose to look the other way.
On choosing to look away
Whether it’s a celebrity or a relative who perpetrates child sexual abuse against you, the effects are devestating. But many victims of child sexual abuse also report the effect of people looking away as at least equally devestating. When you look away from a child in trouble you’re implicitly giving permission to the perpetrator and you’re telling the child he or she is not worth bothering about.
Allowing child sexual abuse that you’re aware of to continue doesn’t make you guilty in the eyes of the law. There are no laws that say you have to report a crime you are aware of. But are you at the same time, not failing to protect a child? Are you not neglecting the childs needs, effectively ignoring the fact that it’s being hurt.
Finally people are getting real about child sexual abuse
In England alone, an estimated 11 million people have suffered from child sexual abuse. Those numbers are huge and they may be the tip of the iceberg. Righteous indignation is aimed squarely at public figures who perpetrated or enabled these acts. The more difficult questions for people get their heads around are:
- Is this happening in my own environment?
- In my street?
- In my own home?
It’s easy to think Jimmy Saville did it. It’s much more difficult to look critically at your own husband (or wife), at your family, at your children. The number don’t lie however and more than half of those 11 million people are abused by someone they know and love. Someone within their own family. Someone you might never suspect.
We need people who choose not to look away
On behalf of the children who are, right now, living in fear right under your noses. We need you not to look away. Pay close attention to whoever as access to your child. Listen to what your children say and believe them, even if it sounds incredible to you! All of the survivors that I’ve counselled, have told me that they have tried at least once to tell somebody, but they were not heard.
Get informed about child sexual abuse
My own book is a good place to start, to begin to understand what child sexual abuse is all about. How grooming works and what tell tale signs of child sexual abuse are. My book is geared towards the adult survivor of child sexual abuse, explaining what the short and long term effects of child sexual abuse are and how to heal them. It’s a great resource for social workers, counsellors and therapists alike, wanting to know more about that it means to be sexually abused as a child.
For more information about the long term effects of child sexual abuse and how to heal from them, buy the book ‘I Thrive. Healing child sexual abuse’ at Amazon.com