One of the worst misconceptions of child sexual abuse stems from a line that we all tell ourselves about one issue or another: “It will never happen to me. It will never happen in my own family.” Many believe that since the issue of child sexual abuse isn’t talked about as much as political, religious, or international issues that it isn’t as prevalent. The truth is precisely the opposite. According to Darkness to Light, an organization dedicated to the prevention of child sexual abuse, 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will experience sexual abuse before they turn 18. That means in a kindergarten class of 20 children, at least four are likely to be sexually abused before they graduate from high school. (www.stopitnow.org)
If that seems scary to you, it gets worse. A majority of these events are occurring in our friend’s homes and even our own. As reported by Darkness to Light, 30 to 40% of children are abused by family members. And as many as 60% are abused by people the family trusts. Add all that up and you see that only about 10% of abusers are strangers. Do you have goose bumps yet?
So why isn’t this more common knowledge? The answer: It’s because of lines we tell ourselves like the one stated above. “I’m too smart to let it happen to me or my family.” These are lines we tell ourselves about rape, about drunk driving, about drug use, and yes, even about child sexual abuse.
Child sexual abuse is not only closer to home than we think, it can take place IN our homes, sometimes under our very noses.
So how do we keep child sexual abuse out of our homes, out of our own families, and out of our communities altogether?
We ALL need to learn about CSA prevention. It isn’t enough to stop what is currently going on, we have to prevent it from happening in the first place. And when it comes to child sexual abuse, many turn their heads and look the other way. Many people don’t know anything about child sexual abuse, especially young adults. Being a young adult myself, I can tell you that ignorance amongst people my age is scary. And it needs to change.
At this point, you may be thinking, who is this person to be telling me that I am not seeing reality or making bold claims that the world needs to change?
I have never been a victim of child sexual abuse. But I am the 24 year old daughter of someone who was. And through my mother’s healing, prevention work, and being raised to be aware of this issue, I know more on the subject than most adults and parents do. Because of my mother, I can see the signs of abuse in the young adults I come in contact with in my daily life. I look out for the signs in my own friends. I can spot grooming signs a mile away. I am very good at not getting myself into bad situations, especially with men in unfamiliar places.
I once came in contact with the uncle of a friend who raised all of my red flags and when I approached my friend about it, I was told that I was paranoid. I get this a lot. Because it is such a hush-hush topic, and not many 20+ year olds know about the issue as much as I do, I am often met with rolling eyes and responses about being too paranoid or too quick to judge. But it is exactly this response that lets so many get away with abusing others. In our society, especially with women, it is considered impolite to suggest that a person is creepy or to ask them to not be around our children. It is impolite for a woman to say that she doesn’t feel comfortable with a man and often is told by her “girlfriends” that she is crazy and being unreasonable (Yes, this happened to me as well.) But I think we can agree that being “impolite” is worth saving yourself or your children from abuse of any kind. No one should ever be shamed for standing up for themselves or for trusting their gut.
I am here to tell you, the reader, that knowledge of this issue, all the facts and statistics that I know, have helped me to live a more aware and safer life. I see the world for what it truly is. Life is beautiful and filled with love and happiness and good people. But I am also aware of the bad that comes with humanity and because of my mother, I know how to keep that bad out of my life and out of the lives of any future children I may have.
I hope that I persuaded you in some way, to look around you and maybe look inside your own family. Prevention is all about opening your eyes to the truth. Child sexual abuse can happen anywhere, to anyone. You know that cheesy Amazing Grace song, “I once was blind, but now I see?” It may be cliché, but it’s the truth. You can choose to be blind to the reality of this issue, or choose to open your eyes and see the truth. The choice is up to you.
By Elisa Brooks
Ready to get educated about Child Sexual Abuse and how to keep kids safe? Not sure where to start? Don’t worry. Just follow (this link) to Darkness to Light. Also feel free to call 619-889-6366 to reserve a one-hour coaching session with me ($125). Let me help you with the information you need to be comfortable with educating your kids, and the adults in your community! Reserve your spot NOW!
Have you read my new book, “Releasing Your Authentic Self”? If you’re ready to do the deep, hard work of emotional healing, this book is for YOU!! You’ll find it at Amazon in paperback (link) or Kindle (link). Enjoy and happy reading!
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