Ignoring Child Abuse!
By George James, LMFT
The recent Penn State child abuse scandal reminds us that child abuse is real and occurs at alarming rates. According to national statistics1, every ten seconds there is a report of child abuse. Reported child abuse cases are categorized as follows: neglect (78.3%), physical abuse (10.8%), psychological maltreatment (7.6%), sexual abuse (7.6%) and other (12%)1. The Penn State/Jerry Sandusky case involves child sexual abuse. When we see a low number like 7.6% for sexual abuse, it is easy to think that it doesn’t occur that often. In reality, that translates to 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys who have experienced child sexual abuse.
Some boys and girls have experienced it more than once. This means that within our families, places of faith, work places, educational institutions and social environments, if we were to count four women and six men, at least one man and one woman would have experienced child sexual abuse. The one that experienced sexual abuse could be you reading this right now. Unfortunately, we still ignore this problem. We ignore what happens to our children, nieces/nephews, cousins, friends, and partners.
In the Penn State scandal, many people who had the opportunity to do something and protect children from being abused ignored the problem. As a result, young children were sexually abused, with more people coming forward each day. As a therapist, I’ve heard the same thing from my clients. They felt they weren’t protected by their family members or at their place of faith, and as a result they were abused.
It is time for us to take responsibility for the safety of our children and loved ones. It is time to stop ignoring this problem and recognize that it happens more than we realize. The only way to change how frequently our children are sexually abused is if we protect them and stop ignoring the fact that this could and does happen.
In the following video, I share how this scandal occurred, why Coach Paterno and others ignored the child sexual abuse and what we can do to protect children from abuse. http://youtu.be/26M8xvc3SOk
George James is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist and CEO of George Talks, LLC. For more on this and other topics, please visit www.GeorgeTalks.com,
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Children’s Bureau. (2010). Child Maltreatment 2009. Available from http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/stats_research/index.htm#can