7 facts about child sexual abuse that leave me stunned.
Kids try to tell us things all the time that they don't know how to describe.
They don't have the words to say it. Or they're embarrassed, or terrified, like the child in this video. (And while the stat at the end of the video is specifically about India, I've included a look at other countries and here at home below.)
I pledge to make myself more aware of the kids in my life, what they're trying to say to adults around them, and to at least attempt to be in tune with them when there is something bothering them.
I mean, any good parent tries to do that, right?
I'd gamble that the mother in this video thinks she's a good parent.
She probably is a good parent for that matter. But she missed something crucial.
Even the best of parents can miss terribly important bits of data and spoken or even unspoken words that can end up putting their child in danger.
So … on to some of the difficult stuff: statistics that made me clench my fists in rage.
Mind you, there are lots of these kinds of incidents that go unreported, so this is just some of the stuff we know about these countries. And it's by no means limited to the following, but I wanted to give an indication of the problem across the world by sampling a few countries and then focusing on our own backyard:
1. In 2007, 1 in 2 children in India, both boys and girls, were victims of sexual abuse.
2. Almost 35% of all children in Africa are sexually abused or raped.
3. A child is raped about every three minutes in South Africa.
4. In the United States, a child is raped about every two minutes.
5. Every eight minutes in the U.S., child protective services responds to a report of sexual abuse.
6. 500,000 babies will be born this year in the U.S. who will be sexually abused before they turn 18.
7. In this country, 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men were sexually abused or raped when they were a child. That's over 40 million survivors.
And please note: In countries such as Mexico, Colombia, Uruguay, and Pakistan (among many others) where marriage to children 12 and 14 years old is "legal," it's still child sexual abuse, even if the marriage is considered sanctioned by the government.
The effects of this abuse are devastating.
The well-documented results when children suffer abuse at the hands of adults include suicide, long-term alcohol abuse, drug abuse, and a lifetime of mental health problems as well as a dramatic increase in the likelihood of becoming a victim again later in life. For many, these factors can lead to time in prison. Some become abusers themselves, replicating the cycle.