Ignorance Is Risk
By Laura Fogerty
Ignorance might sometimes seem like bliss, that’s true, but when it comes to child sexual abuse, ignorance is nothing short of risky behavior. What you don’t know could hurt you, or more importantly, your children. Learning the facts about child sexual abuse is the first step to preventing it, so here we go:
*Nearly 1 in 4 of our children will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday – that’s roughly 7 in EVERY classroom.
*90% of child sexual abuse victims know the perpetrator in some way. 68% are abused by a family member.
*About 80% of 21-year-olds who were abused as children met criteria for at least one psychological disorder.
*Abused and neglected children are 11 times more likely to engage in criminal behavior as an adult.
*80% of sexual abuse happens in isolated, one on one situations.
*Children with the language and the permission to talk about abuse are among the safest children.
What else can we do to protect our children and prevent abuse? TALK ABOUT IT! Talking about child sexual abuse is one of the greatest tools we have to combat it. When we keep the lines of communication open for our children, we equip them with the tools to protect themselves. People who sexually abuse children count on their silence, count on their inability to talk about it and count on our lack of involvement. So talk about it, keep talking about it and realize that talking openly with your children about personal safety and boundaries means they will come to you as their primary source of information and protection.
The “talk” about child sexual abuse isn’t really a “talk” at all, but an open and running dialogue, and not merely a onetime event. Give your children the tools they need – proper language to talk about sex and sexual abuse and your permission to do so. Talking about sexual abuse sheds light on a topic that thrives on being kept in the dark, and hidden. The more we talk about it, the more light we shed, and the safer all of our children are. Here’s to hope that more of us begin living in that light.
Editor, Ask Lala
Laura Fogarty writes “Ask Lala” for the Stop Abuse Campaign. She is a mother, an advocate and the author of two children’s abuse prevention books: I’M THE BOSS OF ME! and WE ARE JUST ALIKE!
Laura has an ACE score of 6.
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