Why sexual abuse awareness? Why this subject, when we’ve done such an excellent job of ignoring it, of pretending it doesn’t exist?
I see this question on the faces of my friends and family when I tell them what I feel called to do. The subject of sexual abuse is so grievous that no one wants to talk about it. No one wants to confront the possibility that it could happen to someone they know, perhaps at the hand of someone they love. There are parents who don’t want to admit they’ve had a feeling it could be happening to their own child. There are children and teens cringing at the very mention of sexual abuse because the pain of their own experience is so raw. And there are victims – adult men and women – acting out their pain every day, because they’ve never been able to triumph over it.
It is not difficult for anyone to guess that the occurrence of sexual abuse is a chapter in my own story. But did you know that nearly one in three girls will be sexually abused by the time their seventeen? Or that one in five boys will be abused? That means that at this very moment, you know a child that is being abused. Chances are you know an abuser. And these abusers – who look and act just like everyone else, who attend our churches and work in our schools – feel so free to rape and molest because out of every one hundred victims, less than five will prosecute. Only a miniscule percent of those accused will actually be convicted.
I believe this can be changed. I believe that through awareness, prevention, and healing, the cycle can be broken and (dare I say it?) our children can grow up into a world where sexual abuse no longer thrives in darkness, because we’ve all done our part to shine a light.