Each of us should ask: how can we as individuals bring about that reform?
How can we bring to light something so shame-inducing?
How can we identify abusers, and hold them accountable?
How can we "immunize" children against abuse?
As the mother of two beautiful, happy children, I want to believe that because they are well-loved, taught proper boundaries, and allowed autonomy over their bodies, they are unlikely to be preyed upon, and likely to report abuse.
But what can I do to help children who may be dearly loved but are taught, like I was, to submit to elders, to trust and obey, to see themselves as sinful, to forgive all sins and transgressions, to never bring shame on their family?
We have a responsibility to talk about this.
As I tuck in my kids tonight, somewhere a child is crying him or herself to sleep.
The information below is from the Child Molestation Prevention website:
Act to Heal the Sexually Abused Child
Sexual abuse is happening to three million children in the U.S. - that means in an average eighth grade classroom of 30 children, six children are currently being sexually abused.
View child sexual abuse as a health problem.
Be the capable adult who will help a child with this problem.
Protect the child physically. Separate the child from his or her abuser.
Protect the child emotionally:
It is NEVER the child's fault, repeat this fact often to the child.
As a parent, say you will always love the child. Show the child that this is true with words and behavior.
Tell the child that very likely, other children in the classroom have this problem.
Tell the child that very likely the abuser has a health problem, and may need medicine and other treatments.
Let the child know that he or she never has to be in the same room with the abuser - even a father, brother, uncle - if the child doesn't wish it.
Take the child to a therapist who specializes in the treatment of sexually abused children.
Protect the child victim, especially boy victims, from developing a sexual interest in younger children with a second-step to good health. Be sure, with the help of a sex-specific therapist, that a boy victim (especially a boy who has been repeatedly sexually abused) does NOT develop a sexual interest in younger children. Be aware that this sexual interest in younger children might lie dormant until the onset of puberty and then become a health problem for the child.