About the Issue

 

The Editorial Board, The New York Times, January 11, 2018

“If the #MeToo movement of the last few months has taught us anything, it’s that it is extremely painful and risky for victims of sexual harassment or assault — even those with power, money and connections — to speak out against their abusers. Now consider how much harder it must be for a child.

It should surprise no one that a vast majority of people who were sexually abused as children never report it. For those who do, it takes years, and often decades, to recognize what happened to them, realize it wasn’t their fault and tell someone.”

 

Excerpt from Afterword, by Kerry J. Todd, MSW, LICSW

“Children have the right to be safe and protected from sexual abuse and all forms of abuse. The statistics are staggering. One out of four girls and one out of six boys are sexually abused by the time they reach eighteen years of age. The numbers are even higher when including physical abuse, psychological abuse, and neglect. These statistics come from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)-Kaiser Permanente Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study. The United Nations cited the CDC in 2016, reporting that as many as one billion children around the world have experienced physical, sexual, or psychological violence.

We know that a plurality of offenders are family members, often the parents themselves, which is particularly difficult for us to look at as a society. A child, especially a young child, naturally sees the parent as the psychological and physical source of nurturing and survival. The rights of children and their best interest are, or should be, pre-eminent, ranging from local to international law and practice. The science on early childhood has continually shown the drastic difference that occurs when a child is nurtured in every way versus being neglected or abused.

Childhood abuse—whether one incident or ongoing, whether committed by clergy, teachers, coaches, family members, or others—impacts the adults these children will become one day. Left untreated, many victims/survivors may experience problems such as alcoholism, depression, illicit drug use, violence, incarceration, and even suicide. Such results impact society at large. The possibility of a healthy adulthood is there for all, but we cannot underestimate the challenges that should never have to be faced by anyone. If you are an adult victim/survivor, and you need help and support, I recommend contacting your health care providers or other trusted sources for therapeutic support and information about other individual or group support.

We are all mandated reporters. We all have a responsibility to protect our children. It is our first responsibility as adults. We need to educate ourselves and hold our institutions accountable.”

 

If you need urgent help for yourself or others, call 911.

The following is a limited list of organizations that may be of assistance in learning more about child abuse and taking action or finding support. Many of the following websites contain additional links to a variety of programs, services, and resources. This is not an endorsement by the publisher or author of any of the organizations listed or the information they provide, in whole or in part.