Sep 03, 2020

There are still many people around the country who are not able to talk about cases of child sexual abuse or about prevention of child sexual abuse. We need to continue to talk about this to remove the stigma.

I have known adults who were abused as a child but did not tell anyone about it. It is important for everyone to know that they are ‘never’ responsible for how reporting abuse may make someone feel. A female friend of mine had once told me about how her mother’s boyfriend had frequently touched her inappropriately back when she was a teenager. Along with telling me that she had never told anyone else about this, my friend further stated that she didn’t tell her mother because she felt responsible for how her mother might feel if informed about the abuse.

Though we all know it is good practice to be thoughtful toward the feelings of others, there are some circumstances in life where it is both okay and necessary to be focused on yourself. Telling an adult that you are being abused is a circumstance where it is crucial for a child to speak up, and to not feel responsible for the impact they fear this information may have on the adult(s) that they share it with. Even if feelings are hurt and relationships are broken, it is always far better in the long run that children report being abused to adults.

While speaking around the country I was also surprised to find mixed reactions among professionals (such as school social workers, school counselors, etc) when it came to talking about child sexual abuse. I have presented at conferences where number of attendees far exceeded the room capacity, but I have also presented at conferences where there were only a very few attendees. When I spoke to conference directors about lack of attendees, most of them commented that “many of our members do not want to discuss this subject of child sexual abuse, but I still wanted you to come and present because they do need to listen to this.” That was an encouraging sign.

© 2017 - Sumi Mukherjee
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