The Delaware News Journal had on their editorial page this morning that a study released by the CDC on sexual violence was shocking to them. (The actual numbers.) Huh? After the sex abuse scandal in the Church, a local sex scandal involving a pediatrician, the scandal that rocked Penn State and the revelations from hollywood stars, past and present, who are still afraid to name names I am a little surprised at the shock at the CDC report’s staggering numbers. I sent a letter to the editor;
I cannot understand why it is that the CDC report on sexual violence in our culture was such a wake-up call to the editorial staff of the News Journal. Where have you been? When the Catholic Clergy sexual abuse scandal became common and worldwide knowledge a plethora of health care professionals pointed out that sexual abuse was/is common and crosses all races, religions, cultures, socioeconomic backgrounds and in fact is found everywhere. That is not only sad but criminal. As a culture we probably will never know the actual numbers. There is so much abuse that is not reported and men are less likely to report abuse, both as children and as adults.
The thing that stands in the way most often is the silence of victims, that and the mindset that a victim is shamed by any type of abuse. NO ONE THAT HAS BEEN ABUSED HAS ANYTHING TO BE ASHAMED OF, abusers are the shameful ones. As a society we have to get over our fear that someone else will know what was done to us. Silence is the enemy of truth; it is also the best weapon an abuser has. For mothers, fathers, grandparents’ et al to tell a victim that they have to keep this horrible secret to save face for the family is absurd, criminal and an abuse itself. Keeping silent hasn’t helped.
We need to take away the stigma that we, the society, thrust onto those that come forward with allegations of abuse. One of the lasting things that I dare hope that the clergy sexual abuse scandal has taught us all is that we should NEVER attack the victims of abuse whether they be children or adults. And abuse that happened long ago is still abuse that needs to be dealt with for both the victims and the society at large.