Published on November 15th, 2013 | by Beth Campbell Duke0
Child Sexual Abuse: Where Do We Begin?
In today’s news was a story about work done by Toronto Police to break up a world-wide child sexual abuse and exploitation ring that victimized 300 children and youth. In my Facebook feed was one thoughtful comment from a friend about the issue – overwhelmed and deeply saddened and affected by the magnitude of the story.
People’s comments underneath shared his sadness. Some asked how can we treat our children like this? Some commented that it must be stopped but clearly felt that it’s an issue so big, secret and incomprehensible that they wouldn’t know where to begin.
I know where to begin. We call it a blog.
I’ve been working through these very same questions since Tony disclosed his childhood sexual abuse to me a few years ago. I’ve helped him begin to work through the life-long impacts of the abuse he suffered regularly over the course of his 3 years at a Jesuit-run boarding school. I’ve helped him work through the process of disclosure and watched him begin to gain back his personal power as he found success in his dealings with the church. I’ve wrestled with the questions people have about child sexual abuse and pedophilia. It is indeed an issue that is big and secret and often incomprehensible.
But I’ve also just finished reading Malcolm Gladwell’s, ‘David and Goliath’ – a book that reminds us that when Goliath gets to too big he loses his capacity to respond appropriately. Especially to the smaller and more agile David with a slingshot. When we assume that we have no chance against the giant, we don’t.
The place to begin in the arena of child sexual abuse is to get the conversation started.
- It’s important that everybody knows about child sexual abuse and how pedophiles operate.
- We need to accept that child sexual abuse is common and is happening to children in our families and neighbourhoods.
- We need to know how to spot it, and how to raise kids who will disclose.
- We need to know who to call when we suspect it’s happening and how to find competent psychological assistance when it does.
- We need our organizations to have clearly defined and publicized Child Sexual Abuse policies – not because most sexual abuse happens there – but because we look to our groups to lead the change (and because if they don’t, they leave themselves open to lawsuits).
Good People: Grab Your Slingshots!
I’m not an expert in Child Sexual Abuse, but I do know that the solution to this problem starts with shining a light on it. Pedophiles need to know that we are more than willing to discuss the issue and take action to keep our children safe. Our kids need to know that we are more than willing to listen and take action support them in their healing.
Thanks Gary – and your friends – for the nudge to start this blog. You never know what your impact will be!
When the biggest evil is a secret, your greatest weapon is your voice.