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The Unspoken Subject: Sexual Abuse
child looking up

One thing I know for sure, talking about sexual abuse will never be easy. It is about time I did.

Being a survivor of child sexual abuse, I chose to share my experience in recognition of Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month.

It is extremely unfortunate that, when I look back at my childhood, being sexually abused is one of my very first memories. As a survivor, I do not think it is unusual to have memories of traumatic life events pop up before the fond memories do, not in my mind anyway.

Statistics show that most sexual assault victims are under 30 years old, and in the United States, someone is sexually assaulted every 73 seconds! Every 9 minutes, someone abuses a child (DEA.gov).

More than 80% of sexual assaults are committed by an acquaintance and almost 95% of child victims know their abuser.

Boys are not excluded from being victims. Around 20% have been victims of sexual assault with 28% being 10 years old and under.

We need to talk to children about their bodies and the parts others should not touch. Turning Points Network offers educational programs where children learn the correct names of their body parts. Then, if they talk to a trusted adult about being touched inappropriately, that adult will know exactly what they mean.

I recently heard a story of a young girl telling her teacher that her father “ate her cookie.” Her teacher did not realize this child was trying to tell her that she was being sexually abused. Utilizing anatomically correct language about their bodies is a critical piece of protection for children from the harm of sexual abuse.

I feel that my sexual abuse would not have continued if I had been taught about boundaries, my body, and consent at an early age. We should be giving our children the tools to prevent abuse.

If you are experiencing abuse or any type of coercion–call or text us at Turning Points Network. We are here to listen and to help. You will find safety and respect as you explore your options.

OUR TURN is a public service series by Turning Points Network (TPN) serving all of Sullivan County with offices in Claremont and Newport. We provide wraparound support for survivors of domestic and sexual violence, stalking, and human trafficking and we present violence-prevention education programs in our schools. For more than 40 years, TPN has helped people of all ages move from the darkness of abuse toward the light of respect, healing, and hope. Programs that prevent abuse in children are supported by Steppin’ Up to End Violence 5K Walk & Run on April 29. We hope you will join us. For information contact 1.800.639.3130 or www.turningpointsnetwork.org or find us on Facebook.

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