One More Thing About Precious

March 17, 2010

Taking our lead from the people who had the courage to make this movie, let’s be a community of people who will become more proactive in terms of abuse issues. 

Several years ago I had a three-year-old in treatment.  When I told people I treat children as young as three their response was often:  “What does a three-year-old have to be upset about?”.  Well this boy was molested by his babysitter who promptly fled the country when the abuse was discovered.

I just want to leave our discussions about Precious with some statistics: 

1 in 4 girls are sexually molested before the age of 18.

1 in 6 boys are sexually molested before the age of 18.

1 in 5 children are solicited sexually while on the internet.

Nearly 70% of all reported sexual assaults (including assaults on adults) occur to children 17 and under.

An estimated 39 million survivors of sexual abuse exist in America today. 

30 to 40% of victims are abused by a family member. 

Another 50% are abused by someone outside of the family whom they know and trust.

Only about 10% are abused by strangers.

I am not trying to turn us into paranoid parents and loved ones, but I am saying to keep your eyes and your ears open. Behaving as if there is no problem is apparently a problem.   Teach young children about inappropriate touching. Review safety strategies.  Encourage open communication with your children.  Watch for a child’s sudden change in mood or behavior, changes in school performance or any other uncharacteristic behavior. 

Unfortunately, I have noticed that parents who were themselves sexually abused tend to have a blindness, so to speak, when it is happening to their own children, so if you are a victim you may need to be extra aware or consult with a professional for guidance.

The effects of sexual molestation are often correlated with:  addictions (for Precious this was eating, and when I worked with substance abusers, I would say most of the women had been sexually abused), dissociation (Precious had brief splits from present reality, some people block out entire parts of their life in memory;  it is a way to prevent feeling the intense negative emotions associated with the abuse), running away, promiscuity, becoming a sexual offender, and I have seen severe mood swings and erratic behavior, along with many other problematic symptoms.

For a complete list of references from which the above facts were obtained, please visit: http://www.darkness2light.org/KnowAbout/statistics_2.asp

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