If you’re over 30 and reading this and have never been sexually assaulted or molested, congratulations, your likelihood of being offended is significantly reduced. Most sexual assaults go unreported but we know 44% of victims are under 18 and 80% are under 30. Also, boys and men are far less likely to ever report an offense… but, and this is my opinion (with a little bit of statistical data to back me up) they’re offended as often, only usually at a younger age or by a same aged peer so that it is perceived as a playtime activity instead of rape or molestation. This means our youngest, weakest and most vulnerable are the ones most likely to be offended.
When I became a CASA the one hard limit I had was that I could not, would not, should not be on a case that involved sexual abuse. Because of my past it didn’t seem safe to my emotional well-being to go there. The idea of a child, young girl or boy, young woman or man being offended sickens me, actually almost makes me ill. I do not understand it. And so, because of my own assault and the yucky feelings it festers up, I have largely been like most of the good population and completely, utterly and nearly entirely avoided the subject. My hope, was that if I pretend I do not see it, it would go away.
But it will not, and if we, the good people of the world, sit quietly by, or silently participate in the abuse by pretending it’s not there, it and the symptoms of an unhealthy-sex crazed society will get worse.
The problem is too big. There is nothing any one of us can do to stop it. The crimes too vile. The evil will prevail, there’s nothing we can do… or is there? What if we talk about it? What if we castrate offenders... because statistics dictate that most offenders are repeat offenders, and by repeat I mean one offender can have dozens to hundreds of victims? Or what if we kill them? Why don’t we make prosecution harder if we all agree it’s so heinous? Why do so many repeat offenders go untried or reported? Because they look good and prey on the ignorant and innocent.
We picture offenders as these dark, dirty evil monsters, if they were all like this no one would have a problem taking care of them. But most of the ones that get away with most of the abuse are unassuming: babysitters, neighbors, brothers, sisters, playmates, fathers, coaches, boyfriends, grandmas. Sick huh? We don’t want the devil to be someone we like, let alone someone we love. Because if evil wraps itself in a smile, who can we trust? Who is good? Who is safe? What has the world come to?
My goal this year in my writing is to do something to bring attention to it. I can’t make it go away by myself but I can stop closing my eyes to it. My offender didn’t go away. My silence was out of fear, of him, sure, but more than that out of fear of not being believed. I was young, full of drama and maybe dressed inappropriately, who would believe me? Better to say nothing than to be humiliated. Then when I was brave enough to stand up to him… too much time had gone by, the statute of limitations saved him. He was safe and I was scarred.
So yeah, evil smiles. Good looks away. I look away no more. I do not know what to do. This will be a process for me as much as way to bring awareness. I do know I’ll take special interest in figuring out what we, the good people, can do to stop it and what we are currently doing to condone it, because I think there’s power in us uniting against evil. I think we’re more likely to do something together to stand against sexual abuse than the bad guys are to stop themselves.
As Gia’s Secrets prepares to see the light of day, I prepare to stand against the most heinous evil I have ever looked deep in the eyes. I can’t stop it, you can’t stop it, but together maybe we can do something about it!