Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Ask About Incest If You Suspect It Is Happening

I wanted someone to ask. I needed someone to ask what I didn't have the courage to tell unless someone asked. No one ever did so I continued living in the silence of my own thoughts. As a child, I didn't know what to say, who to tell, or who I could trust. When you don't trust your own parents to keep you safe, who can you trust? I didn't even trust myself.

According to statistics that I found at the Darkness 2 Light blog ( http://www.d2lblog.com/2009/12/statistics-surrounding-child-sexual.html ), "More than 39 million survivors of childhood sexual abuse exist in America today." Does that shock you? What does that say about our society? Help me to stop it. If there is a child that you suspect is being abused ask them. They may lie to you out of fear or they may be like I was and be praying that someone will ask. You, as the adult, can open the door to freedom for a child who is being abused.
Patricia

9 comments:

Colleen said...

I wanted someone to ask too. Great post. Thanks. And the stats are scary, especially when you realize that they are probably understated. Sexual abuse is not usually reported.

Patricia Singleton said...

Colleen, I know very few incest survivors who actually reported the abuse so yes, the numbers are actually lower than the occurence of child sexual abuse. It makes me very sad to know that. It also gives me hope that we can lower those statistics by speaking out about our own experiences.

Just Be Real said...

Pat great post. Unfortunately, I did not even consider asking anyone for help. I was so immature and I guess what my brother told me to keep quiet sufficed.

Patricia Singleton said...

JBR, thank you. I was too afraid to tell but if someone would have asked, I would have said "yes" and then could have answered questions that would have told my story. No one opened that door.

miruspeg said...

Of course that figure shocks and horrifies me and knowing that it may be understated is devasting.
I promise if I ever suspect a child is being abused I WILL ask.
Thank you again for sharing part of yourself Patricia.
Much love and big hugs.
Peggy xxxxx

Patricia Singleton said...

Thank you, Peggy, for your willingness to help a child. Yes, hearing that figure said out loud is shocking, even overwhelming, to know that many children have been or are being harmed in just one country, the U. S. A.

Patricia Singleton said...

The Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse (January 2010) has been posted by Paul on his blog Mind Parts at the following link:

http://www.mindparts.org/2010/01/carnival-2010-january.html

This post is one of the submissions to this month's Carnival.

Shen said...

Since the sexual abuse stopped when I was less than five years old, I blocked it out pretty thoroughly for the rest of my childhood. I would not have answered yes to a question about the abuse.

I wonder, if one did know such a child, what could they say? You can't put an idea like that into the mind of a child unless you are pretty certain.

Part of my father's tactics was to keep me isolated. He told me more than once that if an adult asked me questions about my parents, they were not safe adults and they would hurt me.

When I saw a school counselor, my father was horrified. I didn't understand why, then, but I do now. He told me that the counselor was trying to find out the bad things I'd done and I would be in big trouble if they did find out.

I'm just thinking it's a lot harder than just asking a child.

Wouldn't it be better to report the suspected abuse to the authorities? I honestly don't know the answer to that... am only asking for your opinion.

Patricia Singleton said...

Shen, I agree with you that this topic isn't as easy to do as it sounds. For me, if someone had asked me if I was being sexually abused, I would have said yes. I know that probably isn't typical but it would work with some children.

I have contacted authorities in the past when I thought some child was being abused and nothing happened. I felt frustrated and decided that the system just didn't care. I know that social workers are overworked and understaffed but it didn't help knowing that.

Yes, I would have to think about what to carefully say to the child before hand. It isn't something to just be blurted out with no prior preparation.