What You Should Know About Child Abuse and The Media
While all the hoopla and media coverage dies down about the Penn State, Syracuse, Citadel and the Hollywood minor actors Child Sex Abuse Scandals, I worry that our attention span for the next salacious article has made many forget that underlying the headlines of the cover up, unraveling of institutions and the take down of “model” citizens – the real story is about hellacious crimes against children.
The institutions will recover, and even the players will go on with their lives, perhaps some with not even a slap on the wrist. But we can tell you that there are many children out there right now still suffering in silence, being abused, scared and unsure how to reach out for help. Scared they won’t be believed, fearful of stirring the pot and having the lid blow off (as 68% of the time a child is harmed by a family member). Those children, and advocates for children’s rights are hoping that these stories don’t go away so quickly.
At this juncture the media wields a lot of power – they control what we all deem headline news. Of course we are certainly not hoping to hear of more children being abused – but when survivors come forward extraordinary things happen and it empowers others to know they are not alone and gives them the strength to come forward too. My fear is as the next big story comes to the media and child abuse gets put on the backburner again – these children and adult survivors stay in hiding, keeping their secret, feeling that they do not have a voice, thinking they deserved what is happening to them and believing everything their abuser is/has been telling them.
We can’t let that happen. We need to treat child abuse like an epidemic – because it is one. If there was an outbreak of any other “epidemic” every stone would be overturned to stop it. We must turn over every stone to stop and prevent child abuse. So please as you pick up the paper, turn on your computer and the TV and you don’t hear another “sex abuse newsworthy big media” story hitting the front page, remember there are children out there being abused (every 10 seconds a report of child abuse is made) that still need your attention, your outrage and your help to end child abuse.
Call to action –
Take a few minutes and raise your own awareness so you can at least know better how to protect your own loved ones, understand the process of grooming and continue this dialogue with your coworkers, friends and family. Let’s keep this “news” on our own front headlines even if the media does not deem it newsworthy anymore.