From a highly recommended article on Slate, How what happened in State College forced me to confront my own abuse.
Several of my friends, for example, were shocked when Rick Reilly reported that, according to a 1998 study on child sexual abuse by Boston University Medical School, one in six boys in America will be abused by age 16. For girls, it’s one in four by the age of 14. They were shocked, no doubt, because concrete examples of abuse are not as available to them as the statistics suggest. Most people don’t think they know any abuse victims.
But they do know victims. They just don’t realize it, because so many of us have been unable to reveal ourselves. This breeds a false sense of security, with too many adults believing abuse is someone else’s problem.
I’m sure I don’t have to remind readers of this blog that they know someone who was sexually abused as a child, but the world at large doesn’t realize just how many people around them are survivors, and how that fact impacts them, and the people closest to them. Put this in perspective, if you have a close group of friends, 6 male and 4 female, chances are that you know two survivors. If your group of friends, family, and acquaintances is much larger, at least 20% of that group are survivors of sexual abuse, statistically speaking. To say that this doesn’t impact you or anyone you know, is silly. The fact is, if you don’t know anyone who is a survivor, it’s most likely due to the fact that the survivors around you have decided not to reveal it, either to you, or at all.
Many survivors do not share their secret. Some because of the shame they still feel, others because they are not far enough along in their healing to do so safely. Still others, like myself for years, because they look around and don’t seem to see anyone else doing it. That’s why those of us who have decided to be public about our past, are here. I don’t want someone else dealing with abuse to not at the very least be able to get online and see that there are survivors out here, talking about what happened to them, and sharing with each other. I’m proud to be part of a community that works towards making sure survivors know they are not alone. I’m also proud to be part of educating the public at large about abuse, that it is not other people’s problem, but all of ours. I’m glad that Mark McKenna has taken this time to become part of that as well!