Saturday’s event in Westhaven went really, really well. There was a lovely audience, including friends from various parts of my life. It’s a real treat to do a book event in my own community!
One woman asked me to post the statistics on child sexual abuse that I cited at the beginning of the conversation. I find these stats both clarifying AND suggestive.
Here they are in their long form and with citations:
–One in four women and one in six men acknowledge sexual abuse in childhood in a retrospective study of 17,000 middle class adults in the Kaiser Health Care System. (The ACE Study, Dr. Vincent Fellitti, U. S. Department of Public Health)
–Two thirds of victims of reported rape are under eighteen. More than half of these are under twelve. (Snyder, Howard, National Center for Juvenile Justice. 2000. Sexual Assault of Young Children as Reported to Law Enforcement. U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justices Statistics.)
–Almost 2 million teenagers in the U. S. have been victims of serious sexual assaults. (Kilpatrick and Saunders, 1997:
The Prevalence and Consequences of Child Victimization, U. S. Department of Justice)
–One third of the people who sexually abuse children are family members. More than half are acquaintances including trusted adults and other children. Only 7% are strangers. (U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justices Statistics, 2000)
–Adults are the offenders in 60% of sexual assaults of children under age 12. (U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justices Statistics, 2000)
the facts speak for themselves
Two things really stand out for me. The first is that–as a culture–we have defined rape as an experience of adult women. But look who is experiencing the majority of rapes.
And that last statistic. If 60% of offenders are adults, that means â€¦
Public discourse on sexual abuse and rape is still in the Dark Ages in many ways. We have a long ways to go before our understanding of childhood sexual abuse catches up with the reality that kids experience every day.