Hey friends, I don’t have time to write a true follow-up to yesterday’s contemplations about the motives behind child abuse.
A few salient points: when people think of pedophilia and sexual abuse of children, they are generally not thinking about the so-common-it-could-be-routine sexual abuse of children within families. AKA incest.
Instead, they are thinking of the sensationalized but actually rare creepy dudes who are sexually attracted to pre-pubescent kids and motivated to kidnap kids from malls and playgrounds and such. The Law and Order SVU stuff. That doesn’t happen NEARLY AS MUCH as abuse of children by family members.
Here are some statistics that should be familiar to us all, but aren’t, either because they’re too mind-boggling to be absorbed easily, or because they’re not publicized enough. One in three-to-four girls, and one in five-to-seven boys are sexually abused before they turn 18, an overwhelming incidence of which happens within the family. These statistics are well known among industry professionals, who are often quick to add, “and this is a notoriously underreported crime.”
Reporters don’t specify, but I’d bet that most adults who rape children in their family are not, in fact, looking at child pornography. They are not motivated by sexuality. They are motivated by other desires. Anger, rage, control, the dark stuff we all feel but we don’t go and beat on kids to deal with it.
One in three to four girls. One in five to seven boys.
And that stat does not include physical abuse of children, because we tend to treat sexual abuse differently for reasons that are, frankly, unclear to me, but that’s another post.
What to do about it all? I’m throwing my hands up here. I don’t know. But I’d sure love a load of research money to uncover some causes (straight up inequity, across the board, as I was wondering yesterday?) and freakin STOP THIS FROM HAPPENING.
Maybe money equivalent to the money we spend researching illnesses that affect as many people. What, like cancer?
What illnesses affect nearly a third of our population? More, if we count in physical abuse. And partner violence. Much more.
That’s a lot of people. Our people. We need to do better.