Breaking the Silence on Child Sexual Abuse

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Breaking the Silence on Child Sexual Abuse: How Mainstream Media can influence the masses and help prevent child sexual abuse

Introduction
Statistics
What does child sexual abuse (CSA) mean
How common is child sexual abuse
The consequences of child sexual abuse
Breaking the Silence on child sexual abuse
How mainstream media can help in the prevention of child sexual abuse •7 Steps in the Healing Process
Conclusion

Introduction
Child sexual abuse (CSA) is a hot topic these days on the Oprah Winfrey show. Over the past twenty years, Ms. Winfrey, a sex abuse survivor, has used her television platform to be a voice for victims and survivors throughout the world. Ms. Winfrey originally broke barriers simply by sharing her personal story and by doing so allowed others to proceed forward in sharing their stories. In the last six months, Ms. Winfrey has interviewed child molesters and rapists, giving insight to parents on what to look for and how to protect their children. More men have come forward expressing their stories of childhood sexual abuse at the hands of mother, caretakers, etc. Ms. Winfrey has interviewed celebrities such as McKenzie Phillips who spoke candidly about her incestuous relationship with her father. This topic stirred up a lot of controversy in mainstream media but the backlash was unforgiving, unsympathetic and placed blame on the victim. Once people began speaking in favor of Phillips and advocacy groups and psychologists came forward the flaming controversy quickly burnt out. In mainstream media CSA is a cool to non-existent topic. It has been considered a taboo subject for decades and in 2010 victims are still afraid to speak out for many reasons. The top two reasons are the stigma of shame and fear of the abuser. It is difficult to address due to the sensitivity of the topic, as well as the near-invisibility of its victims. Many of our leaders from police to judges are ignorant, misinformed or not informed at all in how to handle a CSA case. Especially when there are no visible scars or the victim is now an adult. The place of blame on the victim and protection of the abuser from authorities has been greatly unjust, causing many victims to stay silent and abusers to repeat molestation offenses. CSA along with a largely unjust judicial system has negatively impacted the lives of children, many of which grow up to have mild to severe psychological and sociological issues, including post traumatic stress disorder, self-destructive and violent behaviors. According to stopcsa.org literature, a non-profit CSA advocacy organization, “CSA costs the nations billions of dollars each year between medical and psychiatric treatment, social services, special education, and legal and judicial and incarceration costs.” With the US in the worst financial deficit to date these findings should be enough proof and motivation to end this specific problem affecting present and future generations. Furthermore, “CSA has been definitively implicated as a precursor to, and a part of, the commercial sexual exploitation of children.” (www.stopcsa.org literature) What is Child Sexual Abuse

“Any sexual act between an adult and a minor or between two minors when one exerts power over the other. •Forcing, coercing or persuading a child to engage in any type of sexual act. This, of course, includes sexual contact. It also includes non-contact acts such as exhibitionism, exposure to pornography, voyeurism and communicating in a sexual manner by phone or Internet. •An agonizing and traumatic experience for its victims.

A crime punishable by law.” (www.darkness2light.org)
Statistics
Statistics show that 1in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are molested by the age of 18 in the United States. There is massive underreporting of the problem due to fear, shame, and a resistance to believe minors’ disclosures of abuse: only one in 10 children tell. (1) 42 percent of women and 33 percent of men never...
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