One in six. That’s the number of American women who have experienced sexual assault in their lifetimes. (Source: RAINN’s website)
One in nine. That’s the number of girls under the age of 18 who have experienced sexual abuse or assault at the hands of an adult (93% by a family member). (Source: RAINN’s website)
With such a staggering number of children and women impacted by sexual abuse and assault, you’d think society would be talking about it more. But they aren’t. And the danger in the silence is that the legacy of abuse continues and grows. What people assume is a pandemic of rape and molestation of times gone by is alive and well, here and now.
With the effects of the trauma of these experiences, many children and women struggle to survive initially, and strive to heal in the long-term. The question is, how can we help them?
First, Community. Humanity needs a community of Trauma Fighters, of survivors helping survivors. Even just having a safe place to share stories will make a huge difference in reframing the struggle survivors face.
Second, Embracing. Our society should embrace survivors, providing them opportunities to speak out about what they’ve gone through. Terms like molestation, rape, and domestic violence should be everyday words. The silence must end. This means that all people should get educated about these topics and how they can help others.
Third, Support. Families should listen to, believe, and support their members who are victims of these atrocities. The way this will happen is that survivors within families will speak out, and they will commit to ending the legacy by not passing the silence and shame to their children and grandchildren.
Fourth, Education. Schools should teach courses, not just about setting boundaries, but on what constitutes “over the line.” Education of our children will act as an insurance policy for ending the legacy.
And who am I to state the “shoulds”? I’m one in six. And one in nine. And 93 percent. One could say I’ve studied this topic intimately. My mission is to end the silence, because the inability to speak, share, accept, and love is a very real danger to humanity.
Do you have a story to share? Join the discussion in the comments.