"Because [they] did not feel abused until much later in life"

"It's confusing - the word "abuse" - when you say "sexual abuse" because [they] did not feel abused until much later in life." Oprah Winfrey


Yes. Yes. Yes.

It may take years - even decades - to look back at something and realise that what happened was 1) abuse and that 2) the victim was not at fault. (It took me over a decade.) It is the reason why in criminal law - at least in well-functioning democracies - statute of limitations does not start 'ticking' until the victim realises that abuse took place. It is not until they look back and go, "Shit, that was abuse. Oh my god, I was abused..." that the clock starts ticking, leaving them with 7 or 10 (or however many years different countries leave for such cases) to bring the complaints forward.

Sexual abuse, in a lot of cases, happens silently. It is usually perpetrated by people the victim knows. Let me re-iterate, just for the sake of making this point: if your child will ever abused, sexually, then chances are you know that person.

It's a bit like posters hanging in Invercargill's swimming pool: they caution adults to put away their phones and watch their kids because drowning happens silently. There are no cries of help when someone is struggling to breathe. It is the same with sexual abuse: if a child is young, unless they've been taught to recognise what's okay and what's not, they may not understand and may not even speak up when abuse happens.

Please have these conversations with your children from a young age. Talk with them up into their adulthood. This stuff matters.

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