The whole Penn State controversy made me think. My son will be 10 next year. 10 years old, the same age as the victims of these crimes and I can’t help but to think what would happen if this was my kid. It could’ve easily been him. Hell, it could easily be anyone’s kid. As parents, you can’t help but to worry about things like this. It’s our job to protect them, and it’s the job of whoever we entrust them to as well.
So what if this did happen to my son? I can’t say I’d be very forgiving. In some cases, I have difficulty forgiving anyways and this would probably need no exception. He’d be lucky if he had his kneecaps still, that’s at best. I can’t say I wouldn’t want to physically injure someone who did something so abhorrent to my son. I can’t say that any parent wouldn’t want to. Our instincts tell us that we need to protect and even be vengeful when you couldn’t protect, mostly out of a need to clear your conscience because you thought you should’ve been there.
The statistics of sexually abused children are horrific. 44% of sexual assault victims are under the age of 18, and 15% of those are under the age of 12. Even more distressingly, it’s estimated that 60% of these assaults are left unreported.* Crimes like these aren’t just awful because of who the targets are, but the nature of them. The victims are too embarrassed and ashamed so they never come forward. With the statistic estimating that 5 of 6 offenders won’t even spend a day in jail, who can blame them? Even if they are strong enough to come forward, who’s to say anything will happen? The idea that someone could assault my child that way could go free, but if I roughed him up for it I could go to jail. This fact doesn’t upset me; it pisses me off.
Women learn about rape and how to ward off attackers and what to do when you’re assaulted. We read about it in our magazines, all over the internet, and we’re taught it when we’re older. Children don’t have the resources we do. Children don’t have the lessons the adults know. They don’t know that there are people and organizations willing to help them. They know what the adults they have in their life tell them, which isn’t good since statistically 34.2% of their attackers are family members.* Our children learn silence when they need to learn they can speak up for themselves.
For more information, please visit www.rainn.org. They have loads of information to help if you’re in need or ways to education yourself in prevention. *I would also like to thank the RAINN site for providing the statistics used in this post.