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Breaking the Silence in Our Systems

August 5, 2012

For over 15 years, my peers and myself have had discussion after discussion about the silence or taboo around child sex abuse. There is a real expectation that when we present this material in college classroom, community gatherings or even training workshops the room will be left silent. Understanding that this type of victimization impacts so many that have not been validated or even accused of lying would create a “blanket” of silence. The long lasting and devasting impacts of child sexual abuse in adults is not about the actual abuse, it is about the grooming mind manipulation that creates survivors to feel detached, judged and questioning peoples credability in so many interactions.

For years we in the field have auto-responses to our frustration to our attempts to speak on behalf of victims, raise awareness and prevent sex abuse. One of the most commonly used statements is “People just are ready to hear or talk about child sex abuse”. That just isn’t working for me anymore and definately hasn’t been working in our efforts to reduce and ultimately prevent this crime. Long term trauma for victims of child sex abuse is caused by not being heard and not being helped. Many families will celebrate holidays and gatherings that will include sex offenders at the table. The victim can feel that they are supposed to “let it go” or “make things o.k.” Not being able to tell or believed when they do creates continuing long lasting cycles of abuse. This is all at the hands of the abuser who has groomed their family, friends and community. Prevention starts with lifting our silence and learning about the grooming game that we are in and don’t even know it.

Working in a community service organization requires us to attempt to be all-inclusive to the people we serve. Silent Spirits is campaigning to break the silence in service organizations and agencies. Too many departments and offices that provide treatment, victim, mental health, criminal justice and counseling services do not have sex abuse specific materials posted. It is important to include this material because we post posters, flyers and brochures that address domestic violence, stalking, rape, suicide and depression but not child sexual abuse. Adult survivors are again affirmed that their abuse is not validated and silenced.

Silent Spirits is campaigning to organizations and agencies to assess public spaces for sex abuse specific publications. If an organization or agency finds that they need specific materials, we ask them to include posters, flyers or brochures. Resources are available or individual organizations can produce their own. It is important and it is a start.



Savenia Falquist – Founder

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