SAFE - Sexual Abuse Forever Ending - works to educate and empower children and adults to reduce stigma and prevent child sexual abuse.
The statistics are staggering - about one in ten children will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday.
Due to shame, fear, guilt and stigma associated with CSA, many victims never disclose. This is an epidemic defined by secrecy and silence. Almost 73% of child victims don’t disclose to anyone for at least a year; 45% don’t tell anyone for almost five years; and many never disclose at all.
CSA takes a tremendous toll on the lives of victims and our society as a whole. Survivors may suffer from psychological and physical long-term effects including higher risks of depression, bipolar disorder, PTSD, anxiety, sleep and eating disorders, self-harm, sexual risk factors including teen pregnancy and re-victimization, as well as neurological damage, disease and injury. Nearly 45% of pregnant teens report a history of sexual abuse. Sexual abuse victims are three times more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol, and two times more likely to drop out of school.
Adults with a history of CSA are more than twice as likely to report a suicide attempt. Females who are sexually abused are three times more likely to develop psychiatric disorders than females who are not sexually abused. Among male survivors, more than 70% seek psychological treatment for issues such as substance abuse, suicidal thoughts and attempted suicide.
CSA is a social cycle often perpetuated in family systems, communities and institutions generation after generation. Secrets and silence abound. However, open, active conversation about the dynamics of CSA paired with education and the empowerment of adults and children can prevent this cycle of abuse.
Through education and empowerment of individuals within our communities, we will work to ensure that every child grows up healthy and free from Child Sexual Abuse.
Anne Auld, Director of Programs
State Intermediary &
Authorized Facilitators of the Darkness to Light Stewards of Children Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Program