November 6, 2015
It’s a horrific issue that we sometimes become immune to in our line of work as child advocates. And while we talk about it on a regular basis, a fog of silence weighs on most people in our community when it comes to child sexual abuse. Last week’s article by Sarah Chang in the Washington Post brings this silence — and its tragic effects — into perfect focus:
“During my first week as a federal prosecutor of sexual abuse crimes against children, one of my colleagues told me her chief coping mechanism: Turn the sound off when you have to watch a video multiple times. This advice scared me. I imagined children screaming, crying and shrieking in pain — the stuff of nightmares…
…But all I heard was silence. The 5-year-old girl said nothing — not even a sob. Disturbed, I continued to watch each video with the sound on. I tried to beat back the silence by turning the volume up as high as it could go. The quiet was too deafening, too defeating to accept. Surely, these children must make a sound?” [Read the full article here.]
Here at SCAN, we passionately believe that it is OUR RESPONSIBILITY as adult community members to be the ones making a sound in defense of children like the 5-year-old girl in Sarah’s article. Our work with Darkness to Light — providing trainings in child sexual abuse prevention training through their Stewards of Children program — is one way we can empower adults to break that silence in defense of the child victims in our community.
Ms. Chang’s article is a wake up call to those of us who might take silence as a sign of no problem:
“Even though I encountered silence on many of the videos recorded by abusers, I decided that I would leave the sound on. Shielding my ears from the horrific acts done to these children would mute their pain and diminish my ability to give them a voice. One girl didn’t scream because her brother threatened to kill her. Another didn’t say anything because her father told her to keep it a secret. Regardless of what prompted it, the silence is deafening. It makes audible the psychological hold an abuser has over a child. Silence can be the most devastating evidence of sexual abuse; it can be the sound of pain itself. [Read the full article here.]
If you are ready to break the silence, contact us to learn how you can host a training in your community. Email Tracy Leonard at [email protected] or call 703-820-9001 for more information.