It is estimated that every nine minutes a child is a victim of sexual abuse in the United States. And although it is known that during the Covid-19 pandemic, sexual assault cases have increased, the magnitude of this situation is not yet clear.
Sexual abuse has become another pandemic that silently leaves thousands of victims who have to face various consequences for the rest of their lives.
After 47 years of keeping silent about her experience of child sexual abuse, María Trusa decided to tell her story, not only to advance her healing process, but also to help other victims and prevent further aggressions.
I Say No More to Sexual Violence March
As part of the National Sexual Assault Awareness Month, the Yo Digo No Más Movement, along the community leaders and the Yonkers School District, organized the first I Say No More to Sexual Violence March, to be held on April 30th in Yonkers. A call to prevent ‘the silent pandemic’ of sexual abuse, which destroys the lives of millions of people and in most cases is perpetrated by someone close to the victim.
As part of the mobilization, an awareness day will also be held to provide tools for survivors of sexual abuse to decide to break the silence, which is the first step to break the chains of abuse and start a healing process.
Parents must be very attentive
María also stressed the importance for parents or caregivers to be very attentive to the children’s behavior, since in most cases the victims prefer to remain silent and destroy their lives with that secret.
Hence, the importance of the workshops to be held as part of the march, because only through education can ‘this silent pandemic’ be stopped. There, a group of professionals, experts and specialized organizations will seek to educate and empower children and adolescents, parents and caregivers, teachers and the community in general to understand and prevent sexual violence.
Another voice against abuse
Betty Rodríguez, a victim of sexual abuse at the age of 12, also joined the call to raise her voice against this scourge. In her case, it was her father who was the perpetrator and, as a result of that aggression, she got pregnant.
After four decades of silence, she told her story and not only managed to relieve a heavy burden she carried, but also to forgive her father and move forward in the process of forgiving her mother.
She emphasized the importance of talking about sexual abuse, because in the Latino community it is very common for sexual assault to become a secret, which causes victims to live for a long time with negative emotions that consume their lives.
March in support of victims
“Yonkers” first sexual assault march is a tribute to the many survivors whose voices are often silenced. This march is our recognition of them and their stories, saying ‘we hear you and we are here to help you,’ said Mike Spano, mayor of Yonkers, who also supports the demonstration against sexual violence and stresses the importance of continuing to raise awareness about this scourge.
In addition, the organizers of the first I Say No More to Sexual Violence march were emphatic in highlighting the importance of teaching skills and providing children, parents, caregivers, and teacher with practical tools to prevent sexual violence from destroying lives.
Find the full story on El Diario’s NY website.