The family core is in many countries and for many organizations, the most important unit of society. It is where the children who will be our future are raised, where boys and girls learn and have their first life experiences that will influence them for the rest of their lives, and where they are supposed to learn what love, affection, and respect are. This is why sexual abuse within the family affects our children and our whole society the way it does.
Sexual abuse is a traumatic experience for anyone who suffers it, but children are more affected than anyone else. At those ages, they are learning to trust their families, they know they are dependent on the adults that surround them. When that trust in the people around them is broken, the child normally enters into a complicated psychological process, in which, many times, they blame themselves for what happened, they lose trust in their own families, and their self esteem drops to the ground.
Being able to trust, having a healthy self-esteem and having confidence in themselves are aspects that are compromised from the moment of the abuse, and they can go back to a healthy stage or go worse and worse every day depending on how the family reacts and how much support the kid receives.
This can be more complicated than it sounds, since there are children that are not able to tell their story until several years later. In the case that they do manage to tell their story, it is not uncommon that the families (or the parents) do not believe them. This is mainly due to the fact that we refuse to believe that someone within our inner circles would harm our child, although there are more heartbreaking cases in which the own parents are the ones who perpetrate the abuse.
It is hard enough already that the family believes and supports the child, and many times, the kid will take back the accusation due to the problems it is causing in his family, due to threats from the abuser, or another thousand different reasons. The family most times will be comfortable with the take back and take no further action.
Again, family core is one of the most important things in people’s lives, specially in a child’s life. They would have little or no reason to lie about such a betrayal from someone they were supposed to trust and that was supposed to love them. In the case of an offense such as a sexual abuse, we should always believe children. Always. At least during the time we investigate all about the case and confirm or dismiss it.
Too many children have already been affected by someone in their own families for us to keep refusing to believe them. Every year, between 70 and 85% of the cases of sexual abuse occur within the family. In 2020, it was 73% of the cases. From the 1000 million children that were abused and/or neglected in the same year, 73% would represent 730 million children abused by someone in their families. (WHO, 2020)
That traumatic experience that they can hardly tell others tints and marks every aspect of their lives, they feel alone, guilty, ashamed and in pain. And the fastest way to heal is to share their story.
In the #YoDigoNoMas movement, we want to create the biggest safer space for all those who have suffered sexual abuse. This way they can know they have a family they can trust, and they can join our voices to say No More. You can join the movement as well, visit our website to know how you can be part of it.
You can be part of the change, join this movement on behalf of yourself or hundreds of victims who have not been able to find their voice to speak out against this scourge.
Find the multiple options we have to get involved with the movement and make your voice heard.