Child sexual abuse occurs at shockingly high rates in our society, affecting 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys. However, due to social taboos, very few survivors share their stories publicly. The majority of survivors never report their abuse to authorities, and many never tell anyone at all. Yet the numbers suggest that each of us knows at least one survivor, even though we may not realize it.
The silence around this violence has devastating effects for the individuals directly harmed, for the people perpetrating this harm (who are rarely held accountable or given tools to help them change their behavior), for families, and for society in general.
Child sexual abuse is inherently an abuse of power. It is a cornerstone of oppression and cyclical violence. Survivors can experience long-term adverse health effects such as addiction, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, suicide, eating disorders, and subsequent sexual and domestic violence. Research also suggests that child sexual abuse can be a significant barrier to one’s economic security.
Toward a Movement to End Child Sexual Abuse
There is a growing consensus that ending child sexual abuse will require more than individual healing for survivors and punitive measures for abusers. To end child sexual abuse we need a broad-based movement and it begins with a core group of strategically aligned individuals, organizations and funders working together. The Just Beginnings Collaborative is that core—the seed from which this movement is taking root and growing.
We believe that ending child sexual abuse is possible. Moreover, our work is grounded in the belief that ending child sexual abuse is one of the most strategic things we can do to end violence and create safe, thriving communities.