According to current U.S. statistics, as high as 62 percent of females and 31 percent of males will be sexually violated before age 18. according to a telephone survey taken randomly across the U.S. in 1007 by the National Institute of Mental Health of Harvard Medical School, 67 percent of America’s parents hit their child at least once a week. Nineteen states allow corporal punishment in public schools.
Dr Neddermeyer reveals detailed, compelling information indicating the fact that physical violation of a child’s body can be experienced as sexual or often leaves the child vulnerable to sexual abuse. If a disease affected our children in these enormous numbers we would declare a national emergency. Monies for research to find a cure would be made available immediately.
Sadly, this is not a platform that you will find popular with politicians or a topic of conversation at social gatherings. Americans have taken the stance that what happens in the family is a ‘family matter.’ Family values are the platform for many elected officials without looking at the real issue , “What constitutes a family?” Marilyn Van Derbur Atler, a former Miss America and a friend of mine, defines INCEST as: “The worst six letter word in the English language.” Marilyn’s father, the late Francis S. Van Derbur, was a millionaire businessman, socialite and philanthropist in Denver. She said she had been sexually abused by her father between the ages of 5 and 18, but had sought to bury the experience. She did not recognize the incest for what it was, she said, until she was 24.
From one of the most prominent families in America, Marilyn was a brave pioneer by speaking about sexual abuse, thus, prompting others to come forward about their abuse. Marilyn’s experience also shattered the myth that incest only occurred in the lower socio-economic levels of society. Marilyn Van Derbur Atler’s courage opened the door to healing and hope for survivors all over the world. While most experts would agree that no child is a match for a predatory adult, this does not mean that we can ignore the facts or neglect to empower our children with the best tools possible. EMPOWERING our children with such knowledge as to TELL MOMMY AND DADDY EVERYTHING–NO SECRETS, or teaching them to protest when any touch doesn’t feel right makes perfect sense.
Dr Neddermeyer urges that these skills need to be taught as soon as the child begins to talk. No adult has the right to violate a child. Children are our greatest natural resource. Every child has the right to grow up and reach his/her greatest potential. It is our responsibility, as the custodians of the future, to make our children’s world safe. We all share the responsibility of protecting our children who are the future of this great world. We cannot afford to have these future leaders devoid of spiritual, mental, emotional and physical integrity. In the final analysis, we have a responsibility to protect our children so they can reach their great potential, free of adults who may exploit and alter that divine gift–potential.
Claire R. Reeves President/Founder/chief Executive Officer Mothers Against Sexual Abuse, MASA