Today marks the launch of Stand Up, Step Forward. Watch it. It could save a child’s life.
In 2012, almost 50 percent of contacts with Maine’s sexual assault support programs were from or about someone who experienced sexual violence under the age of 18. Because child sexual abuse is so under-reported, we cannot determine the full extent of its impacts. However, we know that child sexual abuse has lasting impacts on survivors and their families and significantly affects our communities.
We also know that approximately 85 percent of minors who are sexually abused never tell, or delay telling, about the abuse.
The importance of being an informed community member and of knowing what to do if a child tells you they have been — or are being — sexually abused cannot be understated. We need look no further than the Jerry Sandusky case and (more close to home) the Bob Carlson case (strongly suspected of being a serial child abuser), to know that child sexual abuse happens, it’s often where you least expect it, and often people suspected that something wasn’t quite right.
Maine’s Children’s Advocacy Centers (CACs) and Maine’s sexual assault support centers are available to help — even if you’re not sure or just suspect that something isn’t quite right. One of the most important things we as community members can do to help end child sexual abuse in Maine is to say something if you suspect something.
You never know. It could save a child’s life.