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How can we as individuals, or as a society make changes prevent to the incidence of childhood sexual abuse from occurring?

I work in a child and adolescent locked psychiatric unit and see dozens of trauma victims per week who are highly suicidal after both long term, and one-time experience of childhood sexual abuse. I want to help make a change to reduce the prevalence and would love hear about personal experiences, or professional opinions about this. should we have a tailored sex education in kindergarten?
I feel like it's not spoken about enough...

  • Nov 5 2013: I think a fusion of both what Robert Galway and Mr. Jauregui is a possible plan.

    Professionals in schools should be of the highest education, and most disciplined individuals available in the fields of child psychology, but also just plain gifted with children. These people must be able to ACTUALLY instill a very real aura of trust with every child.

    We need to make it even SLIGHTLY POSSIBLE for a child to come forward, and quickly before more and more devastating psychological damage is done.

    Also there must be less of a stigma against these people because of their "evil" actions. No violent hatred (often brutally fatal) destined for them in prisons, or life time branding with the "sexual predator" title. This is clearly a mental disorder and should be addressed as such. This would help older victims in comming forward knowing the abuser was not facing social or even real death. Most of these offenders start as victims, let's find out why, and surely not breed repeat offenders.
  • Nov 5 2013: I have neither a personal experience or a professional opinion I can share relative to the topic, but I do have a couple comments.This is an important discussion to have, but I am not sure this is the right forum.

    Providing personal experiences on the topic might be difficult in this forum due to the graphic nature of the likely content. Similarly, revealing such information publicly and having it forever linked to the contributor might not be in the best interest of the contributor. Assuming your potential contributors are victims, they are involved in an on-going recovery from the experience and each must find a way to cope with the trauma and emotions. I believe this might be done better privately, or semi-privately with the help of family and professionals.

    The topic of where to teach such lessons is an on-going debate. Ideally, such things would be discussed at home or with family, but if home or family is the source of the problem, there needs to be another communications outlet provided. My recommendation would be with a school nurse in a one-on-one interview, because I am not sure the level of trust needed to have such discussions publicly in class, or even with a teacher, would occur in most children.
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    Nov 4 2013: It's the same idea as telling women how to protect themselves against rape. If only we could prevent it from happening in the first place. Has anyone studied why these people are doing this. What is driving these people to comit this crime. Are they reacting to a specific trauma in their lives? Do they all come from a similar background?
  • Nov 21 2013: Dear Jan,

    I worked in this area for a considerable amount of time and conduct workshops for workers in the area. Working in the human services domains childhood sexual abuse (CSA) is common throughout sectors, especially for females and unfortunately has not diminished over the years. This indicates to me that we need to change how we approach work in the area. My research shows that it is not an area people want to acknowledge. I gave a lecture to a state mental health organisation and the professionals came up to me ands said they wouldn't touch CSA clients with a ten foot pole. This sums up the attitude as workers do not have the training to address this area. As people with this background can enter the systems they are often treated for the impact of the abuse rather than for the abuse itself e.g.-depression- anger -suicide ideation etc…Due to having perceptions of interpersonal domains distorted, survivor behaviours can result in being overtly sexual and/or closed. People fail to understand that if you have been sexually objectified as a child (often the only time you have felt loved) then this can be your model for future relationships. The distorted perception also interferes with the ability to grasp the social cues that may inform you that a person is not safe-consequently survivors are easily manipulated by exploitive controlling men and thus revictimised. Various reasons why professionals fail to address this can be due to not knowing how to address the victim's needs- especially as many have been through the systems without resolution and can show aggressive behaviours and/or the worker may have had similar background experiences. There is research that indicates the emotional withdrawal of the mother may factor into creating pedophile behaviours, especially if it is used as a form of control over the child, of course there will be mediating factors to stop this outcome. Generally, it is all about power-check out -
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    Nov 12 2013: Still puzzled by your question, I searched TED using the keywords “sexual abuse”

    This link might contribute.

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    Nov 9 2013: I’m not a professional in this field and I don’t have personal experiences in this specific topic. I’m just connecting some dots…

    I would like to link sexual abuse to a more common form of abuse: bullying. If sexual abuse could be considered to be an extreme form of bullying, than I would also like to link bullying to common animal behaviour called: “establishing a pecking order”.

    I am aware that sexual abuse is likely to have multiple aspects outside the scope of bullying as a form of behaviour, but I guess that bullying is the key component. When the above is correct, then you must be able to reduce the extreme form of bullying (sexual abuse) by paying more attention to the everyday occurrence of the “pecking order” mechanism.

    I am anxious to know whether these links have been previously evaluated by professionals.
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    Nov 7 2013: I think in the first place to see the offenders not as criminals, but as sick people, who probably didn't have a dandy youth themselves. I heard that some sex-offenders have had them selves sterilized voluntarily because they realize they have a mental disorder.
    If the abused children are being taught that the excrutiating experience they are carrying with them are caused by a very, very sick person, instead of an evil, evil, dirty man, the children might have the ability to have less hatefull and fearfull feelings and in turn carry with them the rest of their lives less anger, so less reason to feel hatred and repeat those things that happened to them?

    Sorry for the non-proffessional look but, as more often in my case, this is more of a gut-feeling ;)

    Goodluck with your beautifull work!
  • Nov 6 2013: Not as long as people have "free will", and "free will" is the only major difference between us and other animals. Education is the best solution we have, unfortunately some of our educators are child abusers.
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    Nov 5 2013: excellent question. We are doing many things to try to reduce it nowadays, and my question is are those things working, in other words, you're saying it still happens a lot, but did it happen more in past decades? How did they deal with it in decades past? If we find it happens less today, that would mean we're on the right track, no? And should keep doing what we're doing?

    One thing might be to ask the victims what they think could be done to prevent it.

    I was mildly sexually abused by a professor at Stanford my first week there, as a freshman. What could have prevented it? Maybe if while I was growing up, the subject of possible abuse had been talked about every day of my life, talked about by parents, by teachers. They could have gone into situations where it could come up, and what I could do about it. Is this reasonable, to go over it every day of a person's life, it seems flawed to me somehow, but maybe it's reasonable.