It is a very human reaction to want to dismiss the idea that some people do commit crimes against children, and that sexual assault really does happen at a rate of every 73 seconds an American is sexually assaulted.1 On average, there are 433,648 victims (age 12 or older) of rape and sexual assault each year in the United States.2 To accept these facts means to accept that for one month alone, even during April with all the attention given to these issues, there will be over 35,500 people raped and hundreds of thousands of children physically, sexually, or emotionally abused or neglected. To accept these numbers means to accept our own vulnerability, and our children’s vulnerabilities to these atrocities. To accept that vulnerability means to feel unsafe in our own communities. None of us want to accept any of this, yet many continue to turn a blind eye to the abuses happening right in front of them.
So yes, “enough already”! Enough of the normalization of sexual violence. Enough of the boys will be boys mentality. Enough of the “he didn’t mean it”, or “he’s such a good man”. Enough of the victim blaming and insinuations that it was her fault. Enough! Do not be upset that the media reports on it…actually, we wish they would report more! For everyone who discredits the media for reporting these incidents, consider the alternative: molesters, abusers, and rapists given free reign to continue their acts in silence. Rather than attacking the messenger, keep and open mind and remember that offenders are often “model citizens” to all outward appearances; it is their very normality that allows them to continue victimizing others without suspicion. Instead of turning a wary eye on the abuse prevention programs that your children may be receiving in school, be thankful that they are being taught some survival skills. Personal safety programs, such as those taught by the North County Rape Crisis and Child Protection Center that teach children to Say No, Get Away and Tell Someone are no more dangerous than fire safety programs that teach children to Stop, Drop, and Roll. Children receiving this instruction are no more likely to decide to falsely accuse someone of abuse than they are to yell “Fire” in a crowded theater.
So yes, “enough already!” No one can be faulted for preferring to believe that rape and abuse cannot happen in our world, but the fact is that it does. Rather than denying the possibility or blaming the victims, recognize that children and adults are being brutalized every hour across the country. Recognize it, but do not accept it. Instead, say “enough already,” and seek out the many dedicated volunteers and professionals in your community working to stop it. April is now over, but the work is far from done. Find out how you can help. How you can learn more about the issues. How you can be a part of the solution.
Stop the secrecy. Stop the blaming. Enough, already.
1 RAINN. (2021, April 19). Statistics. RAINN. https://www.rainn.org/statistics.
2 Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics, National Crime Victimization Survey, 2018 (2019).