Courage of survivors....child sexual assault
This afternoon I witnessed courage of survivors - in yet another tale where the last person people would suspect....a neighbor...a friend...an authority figure...was being charged with molesting young men...boys. Now the justice process is ongoing so the accused, in the eyes of the law, is innocent - but, as I sat in that court room I was inspired to see these young men get on the stand and take back the power and control they spoke about being ripped away.
For more on this story and how it began...read here ---
Here is a video on the case that quite frankly is causing a lot of pain for our community:
That story was when the charges were filed...today was a preliminary hearing and the judge decided that after hearing the testimony of the young men, there was probable cause in the case, and the Coughlins would need to face the charges.....
As a female I know how hard it is to openly admit to having been sexually assaulted in my past...as a child...and as an adult. But more often than not people sympathize even if they are uncomfortable with the subject matter - I can only imagine the courage needed when the survivor is a male sitting in a court room with their community watching as they give details of the sexual abuse they claim happened to them as a child.
Sorry to say that when a survivor does take their story through the justice system there is a natural re victimization that occurs...and I believe that is even more so when it's a male accusing another male.
The testimony was hard to listen to - the details of the abuse they claimed was a part of their daily lives was numbing.
By the time I got home I was emotionally drained - there's no way not to be after listening to something like that - absorbing what has taken place lately. I can just imagine how the alleged victims felt when they got home.
Sometimes I feel like all of this is surreal....I ask myself how I ended up here - reporting on...volunteering to help others who have been sexually assaulted. Believe me there are more days than not when I say I wish I could just shut my eyes to all of this, but I can't as these are stories that need to be told. I grew up in a society that didn't talk about these things - I grew up holding on to shame that was never mine to hold on to - I started this blog to confront the rumors that my children and I had to face after my ex husband did what he did to us.
My advice to anyone who is a survivor - take back your power...your control. Don't let anyone else tell your story - And to those who do not know the trauma involved when you've been sexually assaulted...or think it is not prevalent in your community - the next time you're in a room of people...remember these stats:
Who are the Victims?
Breakdown by Gender and Age
1 out of every 6 American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime (14.8% completed rape; 2.8% attempted rape).1
17.7 million American women have been victims of attempted or completed rape.1
9 of every 10 rape victims were female in 2003.2
While about 80% of all victims are white, minorities are somewhat more likely to be attacked.
Lifetime rate of rape /attempted rape for women by race:1
- All women: 17.6%
- White women: 17.7%
- Black women: 18.8%
- Asian Pacific Islander women: 6.8%
- American Indian/Alaskan women: 34.1%
- Mixed race women: 24.4%
MenAbout 3% of American men — or 1 in 33 — have experienced an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime.1
- In 2003, 1 in every ten rape victims were male.2
- 2.78 million men in the U.S. have been victims of sexual assault or rape.1
Children15% of sexual assault and rape victims are under age 12.3
- 29% are age 12-17.
- 44% are under age 18.3
- 80% are under age 30.3
- 12-34 are the highest risk years.
- Girls ages 16-19 are 4 times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault.
- 3% of boys grades 5-8 and 5% of boys in grades 9-12 said they had been sexually abused.
- Of these, 75% were girls.
- Nearly 30% of child victims were between the age of 4 and 7.
- 34.2% of attackers were family members.
- 58.7% were acquaintances.
- Only 7% of the perpetrators were strangers to the victim.
Effects of Rape
Victims of sexual assault are:73 times more likely to suffer from depression.
6 times more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.
13 times more likely to abuse alcohol.
26 times more likely to abuse drugs.
4 times more likely to contemplate suicide.