Lina uses her status as a childhood sexual abuse survivor to partner with local and national philanthropies to bring attention to this issue that too often flies under the radar of law enforcement, politicians, schools, and the general public.
The statistics on childhood sexual abuse are incomprehensible.
- One in four girls and one in six boys are sexually abused before the age of 18.
- An estimated 80 percent of all sexual abuse goes unreported.
- Sexually violent acts against children and adolescents cost $116 billion per year.
- Every nine minutes, child protective services substantiate or find evidence for a claim of child sexual abuse.
- About 93 percent of children who are victims of sexual abuse know their abuser.
- Child abuse occurs at every socioeconomic level, across ethnic and cultural lines, within all religions, and at all levels of education
Child sexual abuse can—and often does—affect a person’s psychological and physical well-being. The scars of that abuse often manifest in the form of stalled relationships, drug and alcohol abuse, self-harm, psychological problems, and risky behavior. What’s worse: Statistics show that childhood sexual abuse survivors are more likely to become victims of sexual, physical, or emotional abuse again in their lifetime.
Bottom line: Childhood sexual abuse is an underreported epidemic that we can no longer avoid.
Lina knows that healing from such trauma takes time. Survivors need the opportunity, control, and resources to heal at their own pace and on their terms. The healing process is as different as the victims and survivors. For some survivors, the healing involves years of counseling and therapy. For others, the journey includes the ability to stop and even prevent the potential for abuse against others through legal means by bringing those who commit these horrendous crimes to justice.
While childhood sexual abuse has grown to epidemic proportions, the good news is that 95 percent of abuse is preventable through education and awareness. However, getting the proper guidance and support can be challenging, and many children, parents, and caregivers have trouble navigating the vast landscape of services and resources. In addition, problems arise because sexually abused children and their families often need immediate help. Thus, it’s critical to provide the tools and resources to help support children who have been victims of sexual abuse.
Therefore Lina will always be in partnership with organizations such as BestSelf, Child & Family Services, and Gillian’s Place.
Finding out that a child is or has been the victim of sexual abuse is devastating. For parents, it may feel like their world is coming undone. However, it’s critical to remember that there is always hope, no matter how dire the circumstances.
List of organizations providing child sex abuse information, courtesy of the US Department of Health & Human Services Child Welfare Information Gateway:
Highly-rated charities working to end sexual assault: