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TOOLKIT INSIDE: Protecting Every Child and Ending Child Sexual Abuse

Our prevention program has had current and past success in creating a safe space for disclosure, supportive services, children’s services and advocacy. As well as fighting against the culture of silence that accompanies sexual abuse.  In a truth and reconciliation survey conducted by BWB, we learned that 60 percent of Black girls in this country have experienced sexual abuse at the hands of black men before reaching the age of 18, yet the vast majority of incidents go unreported.  Seven years ago, a similar study by the Black Women's Health Imperative found that number was closer to 40 percent.  According to the Child Molestation Prevention Institute one of every five little girls and at least one out of every ten little boys are victims of a sexual abuser. 

 

 

 

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Far more men than women are abusers. In fact, approximately one out of 20 men, and approximately one out of 3,300 women are sexual abusers of children. We also know that approximately 40% of Black and African American women nationally report coercive contact of a sexual nature before they even reach the age of 18. The lack of attention and awareness on these staggering statistics is especially derived from the culture of silence about sexual violence in Black and African American communities. Such silence often functions as a protective shield against further discrimination and vilification of Black men in a world where police are killing young Black men and women, and where the “second highest form of police misconduct is sexual violence” (Cato Institute).

 

Young Black survivors negotiate seeking justice and healing for their experiences at the intersection of race, sexuality, class and gender and often strive to adhere to codes of loyalty and protection of communal/community relationships instead of reporting due to pressing threats predicated on historical disenfranchisement and marginalization. Within African American and Black immigrant families, limited conversations with children about human sexuality can also send a more general message that sexuality is taboo, making it virtually impossible for victims of sexual abuse to feel comfortable disclosing their abuse, especially if the abuser is a member of the child’s social network. 

 

There is also a tendency in these communities to point to systemic failures experienced by the offender that immobilize communities and families from taking even the most basic steps to preventing child sexual abuse at the familial or communal levels. Such silence and lack of action creates the perfect storm for new cases of sexual assault to proliferate.

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