Child sexual abuse is the most underreported of all crimes. When it is reported, it is the least acted upon of all crimes. When it is acted upon it is the least punished of all crimes. Child sexual abuse does not recognise region, race, creed, socio-economic status or gender; it crosses all boundaries to impact every community and every person on this great planet of ours. In fact child sexual abuse affects approximately one in four children in Australia and statistics suggest that 98% of offenders go about their crimes completely uninhibited.
These figures are a call to action for all of us to do whatever we can as individuals to make a difference.
Ending child sexual abuse depends entirely upon our collected efforts to keep improving the lives of children. Our absolute commitment to the safety and wellbeing of children is the only way to ensure our evolution toward a peaceful and just existence for all of humanity.
Our children are the way they are because of our society, our culture, our economy and ourselves. Our ability to nurture, respect, love and protect our children is a reflection of how we manage ourselves. We see this so clearly reflected in the different cultures around the world. Where there is cultural break down and social unrest, there is rampant abuses of children.
We should feel humbled by our children instead of feeling superior to them. Sure we have the benefit of years behind us, but we should value a child’s opinion as of equal importance to our own. True love must contain equanimity, joy and love. Without equanimity, love can become selfish and destructive. Most children in our society are to some degree misunderstood, discriminated against, manipulated, coerced and punished as part of their “normal” and “healthy” daily routine. If we are unable to empathise with children, how can we hope to save them from the horror that is sexual abuse?
If a child’s opinion was considered to be equal to any adult’s, it is unlikely that child sexual abuse would be the silent crisis that it is today. With equality comes greater respect. And with greater respect comes higher standing within society. The results of that elevation in society are that children’s opinions, ways of thinking, values, needs and feelings will be seen as having more value, in turn, affording a heightened sense of entitlement, including improvements in the areas of safety and protection.
Status in society is usually based on a subjective assessment of the social worth of the group or individual. So where do children fit into society’s hierarchy? And what is the social worth of children?
Children are universally considered socially insignificant and of little value. Children have always been and are today, the most victimised group in society. They are the most vulnerable and the least able to defend their human rights. There are more organisations established to defend the endangered animals of the world than there are people working for the protection and equality of children. Many of the child advocacy organisations are predominantly focused on awareness and education as opposed to action which means there are very few champions fighting for the human rights of children.
There have been many developments throughout human history, where an individual or group has fought for equality and freedom, such as, women, through the feminist movement and the many social, racial and ethnic uprisings. But the one thing we have neglected to consider in our efforts to create equality, freedom, peace, justice and environmental harmony is to strive for the equality, protection and basic human rights of the world’s children.
Education of, advocacy for and protection of all children with whom we share this planet is the only means of achieving a peaceful, sustainable world, where a democratic, humane and civilised society is paramount.
We must begin by teaching children from the earliest age to develop respect for self, for other people and humanity. They must come to value diversity, freedom, equality, determination, justice, empathy and non-violence and be mindful of global, moral, religious, multi-cultural, economic and environmental concerns, as well as understand the interconnectedness of all the people of the world. Only then, can we begin to rectify the ills that plague our societies, not the least of which is the sexual abuse of our children.