Guest Editorial: Abuse Victims Should Tell Someone

For the past fifteen years I have ministered to and assisted victims of crime, sexual abuse, and exploitation of minors.  I want to encourage anyone in the shadows of abuse to come forward. Healing begins when the secret is brought to light.

Pineda

My previous involvement with local victims of Brian Watson and the recent arrest of a well-known local photographer, Gregg Martin, made me think of writing this appeal to our community to offer some guidance regarding disclosure and provide local resources to assist in the healing process.

A common myth is that child sexual abuse is perpetrated by strangers and pedophiles.

But most people who sexually abuse children are friends, partners, family, and community members. About 93 percent of children who are victims of sexual abuse know their abuser and some find it difficult to talk about or bring it to light. I want to encourage anyone that is living with this secret, minor or adult, to receive healing by disclosing the trauma.

What is disclosure?

Disclosure means telling another person about an incident or experience of violence. This may be a recent incident, or it may have occurred in the past or it may be ongoing. Examples of sexual assault include (but are not limited to):

  • unwanted touching
  • unwanted, offensive communication including comments or jokes
  • sexual harassment
  • pressuring someone for sex
  • indecent exposure and obscene gestures
  • being forced to watch sexual behavior, including pornography
  • rape

What is delayed disclosure?

It is the phenomenon common to survivors of child sex abuse where individuals wait for years, often decades, before disclosing to others that they have been victims of abuse.

I have worked with many adults that delayed disclosure and their lives were derailed by trying to escape the pain and succumb to substance abuse. While there is always hope for healing, delaying disclosure typically delays the healing process too.

If you are a victim of sexual abuse, the parent or guardian of a minor that has disclosed sexual abuse to you, and would like to speak to a Victim Advocate to assist please consider these options:

South Carolina Victim’s Assistance Network (SCVAN)

www.scvanlegal.org

803-509-6552

Pathways to Healing

www.pathwaystohealing.com

803-771-7273

Pure Light Ministry – Project Protect

[email protected]

803-309-1646

Laurie Pineda was previously employed by the RCSD as Investigator/Victim Advocate specializing in sexual exploitation of minors.

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