Over 58,000 cases of childhood sexual abuse were reported in 2014, with 93 percent of the children knowing their abusers. I need to add a caveat to these horrific numbers: 70 percent of victims don’t ever report. Those children, and their stories, are reason alone for us to make sure everyone gets validated for telling their story. These numbers are proof that we must have a continual avalanche of witnesses.
Our society now has enough evidence to understand that sexual violation is an epidemic but do we know incest is the grand underbelly of our rape culture?
Many of us share the common experience of avoiding the word “incest” when telling our stories. How can we address this pervasive issue if we can’t even use the appropriate language to describe it? How can I talk about the discomfort I’ve experienced in my life if it causes my listener so much discomfort that they no longer want to listen?
We know that it’s hard to listen to. We know that’s it’s hard to hold. We know that it’s hard to process. We know these things because we’ve had to do them, for all our lives, all by ourselves.
I want incest survivors to come forward without fear. I want families and communities to stop denying these occurrences and abandoning their babies. I want perpetrators to be criminalized. I want statue of limitation laws to be eradicated so that I can exercise my right to criminalize my abusers. I want people to stop refusing to address this issue because it’s too hard or it’s too complicated or it’s too intense. I want perpetrators to get treatment. I want victims to recover.