1 in 4 girls. 1 in 6 boys.
Let that sink in.
These are our national statistics for how many children will be sexually abused by the age of 18.
That’s one child on your 3v3 soccer team. Two to three on your softball or baseball team. Four to five in your classroom.
Many people still think abusers are usually strangers, but the abuser is more likely to be someone the child knows. In 85% of reports, the abuser is a relative or trusted friend.
These are the facts. Appalling, unbelievable.
This is why adults and children need to be armed with information.
I created a presentation on how to identify suspected abuse or that a child is being groomed for abuse, and then delivered it at churches, schools and even a national conference. Although the presentation focused on how to keep today’s kids safe, people often approached me to discuss their own experiences with abuse.
They talked about themselves, about sisters and brothers, husbands, wives and children, friends. And the statistics became people, became names—became real—and they lodged inside my head, a collective voice, waiting to be heard.
There were many and complex reasons why people didn’t report, reasons why they reported and recanted. And I discovered they had a strength, a determination to build a life—regardless of whether or not they had ever told anyone before.
I felt a need to capture this complexity, this vulnerability, and this strength in a story. One that would depict the journey from closely held dark secrets to a future both realistic and full of possibilities. I wanted a story that would help teens and adults understand, a story that would enlighten and empower. And I wanted it to be a really good, page-turning, laugh and cry, be angry, be hopeful read.
That’s how Say Something came to be. I hope you’ll read and enjoy and be part of this movement across our country to identify and report abuse, whether you suspect it or whether you know from experience that it’s true.
-Cathy Morrison, Author
- Download Keeping Kids Safe: Identifying Warning Signs and Reporting Suspected Sexual Abuse of Children at commonpurpose.biz.
- There are hotlines in each state. Just search Report Child Sexual Abuse in (your state).
- You can also call the National Center for Missing and Exploited children’s CyberTipline at 800-843-5678.
- For more information about child sexual abuse, visit MOCSA.org or your local support organization. MOCSA provides services in the Kansas City area, but they also have helpful information and resources online.