Why is sexual abuse rampant? How is it that a sexual abuser can have several, even dozens of victims? How do sexual abusers continue to find new victims?
Children continue to be sexually abused because the adults around them don't give a shit about them.
There, I said it.
Oh, they might think they care. They might say they care. They might get angry if accused of not caring. And yet, sexual abuse continues at epidemic levels. It's time to stop saying we don't know what to do or we can't do anything. It's time to stop being apaths and bystanders. It's time to take the initiative, to break through the discomfort, to shout above the silence and to change for the children.
Adults around the children being abused care MORE about other things than protecting the children.
They care more about image than they do about a child crying himself to sleep every night, knowing what's coming, They care more about their feelings of discomfort than they do about a child who thinks she deserves abuse and that's why everyone ignores her signs for help.
They worry more about involving authorities than they do about a child dropping into depression, self-harming, considering suicide to escape. They more about upsetting their smooth little lives than about the child's life which is being destroyed. They care more about "what the neighbor might think" than they do about what children are being taught to think about sex, boundaries, dignity and suffering.
Then if the abuse is finally forced into their faces, if they can't hide from it, twist it, or otherwise ignore it, they start with the excuses. "Oh, he was such a nice man!" "But, she's a good Christian woman. She donated to the needy!" "I never thought anything like that was happening. I thought he was a problem child." "I thought she was just copying what she saw on TV." Blah blah blah...deep down they know they are lying to themselves.
You've decided you don't want to be like this. You disagree with protecting the abuser. Maybe you experienced abuse and subsequent dismissal at the hands of other adults and have vowed to stop the cycle.
So, how can you STOP abuse?
SPEAK UP AGAINST IT.
FOLLOW UP ON IT.
Stop camouflaging what you see, stop turning your head, stop closing your mouth, and stop walking away. When everyone is talking freely and openly about grooming, about parental abuse and neglect, about gaslighting, and more, when everyone is open and honest about boundaries, when everyone is INVOLVED, AWARE, and ACTIVE in children's lives, then the monsters slink away because they know the children are not vulnerable prey for the taking.
Pipe up in conversations. Bring up the topic of abuse. Talk about respect for children, regarding sexuality or anything. Talk about your parenting methods. Say penis, vagina, prepuce, vulva. When monsters see that the adults around children are informed about parenting dynamics, oppose abuse, and can speak freely and comfortably about sexuality, they know these adults can't be manipulated into working for them.
If you observe new, unusual, erratic, or compulsive behavior, don't quickly jump to any answer EXCEPT abuse. Go ahead, consider it. RULE IT OUT as opposed to ignoring it or refusing to think about it. Here are some examples:
Anxiety and depression, self harming, anti-social behaviors, emotional/sexual maturity beyond years (knowing and talking about things you or a teacher didn't share with them), acting out sexual play, genital stimming beyond exploration, fear of being alone, fear of being with certain people, control issues especially surrounding bathroom and eating habits, screaming and crying over using the bathroom (not talking about illness here are we? AGAIN, RULE IT OUT), fear of certain objects/toys (from being used on them), porn addiction, substance abuse, etc.
RULE IT OUT before you THROW IT OUT.
How can you PREVENT abuse?
Tell your children or any children you interact with that you will listen to them. Model listening to them. Show them that you are listening and caring. Tell them if they feel something is wrong, or if they hurt in their tummy, or if they are scared of someone, that they can talk to you.
Name their body parts. Say the names out loud. Name their emotions. Out loud. Practice acknowledging and protecting a child's no. Carefully use methods such as wrestling and tickling to build boundaries by practicing no and stop instead of incorrectly using them to break down a child's space. Read books about body boundaries with children. Work on your own boundaries.
Remind them that their no is powerful and shouldn't be ignored. Demand healthy boundaries from other adults around the child, such as friends, relatives, teachers, and people around town in authority positions. Stop the grooming even if the person doing it is not an obvious abuser. Show children that their bodies and feelings are important, that you care about them, that they have a voice and permission to use it. Monsters don't like children with a voice.
They don't like it when children are comfortable with their bodies and comfortable discussing issues with adults. They don't like it when children are bonded with a caring adult. Bonded, confident, unashamed, educated children are not weak, vulnerable, easy to manipulate, or easy to groom for abuse.
Adults, stand tall. Stand strong. Stand together. Make it clear that your home, your school, your playground, your community is not going to idly stand by in silence while your children are eaten by monsters. Show them your teeth, show them your intelligence. Raise your children with the same qualities. It's time to stop helping pedophiles. This isn't a fairytale castle and you aren't a flying monkey working for a witch.
Learn more about signs of an abuser and signs of a victim here.