Studies have shown that child abuse often takes place over long periods without being reported. Frequently victims and others with knowledge of abuse have opportunities to come forward, and even discuss the incidents within their families or organizations, but fail to confront the perpetrator or report the incidents to the authorizes.
Whether one is a victim or knows a victim, she frequently faces fear, guilt or shame when contemplating admitting to another that an incident of abuse took place. It can seem insurmountable to raise such a serious issue when one has to confront an admired individual or an institution, be it a family, school, or other organization, and it often becomes easier to look the other way. Even people with direct knowledge about instances of abuse can find it very difficult to accept that such an atrocity actually took place, especially in one’s own family. People fail to take ownership of the situation because they assume that someone else will speak up.
White Out Child Abuse, Inc. (WOCA) is dedicated to helping people identify and understand these cultural norms that allow child abuse to exist over long periods. In order to ensure that our society is one that does not tolerate child abuse, people must first feel comfortable and accountable to expose it when it occurs. It is our responsibility as family- and community-members to foster an environment that lets victims and other people with knowledge of abuse know that if they speak up they will be met with a supportive, and nonjudgmental, response.
To donate to stop child abuse, visit: rainn.org/ProudPSUforRAINN.
Please continue the conversation with friends, family, coworkers and others to raise awareness of the pervasiveness of child abuse. Many victims do not come forward because of fear, guilt or shame. We each have the responsibility to ensure that our culture does not tolerate child abuse or the circumstances that enable such atrocities to occur.
To report an instance of child abuse, call 1-800-4-A-CHILD.
* This movement is not directly affiliated with Penn State University.