A lot has been said about the recent scandal at Penn State. A lot that I hate, but some that I'm very glad to see in public discussions. First of all, of course, I hate that it happened at all. That people chose to protect a footall program from scandal over protecting children from sexual abuse. And then also, I hate the pain that other survivors of childhood sexual abuse experience when they see how this went down.
I appreciate, though, the people I’ve seen come forward in the past few weeks to publicly tell their own stories of childhood sexual abuse. And to publicly state how this story has affected them, as survivors. I am cheering for each and every one of them. I believe that if we can start talking more about these stories, that can become a powerful step toward preventing sexual violence from happening in the first place.
For example, consider this:
Everyone gets hung up on the particular physical acts inflicted upon children. Here's some news: the root violation is boundary crossing by a trusted adult. This is an assault on the psyche as much as the body, on a kid's sense of trust and safety in the world. And while some acts obviously may cause more physical trauma, touching, kissing, or even simple propositioning are no less intrusive psychologically -- which is why all are illegal. - Clay Evans
Peg Shippert is a psychotherapist in private practice in Boulder, Colorado. She has a deep passion for working with survivors of sexual violence and other traumas.