April is Sexual Abuse Awareness Month in the United States

The Penn State scandal has brought sexual abuse to the headlines, but many people still do not realize how incredibly often sexual abuse happens to young women and young men. The most common ages for victims of sexual abuse are 8-12 year olds. The majority of the time the abuser is a friend or family member and not a stranger.
We see many divorces that are at least partially caused by a spouse having been sexually abused as a child. Carrying that baggage into a marriage is like entering into a marriage with two strikes against the couple right from the beginning.
Another one of the calls that we frequently is the frantic parent who has found out that an uncle or a cousin or a friend or neighbor has just sexually abused their daughter or son. When we get these calls,…

…we try to guide the person through the various options which include reporting the incident to the police, reporting the incident to their pastor, confronting the alleged perpetrators, etc. Although we are not counselors, sexual and physical abuse present many legal issues including protection from abuse actions, potential criminal charges, and the investigation of the perpetrators by Children and Youth Services (CYS). A CYS investigation can result in the perpetrator being “childlined” for life. Occasionally, the child is even taken away from the parents by the state and placed in foster care.
No one can ever take these kinds of allegations lightly, so before you call anyone connected with the legal system, contact your attorney so you can find out what your options are. If you are an adult and you were abused when you were a child, get counseling immediately so that this baggage does not hurt not only you, but your loved ones and perhaps even your marriage.