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More children are abused than reported 

Sexual Assault Recovery and Prevention Center of SLO County clinical counseling director

Regarding “The pedophile effect” by Nick Powell (June 28): After reading Mr. Powell’s article, I felt compelled to address some of the erroneous “facts” that were stated. According to the Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network (RAINN) website, one in six girls and one in 33 boys will be victims of rape or attempted rape by the time they turn 18—not .72 percent! Studies have shown that seven percent of girls and three percent of boys in grades 5 through 8 disclosed that they had been sexually abused. In grades nine through 12, 12 percent of the girls and five percent of the boys reported it. Fifteen percent of all sexual abuse victims are age 12 or younger. Children are more at risk of child sexual abuse (CSA) if they have a disability, if they live apart from a parent, if their parent abuses substances, and if their mother was sexually abused.

Powell was correct in stating that children are more at risk from the people they know than those who are strangers. Ninety-three percent know their abuser (34.2 percent family members, and 58.7 percent acquaintances). Unfortunately, because children are afraid of what will happen if they tell, they usually don’t disclose until they are much older. It’s the (two to five percent) abductions that make the news!

For more information about what you can do as parents, please visit the websites for RAINN, Stop It Now, and One In Six.

Nick’s note: I was looking at yearly stats, so I should have said .72 percent of children are sexually abused annually. I’ve found more numbers to show that a total of 8.8 percent of children are sexually abused by the time they reach adulthood.


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