Not one, not twice, but over and over, I’ve seen social media updates and pleas from users that we stop talking about Josh Duggar and Jared Fogle and Bill Cosby, and all the ugly abuse stories in the media. “Let’s focus on the heroes!” they declare.
Yes, let’s. Or, I mean, let’s ALSO focus on the heroes. The heroes in all of these stories are the victims, the advocates standing with the victims, the law enforcement officers and social workers doing their jobs, the parents getting help for their children, and on and on.
But first, can I just tell you what I hear when I read comments about not wanting to hear about those abusers? I hear, “That’s too much ugliness. I don’t want to know about it.” I hear, “Let’s pretend this isn’t happening.” I hear, “If we ignore the monsters, they will go away.”
I understand. These are hard topics. But I am so thankful for all the media attention. I hate with all my heart how much others have been hurt, but here’s a fact for you: whether you hear about it in the news or not, IT HAPPENED. It’s happening right now.
Which means what to you?
It means maybe for just a second the topic is in front of you and you might see something in a situation that is cause for alarm. Maybe you speak up for someone else and save them, whether their story ever makes the news or not.
Maybe you finally feel freedom to speak up for yourself.
You want to talk about the heroes? The heroes are in the everyday person — you, me, and anyone who chooses not to ignore the battle going on behind closed doors.
“The heroes are those who choose not to ignore the battle going on behind closed doors.”
Listen, friends, I get it. These stories are awful and disgusting and heartbreaking. I don’t want to know most of the things I know about sexual abuse, assault, domestic violence, child abuse, etc., but not knowing doesn’t change anything. And when you cry out that we should ignore the stories about the abusers, that we should shift everyone’s attention elsewhere, that’s exactly what the abusers would like too. If you stop shining a spotlight into the darkness, justice and healing are delayed — for all.
So, yes, declare the names of the heroes out there, but also keep the abusers in the spotlight, for their crimes should not be ignored. Victims should hear your cries of injustice, how you stand with them, how you hurt with them. Because sadly, with abuse as rampant as it is, the next victim who hears your support could be in your own circle of loved ones.
“1 in 5 girls and 1 in 20 boys is a victim of child sexual abuse.”
–National Center for Victims of Crime
“There is an average of 293,066 victims (age 12 or older) of rape and sexual assault each year.” –RAINN
“The fastest growing demand in commercial websites for child abuse is for images depicting the worst type of abuse, including penetrative sexual activity involving children and adults and sadism or penetration by an animal (Internet Watch Foundation. Annual Report, 2008).”
–Enough Is Enough®