An April 10 essay by Palatine parent Vicki Wilson claimed that "one in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused before the age of 18."
However, this statistic is outdated. According to the annually compiled National Crime Victimization Study through the U.S Justice Department: One in nine girls and one in 53 boys experience sexual abuse or assault at the hands of an adult. She also claimed that much of that abuse takes place in bathrooms and locker rooms, when there is no data collected anywhere, by anyone, specific to locations in which childhood sexual abuse takes place.
Survivors of sexual violence are often left out of conversations about sexual violence. They largely suffer in private silence because the overwhelming majority of assaults are unreported. Sexual violence is a crime of power. It is an intimate invasion of bodily autonomy that leaves a lasting impression of powerlessness. As a sex education teacher and a survivor of sexual violence, I can assure you that it feels very, very difficult to claw that power back.
As a community, we should talk about sexual assault. We should talk about the policies, practices, and organizations that work to reduce sexual violence. One such organization is RAINN, which runs the National Sexual Assault Hotline at (800) 656-4673. We should also highlight and strengthen local resources for survivors of sexual violence, so people know where find help.
Most importantly, we should say to every survivor of sexual violence in our community, "We condemn anyone who feels entitled to other people's bodies. Personal desires do not build bridges over other people's boundaries: what happened to you was wrong. You did not deserve it and you need not feel ashamed. We see your strength. We see your value. We stand with you."