Child sexual abuse remains hidden, often for years

As revelations about Jimmy Savile fill the news — another tragic case of an abuser using his position to lure children —Kathryn Westcott & Tom de Castella published an excellent article in the BBC News Magazine (25 Oct) explaining why these cases take so long to come to light.  In ‘The decades-long shadow of abuse’ Westcott & Castella discuss the re-traumatizing effect of not being believed once abuse survivors come forward, in a way continuing abusers’ psychological power to harm their victims years, even decades, later.

The decades-long shadow of abuse

In an earlier insightful article in the New Yorker magazine (24 Sep), In Plain View: How child molesters get away with it,’ Malcolm Gladwell — focusing, among other examples, on the Sandusky case — also addresses why these cases take so long to become known .

In Plain View: How child molesters get away with it

When monsters roam free, we assume that people in positions of authority ought to be able to catch them if only they did their jobs. But that might be wishful thinking. — Malcolm Gladwell (2012)

2 thoughts on “Child sexual abuse remains hidden, often for years

  1. The Gladwell quote is not very helpful. Institutions tend to close ranks and cover up no matter what the issue is. It is not easy for an abuser to “get away with it” without help–either implicit or explicit. The refusal of the Horace Mann Board of Trustees to apologize is a classic example of institutional group-thinking. The administration of Penn State University “got away with it” for fifteen years. They are making ammends now only because they were forced to. The survivors of Horace Mann abuse should look upon their task as legal and political warfare.

  2. Thank you for posting this. It is so important to raise awareness about this issue. As long as abusers can “get away with it” this kind of abuse will continue. Raising awareness is an important step in preventing further abuse.

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