Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Childhood Sexual Abuse- Let's Take A Town Like Stillwater,MN

                                        Stillwater, Minnesota 2016

Today I was driving through downtown Stillwater and started thinking.
Most people, when they hear I’ve been thinking, want to run for the hills because they know I will be blabbing their ear off in a matter of seconds.
I guess that should be your warning. You can choose to quit reading now before I get all philosophical and statistical on you or you can continue reading..

So ,anyways , I was thinking about the statistics of childhood sexual abuse in our communities. I suspect most would be thinking about others things, things like family, how they are going to get Billy to practice on Thursday, What they are going to have for supper tonight, when did baby Josie have her last  bowel movement, why is my boss such an ass, and things of that sort. Not me. I was thinking about the statistic that states 1 out of 4 girls and 1 out of 6 boys will be sexually abused by the age of 18.

Now this is where most readers will bolt. Why? Because talking about childhood sexual abuse freaks people out, it is a scary subject.. I know because I am an adult survivor of childhood sexual abuse and I guarantee if you want to clear a room full of people just start talking about childhood sexual abuse or mention you run a nonprofit for abuse survivors.

The discussion of child rape and molestation is a hard one. This is a conversation most will avoid, including survivors.. It doesn’t mean, necessarily, that people don’t care but it does mean it is a hard and taboo subject.It also means we can’t fix what we don’t acknowledge and that means we need to start talking about this subject whether uncomfortable or not.I know these discussions are hard. I know you probably would like to stop reading now but I ask you to just think about this and read a bit longer.

So, say I take a town like Stillwater,MN.
For those of you who have no idea where Stillwater is I would say it’s about 45 minutes from Minneapolis,MN.
Stillwater is a quaint river town. Full of antiques, resteraunts, books, coffee houses and bars. In the 1800’s Stillwater was a booming lumber town and is affectionately called the birthplace of Minnesota.Whether it is or not may be questioned but what we do know is that the last government census put Stillwater,MN as having 18,674 residents. In further reading, another census broke that number down between males and females. . In this census report they listed a total of 18,225 residents , 8,834 of those residents were male and 9,391 were females.

By now you may be thinking, and your point is……….?
Well, truth be told if we were to take those numbers and use the statistics that say one out of four girls and one out of six boys will be sexually abused by the age of 18 we would have a total of approx. 3,820 residents that were sexually abused and raped as children. Just think about that for a minute. We have a town total of 18, 225 residents and of those residents approx 3,820 of them will have been sexually molested and raped as children. Of those children approx. 1,472 will be boys, and 2,348 will be girls.

This number is staggering.

Sad thing is that we know most survivors will never tell of their abuse and because of this these numbers do not properly reflect the true degree of sexual abuse .
We really need to start talking about childhood sexual abuse. We have pandemic levels but yet no one talks about childhood abuse. We need to get the conversations going. A hard subject yes but a vital one to discuss.

I believe it is on us adults to learn the facts about childhood sexual abuse, learn how to empower our children, all children, learn prevention and also educate ourselves on the signs and symptoms of childhood sexual abuse.

Whether an adult survivor of childhood sexual abuse or a child being abused, survivors need help, love and support. Let’s get the conversations going. For more on prevention check out the Darkness to Light website at, , , or google childhood sexual abuse for more information.

Let’s work together to give voice to childhood sexual abuse and reduce these staggering statistics.

If you are an adult survivor of childhood sexual abuse I invite you to visit my website at , visit and “like” our EmpowerSurvivors public facebook page at , join our closed peer support group on facebook at or join us offline at our weekly peer support group for adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse located in Stillwater,MN!

It is up to all of us to protect our most vulnerable and it is by all of us working together that we can draw awareness to this horrible crime.

Elizabeth Sullivan
Founder of EmpowerSurvivors