In Britain, where officials are dealing with 450 people who have come forward to say that Jimmy Savile abused them when they were children, there’s more awareness, and thus finally more reporting of child abuse. Nevertheless, society still flinches from dealing with it, as The Guardian pointed out in an editorial, “Child abuse: Speaking the unspeakable“. It noted that the world is still doing what Freud had done a hundred years ago: recoiling from the common and damaging child maltreatment that occurs to millions of children daily, and falling into a type of societal dissociation by pretending the problem simply doesn’t exist.
The editorial explained that one of the hurdles that officialdom had to move past in prosecuting child abuse cases was the belief the “child witnesses could not be trusted”. Britain appears to have moved past that, but there’s one more systematic flaw:
Namely, an unwillingness to take seriously the complaints of youngsters who exhibit exactly the sort of symptoms of mental ill health – drinking, self-harm, extreme reticence – that can be caused by this abuse.
Around the U.S., other efforts are underway to make reporting child abuse easier.
In 2011 in Oregon, 75,000 cases of child abuse or neglect were recorded; 710 of those were in Lane County. The county has set a goal of reducing child abuse and neglect 90 percent by 2030. The 90by30 Project’s first annual conference begins tomorrow. The project was launched by the University of Oregon College of Education. According to this story on KVAL.com:
“It’s more the idea of taking the responsibility for that intervention away from that handful of people in government or non-profits and putting it where it belongs with each of us,” said 90by30 program director Phyllis Barkhurst.