So now that we have empathy we can now have true compassion for others and we must also have compassion for ourselves. Let me say this again— To have true compassion for others we must also have compassion for ourselves.
New Zealand has some of the world’s highest rates of child sexual abuse with one in three New Zealand girls and one in seven boys at risk of being sexually abused. Speak Up – Stop the Silence®, a Campaign to End Child Sexual Abuse in New Zealand, launched today through a partnership between Stop the Silence®, a non-profit organization in the United States, and Trust MYRIVR, a New Zealand-based non-profit that conceptualized and promotes awareness of New Zealand’s largest app directory of health and social service providers.
Teaching kids about empathy, kindness, and compassion is a must for schools. More than one out of every five students report being bullied. Of those students:
• 13% were made fun of, called names, or insulted
• 12% were the subject of rumors
• 5% were pushed, shoved, tripped, or spit on
• 5% were excluded from activities on purpose
What is our moral obligation to share our stories of sexual abuse? What is our obligation of others to protect future children? It is easier to say nothing, or do so quietly, involving as few people as possible. This is what many families do. Yet still we must ask: Where are the witnesses to these crimes? Who is bearing witness? And why don’t they speak up? It has been my experience that silence is imposed from above, and or, internalized. And what lies underneath the silence are complex relationships—typically family relationships— because children are most often sexually abused by someone they know.
Did you know that girls are five times more likely to be sexually abused than boys? So it is important to understand that if sexual abuse has occurred and was untreated that it may be a big factor as to why a girl has gained too much weight too fast. Also remember that age is a significant factor in sexual abuse. The median age for reported sexual abuse is nine years old.
I was saddened to hear Junot Diaz’s story of child sexual abuse and then upset to hear that he was called out in person for sexual misconduct at the Sydney Writers’ Festival event. I was dismayed to hear that he had withdrawn from the rest of the festival following the accusations of “inappropriate and aggressive” harassment.