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Silence contributes to children’s abuse, suffering

Silence isn’t just an act of complicity, it’s a cruel and conscienceless action when it contributes to the abuse and injury of a child or children, as alleged in a case here in Jefferson County.

According to published media reports, a wife and husband each face 20 facilitation counts of rape, incest, sodomy, unlawful transaction with a minor and use of a minor in a sexual performance. Prosecutors say the couple knew the wife’s father, a previously convicted sex offender, repeatedly abused minor family members, but took no action to report or stop the abuse, which occurred in Kentucky and Indiana.

imagesProsecutors charged the wife’s father in May with multiple counts of rape, incest and sodomy against relatives who are minors. He allegedly used “threats, physical violence and coercion” to rape one young family member, prosecutors say, and forced the minor to have sex with another minor family member while he watched.

We already know and understand that too much abuse is hidden or goes unreported due to “protecting family,” guilt or shame. For too many, even talking about child abuse is as bad as the abuse itself. So they become complicit in the shaming, silencing and blaming of children who’ve been abused.

We cannot, must not let this behavior continue to stand.

Children are the most vulnerable among us. As adults we have a responsibility, and obligation to do everything – to risk everything – to protect them. For parents and family, the onus of that responsibility is even greater, so to think that children suffered injury due to inaction by familial adults – who appear even to have allowed them to be abused – is abominable.

We must break, even shatter the silence that too often surrounds child abuse. Children cannot stop child abuse. Adults can – we must!

Learn the facts. Minimize opportunity. Talk about it. Recognize the signs, and, most of all, react responsibly. Report it!

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