Letter: Coming Forward On Child Sex Abuse

Letter: Coming Forward On Child Sex Abuse

Letter to the Editor

To the Editor:

I am a victim of childhood sexual abuse and a mother of four. I was very happy to see the article "Scandal Highlights Child Sex Abuse" [Connection, Feb. 2-8, 2012] by Victoria Ross which addresses an important issue that is close to my heart.

I want to thank the reporter who covered this issue, the Fairfax County Police and the Office for Women’s Domestic and Sexual Violence Services who took a proactive approach to reaching out to victims and educating parents and others who work with children.

The online discussion was a wonderful way for parents, victims and those that work with children to voice their questions and concerns in a safe way. It can be a very difficult subject for many people to discuss. As a victim, I know how hard it can be to come forward and how painful the healing process can be when you feel you are alone. I didn’t tell anyone about my abuse until I was 48 years old. Shame and fear of the reaction I would receive kept me silent and suffering. It is my hope that as society becomes more educated and comfortable with the subject of child sexual abuse that children will feel safer in coming forward. As a child I needed to know that if I told an adult that I would be believed, that I would be reassured that it was not my fault and finally that someone would do something about what happened. When these three things happen, children will feel safer in coming forward. When children come forward, they can begin to heal, and those that abused them can be exposed making all our children safer.

Becky Ianni