Friday, January 2, 2009

Civil Right of Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse New York’s Child Victim Act of 2009

By Vicki Polin, MA, LCPC, NCC

JCASA (International Jewish Coalition Against Sexual Assault) believes it's ludicrous for anyone to oppose a bill that could take the financial burden of caring for victims of sex crimes from the state of New York and placing it on the criminal(s) who are responsible causing the -- including individuals, organizations and or institutions that helped to cover up these sorts of crimes. According to statistics one child molester will sexually violate at least 117 children in their life time. By not reporting criminal behavior to civil authorities we are all creating more victims, which in leads to placing more financial burden on the citizens of New York. 

According to statistics one out of every four children will be molested by the time they reach their eighteenth birthday. Considering there are just under 20,000,000 people living in New York, means there is roughly 500,000 survivors of child sexual abuse living in the state. A vast number of these individuals will need some sort of counseling or other assistance to cope with the childhood trauma they endured. Too many who have been sexually victimize resort to drugs and alcohol to anesthetize their feelings in hopes of making it through another day. Other survivors develop eating disorders, practice various forms of self-harm, become suicidal and or have other behavioral issues which make it impossible to obtain or keep employed. Who ends up paying for the care of the victims of these heinous sexual crimes? -- The citizens of New York. 

Child sexual abuse is a crime of secrecy. The majority of those who were sexually violated as children never tell anyone -- if and when they do, it's often not until many years after the statute of limitations have expired. The problem is that those who perpetrate these sorts of crimes count on their victims silence, so that they can continue on in their molesting careers. Meaning they are allowed to continue creating more children who will grow up exhibiting a whole mired of symptoms from being sexually violated. 

In the general population most people do not know how something they experience in their childhood (either good or bad) will effect their lives -- until they had many years to live past what ever that event was. Most people do not even start to evaluate their lives until they are well into their forties, fifties or beyond. Considering this fact how can any one expect a survivor of child sexual abuse know the life long impact a sex crime when they are still only in their twenties or thirties. 

Most adult survivors of child sexual abuse will do what ever they can to escape from the pain they have been suffering. They will do what they can to live a normal life. Most adult survivors want to go to college, have good careers, hang out with friends, get married and have children. Unfortunately, many hide the fact that they are having nightmares, flashbacks and or suffering from physical injuries from the sexual victimization. Many have trouble forming healthy relationships, end up in abusive relationships, are sexually assaulted as adults, and many others become so dysfunctional in their daily lives to be able to work. 
We all must also realize that forty-six percent of all sex crimes committed against children occur in the home. The remaining fifty-four percent is made up of babysitters, teachers, doctors, therapists, scout leaders, clergy (of all faiths) camp counselors, neighbors. Out of that fifty-four percent, it is only two percent that involve a clergy member. Considering these facts, The Awareness Center does not believe that the Catholic church has a monopoly on sexual predators, even though in recent years the news media seems to focus only on cases involving sex offenders who are members of the clergy abuse and or those that involve a religious institution. The fact is that clergy and religious institution cases are statistically only the tip of the iceberg. 

As Americans we need to be addressing all forms of sex crimes committed against our children. We need to ensure that when an individual who was sexually abused as a child is ready to take legal action they still have some recourse to do so. We need to be focusing our attentions on all survivors and not just those who were violated by clergy and or those connected to religious institutions. Remember the vast majority of cases of child molestation occurs in the home and not in the church, synagogue, mosque or temple. 

The only opponent to the Child Victims Act of New York is the Catholic church, insurance industry and a small orthodox Jewish Sephardic group. These groups have a vested interest in keeping those who have been criminally sexually violated silent. 

Both adult survivors and children, who have not yet been abused -- living in the state of New York need your immediate help to insure the passage of The Child Victims Act of New York.