It is a topic that we do not talk about because it makes people feel uncomfortable. One of the leading reasons that survivors do not come forward with their stories is because SSA is not being discussed in the media and is considered taboo by its lack of coverage. SSA has entered into the mainstream news cycle in only a few instances. This can reinforce the notion that it does not happen that often and that the families in which it does happen are rare or unusual, making those who experience SSA feel even more alone. The most notable instance in which SSA was discussed in the media was in 2015, with the case of Josh Duggar. Duggar was on TLC’s popular television show 19 Kids and Counting. It was revealed in 2015 that he allegedly sexually abused two of his sisters and two other girls in his neighbourhood. Duggar reportedly snuck into his sisters’ rooms and molested them while they were sleeping. This made national news and got people talking about SSA. However, in the weeks that followed, the topic of SSA slid from public consciousness as the show lost popularity. Another reason SSA is not discussed much is that it creates a complex dynamic in which parents are reporting their children for offenses committed in their homes. This can cause divided loyalties in parents. Which child do they believe? Did the abused child do something to contribute to the abuse? Might the child be mistaken or not remembering the events accurately? These divided loyalties can cloud parents’ judgment concerning the abuse. Parents tend to believe their child more when the reported abuse is committed by an adult because it is easier to accept that abuse was committed by a person who is outside of the family. The reality is that few parents will report SSA. If the abuse is not reported, or if the parents have a hard time believing or accepting it, this makes it less likely that the general public will accept or talk about it. Another reason why parents may not report the abuse is because by admitting that SSA was committed, parents are admitting that there is a high level of dysfunction in their home and family. Often it is easier for them to back the offender or simply deny that sexual abuse took place. Parents may seek to keep the matter within the family.”

Written by : Brad Watts

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