The health problem of the decade – Dr Bill Glaser, Sydney April 1997
“Imagine a society afflicted by a scourge which struck down a quarter of its daughters and up to one in eight of its sons.
Imagine also that this plague, while not immediately fatal, lurked in the bodies and minds of these young children for decades, making them up to sixteen times more likely to experience its disastrous long-term effects.
Finally, imagine the nature of these effects: life-threatening starvation, suicide, persistent nightmares, drug and alcohol abuse and a whole host of intractable psychiatric disorders requiring life-long treatment. What would the society’s response be?
The scourge that we are speaking of is child sexual abuse.
A massive public health problem like child sexual abuse demands a massive societal response. But firstly, we need to acknowledge and understand the problem itself, and this is, sadly enough, a task which both professionals and the community have been reluctant to undertake despite glaringly obvious evidence in front of us.”
I purposely left the word ‘pedophilia’ out of the title of Dr Glaser’s extract as this word alone can make us feel so uncomfortable that we won’t read on. [full title Glaser, W.
“Pedophilia: The Public Health Problem of the Decade” – Australian Institute of Criminology Conference on Pedophilia, Sydney April 1997.]
We are now in 2018, more than 20 years after Dr Bill Glaser’s words and the statistics stay the same:
1 in 5 children will suffer some form of sexual harm before the age of 18.
1 in 8 boys
1 in 3 girls
1 in 2 indigenous children
If this were a disease we would have million of dollars of government money thrown at it, we would have hundreds of charities working to raise money to eradicate it.
Unfortunately, we won’t, A massive public health problem like child sexual assault demands a massive social response. But child sexual assault is difficult to talk about and often makes you feel uncomfortable, so despite the glaringly obvious evidence in from if us, our kids do not get the attention they so desperately need and deserve.
But there is good news
The work that Bravehearts is doing thanks to the funds raised from events like the recent excellent Hats for High tea enables Bravehearts to provide their child protective education programs to schools. Our 3-8 yr. old’s DITTO “keep safe adventure” show gives children strategies to keep themselves safe from child sexual assault. It teaches them three important ditto rules:
We all have the right to feel safe with people
It is okay to say “no” if you feel unsafe or unsure
Nothing is so yucky that you can’t tell someone about it
It is amazing at the end of the shows how empowered children are as they now know that their private parts are their own and they should run and tell someone if they feel unsure.
The show has been delivered to over 800,000 children. Their education programs work, they prevent child sexual assault.