Confronting Sexual Abuse

Category: Weekly Columns

 Children's fears about sexual abuseRecently at #DadChat, we “took on” sexual abuse as our topic. It was a powerful chat with a powerful co-host in Rachel Thompson, author of Broken Pieces, her very open and personal story about her own painful experience with sexual abuse. Rachel is not bashful or shy about attacking this subject. She is also not afraid to be frank. Consequently, this particular #DadChat hit home for many participants and provided some great takeaways.

Broken Pieces - Sexual Abuse

Rachel will weigh in with her thoughts later. Herewith, some of the more than 1700 tweets from this #DadChat:

@RachelintheOC – What is #SexualAbuse?

@RachelintheOC – Sexual abuse is anything unwanted or inappropriate. Obv for kids it’s unwanted.

@BruceSallan – Is #SexualAbuse more common within a family or by a stranger?

@RachelintheOC – No. It’s usually a family member, neighbor, teacher, church leader.

@elizabethtraub – I agree. RT @lovelylu: Majority of sexual abuse is not committed by strangers.

@LovelyLu – The stats say upward of 80% is a trusted adult.

@RachelintheOC – More common than we think. 1 in 4 girls & 1 in 7 boys under 18 will be sexually abused (DOJ data).

@BruceSallan: Do girls or boys suffer more #SexualAbuse?

@RachelintheOC – More common for girls to be abused, but not uncommon for boys.

@LovelyLu – And that is only what is reported RT @RachelintheOC – 1 in 4 girls & 1 in 7 boys under 18 will be sexually abused (DOJ data).

@BruceSallan – When I was 18 in London, went to a play, and the guy next to me put his hand on my thigh – I didn’t know WHAT TO DO.

@KimWHix – RT @LovelyLu: It is probably higher especially in boys but they are ashamed to report it. #Dadchat<< I would think so too.

@LovelyLu – I’m an abuse awareness instructor and almost everyone has a story like that some touch that made them uncomfortable.

@LovelyLu – We walk a fine line between teaching our kids to be cautious and yet trusting. They need adults in their life they can trust.

@NameWithheld – My step-dad & uncle abused me. This kind of sickness ran in the family. No one ever talked about it.

@KimWHix – I had a patient, young man, who’s mom held him down so her boyfriend could abuse/molest him.

@livinlime @RachelintheOC I am in constant awe of your writing. Snarky and deep…

@RachelintheOC – You never know if someone is a pedophile but your subconscious knows. Trust the signs.

@BruceSallan – @RachelintheOC – Can we be over-protective, like warning our kids NEVER to speak to strangers?

@RachelintheOC – Sure we can, but in today’s society, we have to be. Again, pay attention, don’t deny anything.

@profkrg @pinchel – Child abuse prevention seems so overwhelming. How can you protect them from people you trust? Trust no one?

@RachelintheOC – RT @LovelyLu Have to teach children PAN – anyone touching them should be Public Appropriate Non-sexual.

@Dr_Weberman – For many survivors of abuse, its the neg response of family after “disclosure” that is more traumatic than the actual abuse.

@MarcieMom – I’m keeping eyes n ears open for my tot, she’s so cute n kidnappers rampant. NOTE: Marcie lives in Singapore.

@BruceSallan – Our kids NEED to know the diff between BAD strangers and adults to go to when they need help!

@RachelintheOC – Pedophiles generally worm their way in as friends of the kids, not the parents.

@RachelintheOC – My family tended to minimize what happened. It was this or not that…etc. didn’t take away the shame.

@BruceSallan – If our child is lost – what are they supposed to do? Not ask for help? THAT is the diff bet good and bad strangers.

@RachelintheOC – He had a gun & threatened me each time if I told (that he’d kill my family or baby sister).

@profkrg – I’m just going to go ahead and put this out there. I think there is a special place in hell for people who hurt children.

@profkrg – My kids were taught in daycare that no one should touch you “where your swimsuit goes.”

@RachelintheOC – Don’t blame them! It’s NEVER a child’s fault. And never approach the suspect. Leave that to authorities.

@MarcieMom – I heard the paedophiles flew in after tsunami n pretend to b parents.

@RachelintheOC – As an adult, I still carry that sense of shame. Intellectually, that’s not true but it’s where I go.

@RachelintheOC – As a writer, I go for the jugular. Honest, raw, because it’s hard to live it. It’s harder to write about it.

@SarahsEnergy – Local paper here in Wichita told of child trafficking rings and I’d also heard stories from friends – weird planet we live on.

@BarryBirkett – Weird is too nice a way to put it! PRT @sarahsenergy: … weird planet we live on.

@livinlime – So TRUE! We love #DadChat! RT @brucesallan: @TheBathCafe – #moms are ALWAYS welcome at #DadChat and, frankly, make IT better!

@RachelintheOC – I work with RAINN (Rape, Assault, Incest National Network) and they’re wonderful.

@RachelintheOC – We took my daughter to karate! she’s can kick any guy’s butt 🙂

@BruceSallan – WHERE are the feminists re abuses of women in The Middle East and Africa?

@RachelintheOC – Great book for any parent or older child: The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker.

@Dr_Weberman – 4 many kids sex abuse feels like love/affection. Its confusing 4 kids. Not about defending self but knowing they can come 2 U after.

@RachelintheOC – If anyone close to you only ever wants to be with the kids & can’t have a conversation w/ adults, that’s a warning sign.

@elizabethtraub – @brucesallan @profkrg @TheBathCafe A true mom’s man.

@aDadsPov – A big THANK YOU to @RachelintheOC – tonight’s co-host at #DadChat – I gotta go – taking my boys out to dinner!

@RachelintheOC – I’m passionate about discussing it & giving a platform to others as well. Lots of stories on my blog.

@profkrg – @RachelintheOC It’s so important. You’re helping victims feel less stigmatized and making parents aware of signs. Thank you!

@RachelintheOC – @elizabethtraub @profkrg #DadChat we are survivors and thrivers!

Well, it’s time to turn this over to Rachel Thompson for further comments, tips, and thoughts. Here is the entire #DadChat transcript from our discussion on Sexual Abuse at #DadChat on June 6, 2013.

I am honored to have had the opportunity to cohost this particular #DadChat. Sexual abuse is such an important and difficult topic. Sadly, many survivors still feel a sense of shame decades after the abuse occurred, which can lead to repression, guilt, depression, addiction, and other destructive behaviors. 

I encourage anyone who needs help to seek it out from an organization like RAINN (Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network) at — they’re wonderfully responsive, or contact a physician or therapist locally for help.

One of the many benefits of having this particular chat is that so many people contacted me privately afterward with their own horrific tales of childhood sexual abuse. Many people need a safe place to discuss it, so I’ve started a ‘secret’ group on Facebook* (meaning nobody will know that you’ve joined except for the members of the group). If anyone reading this is interested, please DM me on Twitter at @RachelintheOC, or friend me on Facebook at

*The group is for adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse only. 

Thank you Bruce. It’s been an honor to participate in your fabulous chat! 

  • David W.

    Child sexual abuse…awful stuff. A not-so-small number of my students have had to deal with it in their lives.

    • Bruce Sallan

      Yes indeed @disqus_dU5ulU60s7:disqus – but all the more important that it is OUT of the closet!

      • Guest

        Male-female/male-male child sexual abuse IS all the rage BUT female-male and female-female child sexual abuse is still well hidden (and totally denied by feminist gender bigots who have much to gain by scapegoating males as sexually ‘violent’ predators but pretending that women are never even capable of such utterly cruel crimes) :

        • Bruce Sallan

          @0003e358a89867db100bf246375feacf:disqus – you might want to read the full transcript because the abuse was discussed among boys and girls!

          • Guest

            It’s abuse BY women OF boys and girls that I’m flagging here. CALM recently ran a poster campaign scapegoating men as child abusers but totally ignoring women as child abusers. This despite the fact that women commit the majority of child abuse and a huge but largely unknown rate of child sex abuse.

            Women who commit child sex abuse get even more of a pass because women are considered incapable of sexually abusing children, because the fact that many women are child sex abusers is heresy to feminist ‘rape culture’ bigots, and because most men seem to coddle, celebrate and encourage female child sex offenders. For instance, a male author wrote The Reader which is a ‘romance’ about woman-boy rape. Kate Winslet was feted here as an Oscar winning actress for portraying said rape, which she proudly defended as ‘true love between equal partners’.

            These gross double standards deserve to be addressed since both boy and girls suffer terribly when women betray trust in maternalist care-taking roles. They also deserve to be addressed because innocent men are routinely scapegoated as pedophiles for simply sitting down beside children on an plane but women are always allowed to sit beside said children because female pedophilia is (wrongly) considered to be impossible. It’s way past time for female personal and political (feminist) predators to have their day in the spot light so that we can better secure boys and girls from child/child sex abuse…and so that the facts about routine female child-abuse cruelty can be used to destroy the bigoted anti-male hate movement known as gender-feminism.

            That said, if I’ve missed where you addressed this topic in a serious way among 1700 tweets, my apologies. The woman her put her hand on a boy’s thigh, the mother who molested her daughter or son, or the aunt, teacher or Mother Superior who did so deserve to be flagged as well. Also be nice to see someone like you address how difficult it is for boys and girls to get help, support, or justice when the predator is female vs when the predator is male.

          • Bruce Sallan

            @0003e358a89867db100bf246375feacf:disqus – I think parity is coming across all the areas that you are passionate about, though maybe not as fast as you’d like (and we’d like), but that is the way it is with everything – change is hard!

          • Guest

            Yes. There are many reasons for hope because most people seem to be willing to be relatively open-minded when they hear the whole story. That said, true parity will come far sooner if those who report the mainstream news media tell the truth about sex and gender, if they are willing to report on anti-feminist, free speech, and men’s human rights perspectives, and if they are willing to challenge the outright lies, the half-truths and the bigotry which pollutes in the very PC air we breath. Sadly, so far they have mostly acted as ignorant and/or intentional enablers for the prevailing ‘progressive’ PC tyranny. They will have to change and change soon if we are to turn this deep seated social disaster around before the ship runs onto the rocks. We cannot make informed decisions when only the bigoted ideologues are permitted to tell the story in mainstream channels.

          • Bruce Sallan

            The MSM reports on all issues its OPINION, not THE facts. Facts get in the way of the liberal viewpoint. It’s much easier to call people names if they disagree with you than to argue an issue like abortion or capital punishment on its merits…

          • Guest

            Last week the News Press reported the WHO ‘facts’ on domestic violence (which ignored women as perpetrators and men as survivors) without mention of the bigoted feminist gender bias which permeates domestic violence research. To report one sided ‘facts’ which show that men don’t suffer ANY domestic violence from women worldwide, just after the Jodi Arias saga is just the kind of thing most newspapers have done for three or for decades. The result is this kind of tyranny: and no shelters for men that protect them from female personal and political predators. The other man is us all. But getting that reality taken seriously by most men and particularly those men who report the news is difficult or impossible. We are our own worst enemies.

  • Guest

    To all the decent women here…women who hope to have men care about male-female child sexual abuse…please do your part to shut down the feminist bigots who silence research into, the definition of, and the reporting of female child sex offenses: so that men can see you as credible claimants who care about (child) justice for children PERIOD.

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  • rkl

    Hi Bruce,

    Here’s a non-comprehensive reading list for Middle East-based feminism:

    And one for Africa:

    That took like five seconds on Google.

    Here’s a thing you can do to help combat sexual abuse of children and adults: when someone you know tells you they’ve been abused, you listen to them. Don’t, as you’ve done repeatedly in previous blogs, laugh off their concerns as ‘political correctness gone mad’ or ‘oh, you’re just oversensitive, feminism ruins everything’ or ‘in many circles [the word rape] is applied when a woman regrets having sex after the fact’.

    Because when you say things like that, you are doing two things: you are telling women and girls – and, yes, boys – that they’re making a fuss over nothing and that what happened to them a) doesn’t matter and b) is only a problem in their heads; and you’re reinforcing the fascinating prejudices of full-on MRAs like “guest” down there, who are more or less convinced that a) feminists hate men, b) feminists rape men all the time for fun, c) and then they go and pretend they were raped and everyone believes them and they get free money. None of these things are true, but “guest” believes them with all his heart, and in trivialising the concerns and traumas of women – and it is women in particular you trivialise – you’re just reinforcing his hatred.

    I know you don’t much dig feminism or women’s/gender studies, but the rise of feminism in the last 50 years has had a huge, documented effect on rape and abuse survivors. It’s given them the agency to report and address what’s happened to them; it’s exponentially increased the chances that their abuser will be punished; it’s ensured police and therapists are able to deal with traumatised survivors with respect and compassion.

    • Bruce Sallan

      @135de8eabb9c72543c921b7384a3f43b:disqus – we can respectfully agree to disagree. I continue to believe there are gradations of all “evil” including this subject. It has been abused repeatedly with a graphic and horrible example being the Lacrosse Rape accusation that took place a couple of years ago and in the short-term ruined the lives of innocent young men. With all such things, balance is key.