1 out of every 6 American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime.
Fifteen percent of sexual assault and rape victims are under age 12.
Seven percent of girls in grades 5-8 and 12% of girls in grades 9-12 said they had been sexually abused.
Three percent of boys grades 5-8 and 5% of boys in grades 9-12 said they had been sexually abused.
In 1995, local child protection service agencies identified 126,000 children who were victims of either substantiated or indicated sexual abuse.
Of these, 75% were girls.
Nearly 30% of child victims were between the age of 4 and 7.
93% of juvenile sexual assault victims know their attacker.
34.2% of attackers were family members.
58.7% were acquaintances. Only 7% of the perpetrators were strangers to the victims.
Victims of sexual assault are:
3 times more likely to suffer from depression.
6 time more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.
13 times more likely to abuse alcohol.
26 times more likely to abuse drugs.
4 times more likely to contemplate suicide.
And if these statistics aren’t reason enough for you to become aware of (at the least) or become involved in the fight against sexual assault and abuse, maybe knowing that I was a child victim would help.
The issue is as old as humanity. My first novel, How Sweet the Sound, is a modern day retelling of the story of Tamar in the book of 2 Samuel in the Bible, a woman raped by her brother and left to live in desolation. In my book, however, the Tamar figure (named Comfort) learns to find hope and healing.
Share this story with someone you know today who needs hope, or even if you need to find hope, yourself.
In February, 2012, my Grandpa Joe, a month shy of 95, suffered a fall which ultimately led to his death approximately ten days later. During his hospitalization, his short-term memory was poor, but his long-term memory was strong. Sitting with him and simply listening to his stories without trying to correct him or argue when he got little facts and names wrong over the course of those 10 days proved to be a precious healing and grace-covered time.
As a nurse, I frequently care for elderly patients who are fading. The challenges surrounding end-of-life care and elderly loved ones is daunting for everyone involved, and I detail much of that struggle in my recent article at More to Life Magazine: Final Chapters. Many of these patients have dementia or Alzheimer’s, which compounds the exhaustion and distress of caregivers and friends. According to the Alzheimer’s Association more than 10 million Americans face the task of caring for a family member with dementia. This means that chances are, this sort of situation touches you or someone you love.
But the elderly among us are more than their diagnoses.
“We can re-write these stories for ourselves and our loved ones. First, we need to raise awareness of the magnitude of the plight of our aging brothers and sisters and the loved ones close to emotional and physical collapse trying to care for them. Then, we need to listen to their stories, for it is through story—yours, mine, and theirs—that we live.”
While we often cannot change the progression of age and age-related crises, one of the most significant realizations besides capturing the stories within our loved ones is that we don’t have to go through these times alone. In fact, many organizations exist to help learn ways to cope, such as the Alzheimer’s Association and A Place for Mom.
Community matters in end-of-life and elderly care.