HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - As the allegations against Roy Moore pile up, we wanted to know just how difficult it is for children to come forward and report sexual abuse.
People need to remember these allegations were in the 70's when sex and sexual abuse was a hush-hush topic. The center said now kids are quicker to report since there's much more social awareness of the crime.
"It was a very different time back then, which whenever you oppress something it makes it harder for those that are being impacted to talk about their experience," said Executive Director of the National Children's Advocacy Center Chris Newlin.
He said one out of 10 children will be a victim of sex abuse before the age of 18. "Most people in the United States will be very shocked to know that sexual abuse has decreased nearly 50 percent in the last 20 years because we hear about it, it is on the news, it's in social media, it's in the movies, it's being talked about so that dialogue that social dialogue is good," Newlin said.
Newlin added to keep kids feeling comfortable enough to report abuse adults must continue to talk about the issue.
"There is shame and fear about how people will react, sometimes it is someone who they know, trust, or look up to so they are worried about what will happen to that person. Sometimes people will artificially blame themselves that they're just as guilty as the person who did this to them."
Also, most kids will tell their friends first so parents should also encourage their kids to be a supportive friend and help them find a trusted adult.
"This is an issue that needs to be out in the open, it thrives in secrecy and darkness and it's overcome in the light of day," he said. Newlin adds 90 percent of the cases the child knows their attacker. "Kids who we see, they don't want to see someone go to jail. You know what they want, they just want it to stop."
The center which opened in 1985 is actually the first one in the world. It opened many years after the allegations against Roy Moore. The advocacy center helps 600 children a year and right now have a hundred children in therapy.
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