Child Sex Abuse Should Never be Minimized

February 24, 2006

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As an advocate for victims of sexual abuse, I feel a duty to comment on Geoff Matthews’ column, Molestation memories tainted with guilt (Feb. 17).

First, it must be made clear that childhood sexual abuse is a devastating experience. Experts from the medical, psychological and sociological fields all agree that abuse during those formative years causes permanent harm.

Second, the comparison of the abuse to just another part of growing up in the line “It’s just something that I went through, just as I went through falling down a lot when I was learning to ride a bike” is unhelpful. Any effort to minimize abuse can only lead to inaction. Every act of childhood sexual abuse should be met with intense condemnation.

Finally, victims are not out to “get even”. Most victims’ motivation is the protection of future generations of children. That goal is assisted by the public spotlight, through discourse such as this. Exposure of the problem makes all of us more vigilant; it makes institutions more accountable and sometimes even brings a perpetrator to justice.

And for that reason I thank Matthews for raising the topic in such a personal way.

Robert P.M. Talach

London

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