From”Hidden Victims, Hidden Pain: Societal Avoidance of Child Sexual Abuse,” in Lasting Effects of Child Sexual Abuse,” p. 57, Gail Wyatt and Gloria Powell eds.
There is a sad, self-preserving irony about a world that cannot see its own cruelty filled with victims who can’t give voice to their pain. After 125 years of discarded enlightenment, we still act as if victims are freaks and as if it is a virtue to be ignorant of sexual victimization. We pretend nobody is involved, even though the veterans may outnumber the recruits. Projections of any of the prevalence surveys to include elective and dissociative denials would insist that childhood sexual abuse is a normative experience, yet we ignore the implications of a society populated with the walking wounded.
Any gathering of our associates and friends contains people who were molested as children. Every extended family, every neighborhood, every church congregation, every medical society, every class in law school, and most every football team, legislative caucus and jury, conceals people who are hiding unspeakable memories of “unusual” childhood sexual experiences. Those experiences may have been agonizing or ecstatic or a confusing mixture of both, but the fact that they can’t be shared says something about our collective fear of finding out.