Maybe nothing could be more shocking and heartbreaking than finding out that someone has been sexually abusing your child. You have done your best to keep your son or daughter safe from predators, but your child was victimized anyway. The trauma they have experienced could affect them for the rest of their life.
Who commits sexual abuse?
You may have an image of sexual abusers of children as being strangers stalking kids in public spaces, like the playground. In fact, around 90 percent of the time, the victim knows their abuser. Abusers can have close relationships with their victims, such as:
- Sports coaches
- Daycare providers
- Ministers and clergy
They are often adults the child knows and trusts. Often, their parents have introduced their child to the adult and told them that the grownup is someone they can trust, without realizing the truth. Predators take advantage of this faith.
This is not to blame parents, who, of course, would never knowingly put their children in harm’s way. We are simply pointing out that in many cases, child sexual abusers are people in positions of leadership who have strong public reputations. It is possible that nobody knew what was going on until the predator was caught.
What to do to hold abusers and their enablers accountable
In many cases, despite the best efforts of the police and prosecution, there may not be enough evidence to pursue criminal charges against your child’s abuser. However, you still have the right to seek justice in civil court. In civil law, the standard of proof is lower, so it may be easier to reach a guilty verdict. Often, you can pursue damages against the abuser’s employer, such as a school or church, that failed to take reasonable steps to prevent the abuse. Many families feel a sense of justice and healing by pursuing this legal option.