Scrolling through your Facebook and Twitter account, you see sexual harassment and abuse claims against famous celebrities such as Harvey Weinstein, Russell Simmons, and Senator Al Franken. The list goes on and on. It’s easy to get caught up in celebrity news, but are you aware of sexual abuse happening in your own neighborhood?
Sexual abuse occurring in your own neighborhoods.
In 2017, Wilshire Law Firm filed a lawsuit against Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) on behalf of two female minors who were sexually abused at Harry Bridges Span School. Both victims described incidents where a male nurse took them into a small room and touched them inappropriately. The plaintiff claimed that members of the LAUSD knew about the abuse and didn’t take appropriate measures against the nurse, protecting the abuser.
In California, there were 42,364 cases of child sexual abuse in 2015. Los Angeles County, where Harry Bridges Span School resides, accounted for 187 of these cases. These numbers only include reported cases. Around 46% to 69% of children will not report abuse.
Why don’t children report sexual abuse?
Children victimized by sexual abuse often don’t report because the abuser will convince them otherwise. Here are some reasons why a child may not speak up about abuse:
- The abuser convinces them that they won’t be believed or it’s their fault
- The abuser may bribe the child to stay quite with gifts
- The abuser may threaten the child
- Children may stay silent to protect the non-abusive parent
- Abusers are oftentimes a person the child knows, so children keep quite or lie to protect them
Children view adults, especially parents, as authority figures. This allows abusers to manipulate a child into silence.
How can you protect children from their abusers?
It’s up to you and other adults to recognize signs of abuse. The Rape, Abuse & Incest Nation Network (RAINN) organizes signs into three categories, which are:
- Avoiding physical contact
- Regressive behaviors (thumb sucking)
- Changing hygiene routines
- Age-inappropriate sexual behaviors
- Sleep disturbances
- Bruising/swelling near genital area
- Blood clothes or bedding
- Broken bones
- Using phrases “too adult” for their age
- Less talkative or unexplained silences
If you notice a child exhibiting these signs, speak to them about it and report sexual abuse to the police, right away.
Attorney Saadian states, “We are seeking justice on behalf of the victims and their families. LAUSD must accept responsibility for what happened to these victims. This could have happened to any of our children and it must be stopped, now.” Sexual abusers as well as institutions allowing abuse need to be held accountable, and that’s exactly what Wilshire Law Firm stands for.