Trigger warning. This is a serious post about a very uncomfortable topic.
Leo just turned five months old and I’ve been having a lot of uncomfortable feelings lately. Those two things are unrelated…kinda. Let me start again, I recently watched some terrible video that traumatized me and my anxiety is at peak levels right now and I’m wondering if it’s possible to re-womb Leo and then re-womb myself like some kind of vagina Russian nesting doll to get as far away from the world as possible. I feel that as a parent I should share what I watched because it might help all of you protect your children but at the same time I also don’t want to ruin your goddamn day. And I promise it will ruin your day. But it might also keep your children safe. So I guess here it is but I am cautioning you right here and now: It’s a speech by Blake Lively detailing child sexual abuse. It’s horrible. It’s horrifying. But it might save lives and there are things I did not know (like that pediatricians and nurses are regularly sentenced on charges of abuse). And now I can’t look at any human being the same way.
United States Epidemic
If you’re unable to bring yourself to watch the video because it’s triggering, I understand. Let me just summarize it for you:
- Child pornography is a very real epidemic. Millions of videos and images are in circulation of not just young children but infants. Think of the most horrific and disgusting thing you can imagine and that’s what Lively details in her speech.
- Pedophiles seem like totally normal people and often get jobs where they work with children. This includes nurses, pediatricians, nannies, school bus drivers, and teachers.
Some additional sexual abuse statistics:
- 25 million images are reviewed by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children Annually. 25 MILLION.
- The United States is the largest producer and consumer of child abuse.
- 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused before they turn 18.
- 96% of people who sexually abuse children are male.
- 93% of the time, a child’s family is either the abuser or knows the abuser. Let that sink in. It’s almost always a family friend, neighbor, pastor, priest, etc., or someone in the family. Someone you trust with your child.
- 100% of the time I wish someone would maim anyone who hurts a child or animal. Because fuck you, you disgusting piece of shit.
Look, I don’t like sharing this any more than you like reading it. It’s heartbreaking. I feel like I’m going to throw up. But maybe, just maybe, it might help someone, too. It also has me thinking a lot about sharing pictures of my family online. I haven’t shared much, and I might just stop altogether. How do you all feel about this?
Have you ever been triggered hard by something online and just had to share it in hopes that it might protect someone or make the world a little less horrible?
I’m traumatized often. My husband stares at me as though I’ve just told him that trolls live on my left nipple whenever I rant about my many anxieties from the news. “Just don’t look at stuff online,” he’ll say, with a shrug. And I’m like “oh fuck you, buddy, it’s not that easy! If I don’t know about all the terrible things how can I avoid them” Or maybe it is that easy? Maybe I can read enough to keep my family safe and spread the news but not so much that I start throwing rocks and screaming “stranger danger” at anyone who comes within a 5-foot radius of me and my family like my mom, a survivor of sexual abuse, taught me to do.
For my own sanity, maybe I have to get better at limiting the number of awful things I digest via the internet and try to include more things that make me feel less terrified of the human race. Like, look at this dog, Marnie, or this woman who FREE DIVES WITH GREAT WHITE SHARKS.
Let’s make tomorrow better. Let’s make the world better because the way that it is now is a goddamn horror show. I hope that all of you out there are okay and safe. This is a safe space if you choose to discuss the post in the comments below.