As a professional working to educate communities on prevention and response to child abuse and sexual abuse it was heartening to see a recent report on progress made in a country burrowed an ocean of miles below us. China has revealed the solution. They have no child abuse.
A country of 1.3 Billion people report only 113 cases of sexual abuse in 2013.
Albert Einstein’s calculator could not compute this anomaly. There are no rounding errors to a lie.
For years the United States has reported that as many as one in four girls and one in seven boys will be inappropriately touched before the age of eighteen. This equates to millions of children sexually abused every year by tens of thousands of predators nationwide.
Children in virtually every nation in the world are sexually abused. Those countries that are most open to reporting abuse are also the most likely to prepare its children how to best respond to unwanted touch both from strangers and from persons known to them. The latter even more important to teach as it represents 90% of child molesters.
In our book Breaking The Silence: Sexual Abuse in the Jewish Community, Dr David Pelcovitz and I, in addition to a focus on the Jewish community, describe societies and cultures that are most reluctant to report child abuse and sexual abuse.
These are in the main strongly bound by religion and stigma. American Indians, the Amish, Catholics, Muslims and Orthodox Jews share much in common in this regard. Brazil, Japan, Arab and African countries historically report a low incidence of abuse but China takes the statistical cake.
The United Nations and World Health Organization (WHO) have commissions to monitor worldwide reporting of child sexual abuse and to classify sexual disorders.
Dr Richard Krueger of Columbia University
a WHO Commission member and noted expert in the behavioral treatment of paraphilia’s and sexual disorders has written extensively on this issue.
Denial in many cultures to the occurrence of abuse and notably in the Orthodox Jewish culture has changed considerably. That more schools incorporate training on prevention coupled with greater parental vigilance has resulted in a dramatic increase in the reporting and prosecution of child molesters. A clarion call by an increasing number of leaders and media in the Orthodox Haredi community has lent further support for all incidents of child sexual abuse to be reported to the police.
“..anyone who has any firsthand information about child sexual abuse…in any community, is obligated to share that information…with the local police department” (Ami magazine April 30, 2014 pg 8).
China is on course in the next decade to overtake the United States as the world’s leading economic power. Evan Osnos of The New Yorker compliments China as the world’s newest superpower and decries it as its largest authoritarian state.
Few, if any people, outside China hold sway over the Chinese in their systemic denial of the scourge of sexual abuse. Authoritarian states mine the adage coined by the British historian Lord Acton in 1887 that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Denial in authoritarian states is absolute and censorship precludes data collection by non-governmental organizations.
The real value in the story of China’s illusion is an appreciation that denial of abuse is an invitation for it to continue in your neighborhood, in your school, possibly even to your child. By speaking out we at once educate our children, work to reduce its occurrence and ameliorate stigma.
Stigma is the glue that binds our mouth shut from reporting crimes that are shameful selfies. Knowing that we can be friended by family, neighbors, prosecutors and a community strengthens us to reclaim power that no child predator should possess.