Why don’t people report abuse?
Three basic reasons
- SOCIAL PROOF – Victims decide about reporting or revealing abuse when they feel safe about the reporting. They do this after they watch to see how others are treated when they report. They then ask themselves. Will I be treated like that when I disclose my abuse?
- PERPETRATORS – This defines someone who initiates, continues, fulfills or enacts a crime and continues the code of silence. A perpetrator usually has a set of intimidating statements used to prevent their victims from reporting the abuse.
- – “I love you, I would never hurt you.”
- – ” I never meant to hurt you.”
- – “I’m sure that you remember it wrong.”
– HORIZONTAL VIOLENCE – People turn on others in their own lives because to address the abusive authority figure is too painful or too involved and ‘politically-expensive. ‘By ‘politically-expensive’ I mean that any change in the current structure will topple who that person has access to and reporting will change their world.
Possibly, victims or people who observe abuse don’t report because they’ve convinced themselves that they have a ‘different’ memory of the actual event; even though their inner self screams out to them that abuse-is-abuse. Finally, and regrettably, a parent or authority figure may tell a child “You’re always talking about things that never happen.”
Statistics reflect sobering numbers.
As of 2014, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) defines sexual assault as sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient. Falling under this definition are sexual activities such as forced sexual intercourse, forcible sodomy, child molestation, incest, fondling, and attempted rape.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as of 2016 estimates that 676,000 children were confirmed by Child Protective Services (CPS) as being victims of abuse and neglect. 1,750 children died from abuse and neglect across the country. Stress and chronic abuse during infancy can cause regions of the brain to form and function improperly. Children who experience abuse are at increased risk for engaging in high-risk behaviors. Child abuse and neglect decrease the ability of people to establish healthy relationships in adulthood.
Intimate Partner Violence (IVP) occurs when an intimate relationship has gotten out of control and, ultimately, life is at risk. (American Nurse, March 2017, Vol. 12, #3)
- IPV affects 1 in 3 women in the United States
- IPV affects 1 in 4 men in the United States
- These #’s are under-reported (Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
100 women have been killed by their partners this year in France. (NPR Podcast, September 3, 2019)
Questions to ask if you believe that someone is in an IPV relationship or any abusive situation:
- Is someone hurting you?
- Are you being insulted?
- Has someone been threatening you?
- Does someone scream at you?
- Are you being isolated from your family or social interactions?
- Are you afraid of the person you’re in a relationship with?
Most police departments have an abuse definition based on their states’ revised statues. As well, each police department compiles abuse statistics. The one for my particular state compiles the following data.
- 1 in 4 girls are sexually abused before the age of 18
- 75% of sexual assault victims are under the age of 18
- 1 in 2 of all women have been a victim of sexual assault
- 1 in 4 have been victims of RAPE
Filing a needed abuse report is one of the most important things you will ever do.