Last week a group of child health advocates signed an open letter urging President Biden to recognize April 8 as World Day for Child Sexual Abuse Prevention, Healing and Justice. The group is also calling on Biden to create a Presidential Commission to End Sexual Violence Against Children, comprised of “experts including researchers, practitioners, policymakers, and, importantly, adult survivors.” The group is urging Biden to establish the new commission within the first 200 days of his administration.
The cosigners, me being one of them, are asking Biden to shine a national spotlight on a topic that has long been considered too taboo for an open discussion — child sexual abuse. We are appealing to him to set an example and start a national dialogue to change the way we talk about this public health issue. It’s not an easy subject, but Biden is the right person who can lead us outside our comfort zone and begin an important conversation to dismantle the stigma that too often suppresses the issue of child sexual abuse from public view.
No one wants to talk about it — no one wants to admit that child sexual abuse occurs in every community, in every state, all across the country. Until we break the silence and shame and get serious about prevention, children will continue to be harmed and the mental and physical consequences of sexual abuse will persist long into adulthood.