There are people in this world who have done horrible things to children. Our legal systems and governments have failed the children. What is eighteen months in prison, two years in prison, five years, or ten years. How does any length of time of incarceration make up for a child’s life that has been ruined. The innocence has been stripped. Children have a mind that is not seasoned enough to understand the cruelty of these people. Nor should they have to understand them. The children’s lives are affected forever. Sure the physical evidence may leave, but the psychological impact never goes away. The statistics for sexual offenders of children in the United States are staggering.
Sex Offender and Child Molester Statistics
According to the U. S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics, on any given day there are approximately 234,000 sex offenders who were convicted of rape or sexual assault and are in the custody or control of correction agencies. Consider the following statistics:
– The median age of the victims of convicted sex offenders was less than 13 years old.
– In one year alone, approximately 4,300 child molesters in 15 states were released from imprisonment.
– The average child molester will molest 50 girls before being caught and convicted.
– A child molester that seeks out boys will molest 150 boys before being caught and convicted and he will commit at least 280 sexual crimes in his lifetime.
– The standard pedophile will commit 117 sexual crimes in their lifetime.
– There are over 491,720 registered sex offenders in the United States.
– 80,000 to 100,000 of the registered offenders are missing.
– Molesters known by the family or victim are the most common abusers and accounts for 70-90% of reported cases.
– 2/3 of all prisoners convicted of rape or sexual assault had committed their crime against a child.
– On average the 9,691 sex offenders served 3 1/2 years of their 8-year sentence.
– Compared to non-sex offenders released from State prisons, released sex offenders were 4 times more likely to be rearrested for a sex crime.
– The 9,691 released sex offenders included 4,295 men who were in prison for child molesting.
The Innocent Victims
The statistics say that one out of every three to four girls has been sexually assaulted by the age of 18. One boy out of every six will be abused by the age of 18. One of the sad things about these statistics is they are not accurate because many cases of child molestation are not reported. The FBI reports that the National Institute for Mental Health found that only 1% to 10% of victims tell that they were abused, and boys report less than girls.
– Most sexual abuse happens between the ages of 7 and 13.
– A report of child abuse is made every ten seconds.
– Almost five children die everyday as a result of child abuse. More than three out of four are under the age of 4.
– It is estimated that between 60-85% of child fatalities due to maltreatment are not recorded as such on death certificates.
– According to the National Victim Center, 29 percent of rape victims are younger than 11, and 32 percent are between 11 and 18 years of age (National Victim Center, 1992).
– 90% of child sexual abuse victims know the perpetrator in some way; 68% are abused by family members.
– Child abuse occurs at every socioeconomic level, across ethnic and cultural lines, within all religions and at all levels of education.
– According to the Washington State Attorney General’s Office, the average victim of abduction and murder is an 11-year-old girl who is described as a low-risk, “normal” child from a middle-class neighborhood who has a stable family relationship and whose initial contact with abductors occurs within a quarter of a mile of her home (Hanfland, Keppel, and Weis, 1997).
Children who have been molested have to deal with many psychological issues. Depression, anger, confusion, and distrust are a few of the things these children go through. The event is devastating to the child.
The child may also deal with anger. The anger may be toward the predator, but there can also be anger at their family or caregivers. The anger toward their caregivers arise because the caregivers were supposed to protect the child and failed to do so. The child becomes withdrawn within themselves. They find it hard to trust anyone. This may result in control issues. Many victims develop eating disorders because eating is something they have control over. In addition, there may be academic issues which result in dropping grades. In some cases there is no longer a desire to succeed.
Put yourself in the shoes of a child who has been sexually molested. How would the world look to you? Cruel. Dangerous. Fearful. Sad. Merciless. Lonely. How would other people look like to you? Dangerous. Untrustworthy. Which person is the next person that may do this to you again? Another stranger. A teacher. A family member. A clergy man. Who can you trust?
How can a victim become a productive individual in society, continue with life, possibly marry, and possibly have children? What would you perspective be toward sex? If you have a child what will your concerns be? This one loathsome event, would completely overshadow the victim’s life. How could there ever be a “normal” life? Their perspective of life and of other people is warped. The self-esteem is broken, almost beyond repair. A child who suffers from self-esteem issues needs to know they are loved and wanted. A child who has suffered from abuse doesn’t feel loved. Here are some statistics about the impact:
– 31% percent of women in prison in the United States were abused as children.
– Over 60% of people in drug rehabilitation centers report being abused or neglected as a child.
– About 30% of abused and neglected children will later abuse their own children, continuing the horrible cycle of abuse.
– About 80% of 21 year olds that were abused as children met criteria for at least one psychological disorder.
– The estimated annual cost of child abuse and neglect in the United States for 2007 is $104 billion.
– Abused children are 25% more likely to experience teen pregnancy.
– Children who have been sexually abused are 2.5 times more likely to abuse alcohol
– Children who have been sexually abused are 3.8 times more likely to develop drug addictions
– Nearly two-thirds of the people in treatment for drug abuse reported being abused as children
How do you know if this has happened to your child?
Not every child reports that they have been a victim of molestation. According to Kayla McClure, who was a victim of child abuse, the main aspect to look for is whether child’s behavior has dramatically changed.
Parents your child needs to know they can come to you for anything. Children need to feel that they are loved and wanted. Predators strips away the feeling of worth and love. You as a parent need to encourage your child every day, compliment them, and show them you love and care for them. Children can heal from these heinous wounds. It won’t happen overnight but in time it can happen.
According to the Bureau of Jury Statistics, the average sentence for a rapist is 11 years, with the perpetrator being released after serving five and a half years. The average sentence for sex offenders is eight years of prison, with the perpetrator being released after about three and a half years. (Child molesters are included in these statistics.) In addition, those who molest family members get lighter sentences than outsiders. Also, female teacher sex offenders in most cases face significantly lighter sex crime penalties than their male counterparts
A study conducted in New York concluded that the average person convicted of child molestation serves four months in jail and five years on probation. The average sentence for child molestation in Georgia is six years. In Rhode Island, one study conducted by Ross Cheit, a professor of public policy, concluded that between 1985 and 1993, 70 percent of individuals found guilty of child molestation served no prison time at all. These studies demonstrate that the penalties for child molestation vary greatly from state to state.
In 2008, the United States Supreme Court held in Kennedy v. Louisiana that imposing the death penalty for the rape of a child amounted to cruel and unusual punishment and was thus unconstitutional. One of the effects of the decision was to preempt the laws of six states which had made child molestation a capital offense. The controversial decision was met with criticism from individuals who disagreed with the court’s opinion that there is no national consensus favoring the death penalty for the rape of a child. These individuals cite the six states that had enacted such legislation as well as the Uniform Military Code in making their argument. President Barak Obama also spoke out against the decision, arguing that the Court went too far in restricting the powers of the States.
Now I am not condoning execution of these individuals. But I think their lives need to be affected for the rest of their lives, just as the offense affected the child. There definitely needs to be no more early releases from prison or probation. They need to be permanently affected. Life in prison? For males, castration? I don’t know what the answer is , but I do know that currently our legal system is not handling these offenses correctly.
This situation for children is very serious. What if it was your child, or your grandchild? What if it was the girl who stops by to sell cookies? What if it was the little boy who just entered a public bathroom. These children are citizens of this country and need to be protected. These children are our future. What kind of future can that be? They can not stand up for themselves. You need to be their voice. They can’t contact their congressman. They can not vote. You are their only hope. Please protect them.
The statistics quoted here mainly cover the United States, but this problem is worldwide. Conditions for children in some other countries is drastically worse
So long as little children are allowed to suffer, there is no true love in this world. — Isadora Duncan
Federal & State Reporting Systems
Children’s Bureau, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Overview of the Federal and State reporting systems that provide data to monitor and improve child welfare outcomes: Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS), National Child Abuse and Neglect Data Systems (NCANDS), and Statewide Automated Child Welfare Information System (SACWIS).
National Data Analysis System (NDAS)
Child Welfare League of America
Searchable online database that provides access to State data on child abuse and neglect, child abuse and neglect fatalities, adoption, childcare services, children’s health, juvenile justice, out-of-home care, and population.
National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect
Facilitates secondary analysis of research data relevant to the study of child abuse and neglect by making data available to researchers.
Using AFCARS, NCANDS, and Census Data to Obtain Demographic Data for Your State/City/County (PDF – 118 KB)
National Data Analysis System (2005)
Long – Term Consequences of Child Abuse and Neglect. Child Welfare Information Gateway.Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2006. Retrieved August 22, 2007 from http://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/factsheets/long_term_consequences.cfm
Centers of Disease Control and Prevention and The Federal Administration for Children and Families. The CDC Publication: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr