Child Sex Abuse: The Hidden Holocaust


There is a hidden holocaust of child sexual abuse being perpetrated, according to ChildServ, a Chicago-based not-for-profit social service agency dedicated to assisting children and families. On Feb. 23, I interviewed Stanley Hamilton, supervisor of ChildServ’s Project 90 Program that aids children with sexual abuse issues.

RJ: You said that this is a holocaust in the United States. What do you mean by that? SH: It just means that people don’t want to talk about it. It’s a hidden secret. It’s being swept under the rug. It’s such an emotionally difficult subject. But as ugly and painful as this issue is, society has to face the truth and work together to help these children so that healing can happen and the cycle of abuse doesn’t repeat itself. That’s where Child Serv comes in.

RJ: What ethnic groups of children are sexually abused the most? SH: All ethnic groups except Asians. I’m not saying that it doesn’t exist with Asian children. But so far, we don’t have any Asian children.

RJ: How are children affected by the sexual abuse? And how can it be detected? SH: Some abused children act out in wild and abusive behavior. Some of these youths need intense supervision to prevent them from repeating sexually inappropriate behaviors. We work very had on ensuring that they receive the therapy they need on these issues.

RJ: Where are you finding the youths? SH: They come from DCFS (the state Department of Children and Family Services), from abused or neglected parents.

RJ: Are the youth from predominantly low-income backgrounds? SH: No. The children come from mid- to low-income backgrounds.

RJ: Do you think that some of the children’s parents may have been victims of abuse themselves? SH: Statistics suggest that 1 in 5 adult women and 1 in 10 adult men reported having been sexually abused in childhood. The numbers may be under-reported due to the shame, stigma and denial of being victimized.

RJ: Do you think that parents need to talk more to their children about prevention? SH: We have therapy sessions on how to keep yourself safe from abuse with ‘Dos’ and ‘Don’ts’ on what’s a good touch and a bad touch on your body.

RJ: Do you believe the children can live a productive life when they leave treatment? And what is being done for this change? SH: We aim to position them to rise above the victimization and acknowledge the wrongness of sexual abuse. What we look for is small, progressive steps forward. We can help these children break the vicious cycle of abuse and be responsible, productive contributors to society as they mature into adulthood.

RJ: How long is therapy needed? SH: That’s the therapist’s decision. One child might need long term. Another may need short-term.

RJ: How long have you been employed at ChildServ? SH: For 2 years.

RJ: With whom were you employed before ChildServ? SH: I worked with foster care as a supervisor for 18 years. Working with troubled children is incredibly rewarding.

ChildServ’s Project 90 Program supports weekly therapy provided by a qualified therapist, monthly support groups, recreational activities and independent living conditions. Medication monitoring, experienced casework support, quarterly foster parent training and support groups as well as quarterly clinical reviews are all part of the program.

ChildServ also has helps to heal children in the aftermath of children sexual abuse. Hamilton shared with me the nightmare that some children had been though. It was unbelievable. While he was talking, I wondered how any child can survive this tragedy. But once he told me about the ChildServ program, I understood how a child could begin to heal. I didn’t know that such a program existed.

Can you imagine how many families have issues with abuse and don’t know where to turn for help?

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