Sexual abuse and sexual violence is a deeply damaging reality. Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence Awareness Week is a national event aimed at building awareness and campaigning against sexual violence and abuse.
Each year members of the public, support groups, organisations and statutory bodies help to spread the message that #ItsNotOkay to abuse and harm others. The aim is to create awareness and generate discussion about sexual violence and abuse, to empower victims to speak out.
As we come out of the awful Covid-19 pandemic which has so consumed and gripped us, let’s refocus on the horrific reality of childhood sexual abuse, probably so much exacerbated during the protracted lockdowns and school closures, when children’s and vulnerable people’s voices have been lost.
We must continue to fight stigmatization of sexual abuse, reluctance to speak out, or even worse, to become complicit. We must continue to shine a light on sexual abuse and sexual violence, raise awareness of it and ensure that victims are empowered to seek help and support. As a society we should continue to develop systems and resources that encourage people to come forward and get the help they need. Victims should not suffer in silence but should feel encouraged to report abuse to the police.
During this Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence Awareness Week 2022, let’s do our best to put it back into the public domain, so that no victim, however young or vulnerable, feels unable to speak out and seek support.