An overview examines the problem of childhood sexual abuse in America.
In her latest book, Inman (co-author: Handbook of Tests and Measurement in Education and the Social Sciences, 2014, etc.) uses the birth and widespread promulgation of the #MeToo movement as a springboard to talk about the “silent majority” of sexual abuse victims in the United States: children. She reminds her readers that kids face even more obstacles to justice and mental health in the wake of abuse than do adults. And most of them wait until adulthood to report their experiences. Ninety percent of the victims of childhood sexual abuse, the author writes, are molested by parents or trusted adults. She writes that all of the survivors have the right to be heard and believed and to have the abusers held accountable. She outlines both the persistent taboo against discussing childhood sexual abuse and the many steps that can be taken to make sure that kids, parents, and lawmakers have the information they need to overcome that restriction and ramp up efforts to address the problem. Inman describes the typical conditions of childhood sexual abuse and some reliable telltale signs that it’s taking place (a change in the kid’s personality; a loss of appetite, etc.). She movingly sketches some of the trickier sides of the issue (far less than 50 percent of abused children actually report that fact to anyone; kids often feel that the molestation is somehow their fault). The author’s zeal on the subject is evident on every page (in good and bad ways; as with the #MeToo movement, the right to be believed sometimes stomps all over the presumption of innocence). Her empathy will come across most strongly to those of her readers who’ve dealt with sexual abuse of any kind. She provides phone numbers and other useful resources for survivors and their families as well as case studies that shed light on all aspects of the experience from many points of view. She is consistently judicious and insightful on one of the most delicate of all subjects.
A knowing and comprehensive guide to dealing with childhood abuse.