Letters to the Editor

The cycle of abuse must be stopped

Thank you for your clear and insightful article, “History of childhood trauma high on Vashon,” Nov. 20. Although sexual abuse in childhood was not specifically identified, it seems important to point out that in the ACEs study mentioned in the article, 25 percent of women and 16 percent of men in the study reported at least one experience with contact sexual abuse in childhood. Proportionately, these figures are staggering and consistent with other measures of the incidence of child sexual abuse in the general public.

As the director of Shepherd’s Counseling Services in Seattle, for the past 26 years, we have seen the life-altering consequences to adults who have been sexually abused in childhood. We have also seen the devastating effects of the stigma and silence that surround this particular form of trauma in childhood. As the difficult reality and the astounding prevalence of sexual abuse are acknowledged, more attention will be focused on prevention and intervention. As the article points out, the cycle of trauma must be curtailed in order to create safe and healthy communities. Certainly in regard to the trauma of child sexual abuse, the cycle will begin to end as we acknowledge the epidemic prevalence of this issue that exists in every community.

— Janice M. Palm, executive director,
Shepherd’s Counseling Services

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