Facebook Experiment: Do People Care as Much about Child Sexual Abuse as They Do About Sex, War, and Gay Rights?

April is Child Sexual Abuse Awareness Month, so I just posted a disturbing photo and information about child sexual abuse to my personal Facebook Page. (I have yet to find the courage to post this Blog to my Facebook page).

After posting the information and photo, I realized that I unintentionally gave my friends, neighbors, and acquaintances the opportunity to show me a side of themselves that I won’t like….the side that won’t share my Facebook post.

I am pretty sure the majority of my Facebook “friends” won’t share the post (who knows, maybe they will shock me?), and I don’t want to judge them, but I will have to ask myself why people I know personally don’t care enough about children to help protect victims by spreading these facts about abuse.

Here is what I posted:

How I felt as a child

How I felt as a child

“Does this photo shock you? Well this is the reality for many children who are being molested, raped, and consistently abused. I know first hand what death threats and child rape does to a child, and April is Child Abuse Awareness Month. So be aware, because one in ten men has sexually abused a child. Mothers often know their child is being sexually assaulted, by their husband or boyfriend, and they willfully ignore the abuse in order to keep the paychecks coming in, or to keep their man. Fathers sexually abuse their daughters more often than you think, and sometimes they rape their sons. Mothers sexually abuse their own daughters more often than people want to know. Teenage sisters and brothers sometimes sexually abuse younger children…this is ABUSE, not curiosity or exploration. Female babysitters sometimes sexually abuse children. Adults and teens of both sexes rape and molest infants and toddlers. Be vigilant because children often don’t tell because they enjoy the attention and affection, and do not want it to end. Be aware because 90% of children never tell anyone. Be vigilant, because perpetrators often date and marry single mothers just to get to their kids. You might say to yourself, “I don’t want to hear about this ugly topic.” Well this mentality is what allows child sexual abuse to continue. So instead of ignoring what can help children, please “like,” and Share this post in order to bring awareness to other people, because denial and ignoring ugly truths puts children in danger and gives fuel to perpetrators –men and women who are often the last person you might suspect”…

Whenever I post something on Facebook about child sexual abuse, no one hits “like” or shares it.

If I post a photo of my dog, or my husband and I together, or a scenic photo then I get all kinds of comments and people hitting the “like” button. If one of my friends posts a photo of a model in a thong bikini, or a photo of a U.S. military soldier, or a photo of gay marriage..the photo gets numerous comments, “likes,” and shares.

So I think this will be an interesting sociological experiment. I want to see if my friends, neighbors, and acquaintances on Facebook care as much about child sexual abuse awareness as they do about sex, war, and gay rights.

If not, does this mean I need to get new friends? Or is this indicative of most everyone who posts on Facebook?

__________________________________________________

Image by Ignacio Nunez

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43 Responses to Facebook Experiment: Do People Care as Much about Child Sexual Abuse as They Do About Sex, War, and Gay Rights?

  1. Leticia says:

    Hello, I’m new to your blog, and LOVING it. Thanks for speaking out.
    I too have seen this issue on facebook and find it troubling. Recently with the boston bombings I was indundated with facebook posts about the event, about the search, and even about quotes from Mr. Rogers relating to the event. It was WAY over the top – especially considering that I live in Canada (not even eastern Canada), and so do the majority of my facebook contacts. Yet NEVER ONCE have I seen facebook posts be spread around about bombings in any other part of the world. (I have one friend who posts about goings on in israel, but i’ve never seen it go viral like the boston bombing stuff).

    Your posting about child abuse faces a similar problem. It does not catch the public attention. I could talk about why, but that’s been covered somewhat in comments already, and I want to talk about something else.
    I’ve decided that I want to start ‘manipulating’ the current posts that are being shared..to express a new truth, to convey a message that was previously repressed.
    After reading your post here, I thought of this meme:

    “When I was a kid, I didn’t have a computer, Internet, Nintendo DS, Xbox or Wii. I had a bike and a curfew. My toys were the outside world. If I didn’t eat what my mom made me, I didn’t eat. I didn’t dare tell my parents ‘no,’ or dare to talk back. I drank out of the water hose, and life wasn’t hard. It was life … and I survived. (Repost if your childhood was like this)”

    WHAT IF it was changed…?

    “When you were a kid you had a bike and a curfew. Out of your eight closest friends, two of them were abused, by persons close to their family. As a kid you didn’t have the internet or a Wii, and chances are no one ever told you that teenage siblings sometimes sexually abuse younger children. (That’s not curiosity or exploration, it’s abuse.) As a kid you drank out of the water hose and if you didn’t eat what mom made, you didn’t get a second option. For some kids you grew up with there was no second option to keeping silent about child abuse. When you were a kid either life wasn’t hard … or you survived. Repost if you have a great childhood, or if you survived your childhood.”

    What other meme’s can we change? I’m totally into getting people to think about the same old things… in a new way. Foot in the door technique?

    • Alethea says:

      I love your drive to change things. I love that you want to be vocal and put yourself out there without fear of the response from others.

      I love love love that you have re-written the FB post, and it is great. But I would just change a few things. I would say:

      “When you were a kid you had a bike and a curfew. Out of your eight closest friends, up to half of them them were sexually abused, by persons close to their family -or more likely- a family member. As a kid you didn’t have the internet or a Wii, and chances are no one ever told you that teenage siblings sometimes sexually abuse younger children. (and that it not curiosity or exploration, it’s abuse.) Some kids you grew up with might have seemed strange to you, or different. Chances are, those kids were being told to keep silent about someone sexually abusing them. When you were a kid either life wasn’t hard … or you survived. Re-post if you want to do something to make others aware about child sexual abuse.”

      That’s just my take on it. You feel free to post what you want. You are on the right path.

      You are awesome. Keep up the good work, and welcome to my Blog!

      Alethea

  2. Cati says:

    Well, I know for a fact that people just don’t want to talk about those topics. Not exactly the same, but I’m a pro-animals activist and volunteer with an association rescuing cats from the streets. I normally don’t do it, but if I get too pissed off at what people do to stray cats and post a pic of a stray (normally NOT graphic), or a text explaining what some people do, etcetera, it is the same.
    Then, at some point I get one of my contacts (usually a family member) posting a passive agressive poster saying “stop sharing disturbing pics, hungry kids pics, mistreated animals pics. It doesn’t help. If you want to help do something”. I ignore this because yes, I post these disturbing stories because I AM doing something. I spend most of my time out there with traps, neutering strays, picking run over animals and bringing them to vets, rescuing litters thrown in the trash bins by irresponsible owner (and terrible human beings too).

    But yeah, that’s how people are. They are “too disturbed to talk about it” because “it really won’t help”. Bull****. Denying it is what won’t help at all.

    • Alethea says:

      Cati,

      “stop sharing disturbing pics, hungry kids pics, mistreated animals pics. It doesn’t help.” is actually saying this: “Stop disturbing my day. I don’t want to be made uncomfortable by having to think about things like that. I want to have a nice day and to go about my day in ignorant bliss. I don’t want to take any action because it will mean that I will have to be unselfish.”

      • auntiebodhi says:

        Personally, I think that’s bang on. People can’t face the “uncomfortable”, they feel it’s too hard to handle, they don’t want to THINK about ANYTHING, let alone things that may have ugly memories for them (sadly, how many of us who have been abused react) and they often don’t realize that they ARE being selfish. Until you point it out. Point it out and get all kinds of angry reactions, but you might get to see a little guilt in their faces when they hear it. Me, I’ll make ’em face it. I made my mother face it and she was one of the people I NEVER thought would be able to. She uses religion to pad herself a lot, but she’s at least trying, and she was one of the main abusers in my life- she can at least acknowledge her part in it all, and she has apologized- a lot. If making them see it up front and fucking personal, you just might get some positive results. That’s why I say keep it up until they effing LISTEN. 🙂

        • Alethea says:

          You said it here, “and they often don’t realize that they ARE being selfish.” So you get it.

          You are lucky to have received an apology.

          I will keep it up!

          • auntiebodhi says:

            I consider myself insanely lucky to have survived to the age of forty-five, let alone receive anything like a true, remorseful apology from anyone in my family. So many places on my life-path that could have led to me dead. Period. The Universe has tried to kill me SO many times over the decades, that as part of my therapy (my shrink assigned it to me as a way to express some tings- of course, I went with humour :-p), I drew a little cartoon of myself stuck all over with arrows… You can see it here, if you’re curious and want a chuckle: https://www.furaffinity.net/view/6345634/

            As for apologies, here’s to getting one from the Step-Monster! Rawr!

            • Alethea says:

              I would try not to assign the Universe as a killer, as an entity (or worse, as an authority figure) that can kill us, or wants to kill us.

              The Universe does not “think” or “want,” nor does it “have bad intentions.”

              The Universe ‘just is’….it is the power that moves and generates life and sometimes death, but only in acts of re-birth or to help transform the earth to a new and better place.

              I clicked on your link, but it says, “you are not allowed to view this image.”

  3. auntiebodhi says:

    I’ve posted some VERY dark things on my Facebook page over the years, and my friends and family have not only come to expect it- mixed in with the fluff, of course- they’re starting to get with my program, talk and even hit like on some of it. BE STUBBORN AS FUCK is what I suggest. ❤

    When I outed the cretin I "lovingly" call the Step-Monster- on his birthday, no less (seemed appropriate to me that the fool was born on April 1st)- the storm it caused was SWEEEET. Mostly on my side. Rawr. But, two family-members and their wives/girlfriends blocked me and will no longer speak to me. The brother knew of the abuse, even thought it was awful, but his reaction was "it's in the past, why can't you just move on?" And I replied, "Because it didn't happen to you, you don't understand. If someone had raped you and threatened you if you told anyone, would you be so ready to let them GET THE FUCK AWAY WITH IT?" (pardon my f-bombs, I'll keep from using any more hereafter.)

    The wife is my sister-in-law and she was a fluffhead extraordinaire and I could give a flying fart about her opinion, and the others were the Step-Monster himself (he doesn't want to face what he did, of course) and his girlfriend, who didn't even bother to reply to me, just blocked me because I'm sure the Step-Monster chose some dimwit who'll believe anything he says for a mate.

    Well, the family is going to get another storm-front this spring: I'm coming up to Canada in May and laying charges on the little putz. He'll HAVE to face me then- and admit what he did, just like he had to my mother and his divorce-lawyer. Right now, he's trying to claim he did nothing, which is pretty laughable, since he'd already admitted it to the above-mentioned people years ago. LOL What a frakkin' moron.

    Keep fighting, my lady!

    P.S: may I know your Facebook page, too? I'll foreward a lot of stuff from you, certainly! You can find me at http://www.facebook.com/T.W.Dragon Come on by and make some noise!

  4. auntiebodhi says:

    Is there some way I could share this? I have a Facebook page, and its a VERY active political and activism page (yeah, there’s a heated discussion of gay-rights there right now, but the most recent topic was rape) to the point where I’m starting to get people to do some thinking- and talking. Personally, all I can suggest is keep it up! Don’t let THEIR fears of “uncomfortable things” get YOU down.

    My only request regarding your image- may I alter ONE line slightly? It bothers me, and it’s the one saying “men often date and marry single mothers just to get to their kids…” I would have worded it more like “…many paedophiles (or predators) often try to date…” because the other phrasing makes ALL men sound like rapists who go after kids when they aren’t. In other words, target the creeps, NOT the demographic most of them come from. 🙂

    Anyway, as for the reasons why your Facebook pals don’t hit “like” or share things like this… the first one seems simple enough: people hit “like” on things they agree with. Images like this don’t offend them so much as they aren’t sure what to say in response other than “WTF? This has to stop! (the abuse, not the posting)”. Maybe they feel weird hitting “like” on such an important and controversial topic because they DON’T “like” child-abuse.

    The other, the lack of sharing, I’m not certain how to take that one, either, except that, from what I’ve seen, most people seem to use their Facebook pages for frivolous things and stuff like this is a “buzzkill”. It’s not that they disagree with you, or don’t support the fight, or don’t care, they don’t want to have it on a page that they use primarily to keep in contact with friends and family for fun… and well, maybe there’s a few skeletons in closets, too. I agree with you on how effing COMMON this kind of abuse is. 😦 Anyway, what I’m suggesting is, try not to take it to heart when no one hits “like” or shares an image. …But keep posting ’em!

    Like you, I hold to the philosophy of “don’t condone the behaviour by ignoring it.” ^___^<

    Thanks tons- you rock.
    Terrakian

    • Alethea says:

      Terrakian

      I agree with your suggestion to change “men” to “perpetrators.” But as of this moment, not one person has shared the post. I got two “likes” but even they did not share it. I feel as though I don’t want to waste my time with people on my FB list.

      “WTF? This has to stop!” would prompt me to share it, but maybe they do feel weird hitting “like” on such an image. That’s a good point. But I want them to share it more than anything. The whole point was to spread the information.

      This is a “buzzkill” is probably right on target.

      >>“It’s not that they disagree with you, or don’t support the fight, or don’t care, they don’t want to have it on a page that they use primarily to keep in contact with friends and family for fun… and well, maybe there’s a few skeletons in closets, too.”>>

      Very good points, but people do seem much more concerned with war, gay rights, hunger, and animal abuse (animal abuse is something I fight against on a daily basis).

      Thanks for all your support and for your very good observations.

      Keep up the good fight.
      Good wishes,
      Alethea

      • auntiebodhi says:

        Thanks, hon. You do some good things yourself.

        Ya know, I think I like YOUR word choice better than mine- I’d suggested “paedophiles” or “predators”, but your option, “perpetrators”, works grandly.

        I know it hurts to know so many people who claim to care don’t seem to walk the talk- I suspect, that along with the whole selfishness thing, they just can’t see themselves as being able to have both the energy or ability to take on the responsibility they’d have to accept in order to join the fight. I know it scares ME, and I’m hip-deep in it (I haven’t quite gotten the fortitude to go all the way to my eyebrows)…

        To me, things like mental-illness (another of my personal pet advocacy causes) and child-abuse are COMMUNITY problems and should be addressed as a community that will work to heal those involved- including the ones who committed the abuse.

        “So much of what do (or don’t do) is based on what we’re afraid of.” <– me, in a moment of inspiration. (I don't get many, so no worries about ego, there. LOL)

        Ok, this next one IS, a little:
        "If we acknowledge our fears, we must also take responsibility for our actions when we react to those fears."

        I'll shut up, now. :-p

        Keep fighting!

        • Alethea says:

          Auntie Bodhi,

          In reading your comment, I realized something. Part of the problem is that when people are selfish (read: “don’t bother me with that ugly topic,” etc.) they don’t even realize they ARE being selfish.

          That’s one of the entangled problems with selfishness –the ego will defend itself and will rarely admit or realize it is being selfish.

          Yes, fear drives most humans, but fear is an ego-based emotion.

          Keep up your good work.
          Have a beautiful day.
          Alethea

          • auntiebodhi says:

            Exactly- they have no clue as to the selfishness they’re basing their decisions on… or the fears. Many people just don’t seem to be self-aware enough to realize just what the implications of their decisions will be. They just live on “automatic” and think they’re actually living. *has a sad*

  5. Ryan Clark says:

    I disagree with this post. People not sharing posts on FB never reflects a lack of interest in the subject. I think child sexual abuse is something that can’t be dealt with through Facebook posts. People already know it’s wrong, so I don’t think it can be prevented by spreading the word. Gay rights, on the other hand, is something that can be actively rallied for. That’s probably why those posts get more shares.

    • Alethea says:

      Ryan, there is no difference between a post, and photo, for gay rights….and a post, and photo, that gives specific and very good details about aspects of abuse that many people do not know about. My FB post was to be shared so that it can bring awareness to others. The general population does NOT know most of the facts that I listed in the post. It would have helped countless children and adults to spread that awareness and those facts to other FB pages.

      It would also have helped many people to know they are not alone and that someone out there dared to post the photo and to try and enlighten others about the very uncomfortable and seemingly unbelievable facts in that post. I still know people who are shocked that some mothers don’t protect their children. I still know many people who have no clue that some children enjoy the attention from their abuser and don’t tell because they don’t want the abuse to end. My FB post would have helped spread that awareness.

      As of this comment, not one person has shared the post on my FB page. NOT ONE. No one has taken two seconds to spread the awareness. But since my post, they have shared and posted all kinds of nonsense about their lives that is meaningless and photos of their car, or their sandwich.

      I find the priorities of human beings to be upside down.

    • Anonymous says:

      I.Don’t.Buy.It.Ryan. “Social Media” platforms, where hundreds of millions reveal the most intimate details about themselves, openly discuss every ideology imaginable and launch either public awareness campaigns on behalf of – or create satiral theatre out of – every human condition that exists? FaceBook isn’t the appropriate venue for ´educating the public on the facts about Incest-Sexual Abuse in hopes that others may be helped?

      Honestly, I think the main problem, when it comes to the subject matter of Incest and Sexual Abuse is this: The vast majority are simply conditioned to KEEP OUR MOUTH SHUT because we have either been a victim or know a perpetrator – a family member, close family friend, teacher clergy, etc. We are All Keepers of the Big Fat Lie that we Shouldn.nt Talk About It in Public!

      • Alethea says:

        I agree, if not FB, then where? FB has found missing dogs and missing teens. People post photos of starving children and injured animals on FB to bring awareness. They post “support our troops” with photos of military people that get over 1,000,000 “likes” and thousands of shares. If not on FB, then where? The media won’t get into it unless there is a big story. Talk shows address the issue, but not often and they usually slant the story to their liking.

        FB has the ability to educate hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people. But no one wants to look at a photo that makes them uncomfortable, or that ruins their nice day, and they don’t want to post it to their FB page via sharing, because they don’t want to disturb the day of their friends…and they don’t want to offend anyone.

  6. melissa lee says:

    Great web sight, I believe what you are doing is wonderful, and I think it is deeply healing for you.. I was raped by many men as a child and including close family and friends of the family, I repressed the memories until I started to have PTSD at the age of 38, and then with in a few years of that, all the memories came back, I had a wonderful healer that helped me thru it and still helps me. I now have a healing practice and have many clients I help recover memories of past abuses, mainly from their childhood.. It took me awhile to start to tell my story, but when I did and do, most are very supportive and often it releases them to tell me their story.. I have found avenues for telling and writing about it, and find that those that are OK with my story and the abuses are the ones that stick around me and those that are not do not, but I am not disturbed by that anymore. Every time I feel a moment of opening I do tell my story and mainly how I was able to go thru a truly horrific childhood and abuses that started as a baby, and rise up and out of that to a beautiful life… xoxo Melissa Lee

    • Alethea says:

      Thank you Melissa for your support and comment.

      I am happy to know that you have turned your suffering into good.

      I am not disturbed by people cutting me out of their life, or by people not liking me or accepting me, or not including me because of my story. My disturbance is the collective denial system, the indifference, the refusing to know about child sexual abuse. It is this system that has created a world where perpetrators can continue with their crimes, and where children are disbelieved and unheard. Silence is complicity and indifference is deadly for children.

      I don’t care about me personally. I don’t give two hoots if someone doesn’t like me. It’s children and adult survivors who are suffering, and who need help, that I am defending.

      Thanks for your comment. I do appreciate it. I hope you read more of my articles and hope you feel that you can refer some people to my Blog. 🙂

      Alethea

  7. Alethea says:

    I just noticed that 39 people have shared this article on Facebook. From every fiber of my being…THANK YOU. Thank you for going beyond worrying about what others will think of you, or how they will respond…You are awesome.

    • A2ndvoice says:

      THANK YOU!!! Sometimes we feel that no one is listen, but it shows that it takes one person to keeping it real and that is what you did!

    • auntiebodhi says:

      *hugs, just ‘cuz* Maybe we just needed a kick in der pants. >^__^<

    • Grace says:

      So nice to hear :). Your blog truly deserves traffic, Alethea…and if those 39 “shares” have helped one person reflect on the implications of abuse vs. photos of a sandwich, then I can gratefully thank God for that! Peace, Grace 🙂

  8. shanakd9 says:

    http://voices.yahoo.com/victorias-secret-has-line-sexy-underwear-12049670.html?cat=25

    I wrote this article, and I too have shared things on sexual abuse, but not nearly as popular to share to to comment on as gay rights, animal rights, etc.

    • Alethea says:

      Great article Shana. Good for you. I think it is awesome that you are out there voicing yourself.

  9. Grace says:

    Interesting experiment, Alethea. I’m curious to hear the results. I’m going to hypothesize that very few, if any, people will re-post or share…as has been your experience in the past. I also noticed similar behavior when I was on facebook (which I no longer am). There were multiple re-posts regarding celebrity plastic surgery and photos of weekend “shit show” parties…and even re-posts for autism awareness…but very little about child abuse in any form.

    • Alethea says:

      Yes Grace that’s my experience too. Celebrities, partying, and sports are far more important to people on FB, so is this indicative of the mentality in most westerners?

  10. shanakd9 says:

    what is your name on facebook, mine is Shana Torres Dines and I will share it in a heartbeat!

  11. Anonymous says:

    In the words of the late Barry White, “Right on, right on “. I have posted several of your articles on my FB page. For years now, I have chosen to share that I am a survivor of child/sexual abuse. I rarely get a ‘Like’, but it has happend. Never shared as far as I can tell. The last post had one response, from a long-time FB friend, “You are preaching to the choir. They should all be taken out and shot.” My response, “I am not precahing, just saharing a post. And if we killed them all, we would each lose someone we know.” Almost anything, other than child sexual abuse is printable, FB sharable, and profitable enough to be in TV ads. Includng erectile dysfunction. Interesting how freely and irresponsibably we use sex to sell and manipulate in the public arena, but we are too cowardly to point out the horrible consequences of child sexual abuse, recreational sex, abortion as birth control, etc. At least there are some parents criticizing Victoria’s Secret new line of provacative panties for little girls. That’s something, I guess.

    • Alethea says:

      Thanks so much for sharing this anonymous. It is so good to know I am not alone.

      >>You are preaching to the choir. They should all be taken out and shot.” My response, “I am not preaching, just sharing a post. And if we killed them all, we would each lose someone we know.” >

      What a profound response you gave! That is awesome….”We would all lose someone we know.”…wow.

    • auntiebodhi says:

      I’ve had reactions like that, too, but I personally love your response: “If we killed them all, we would each lose someone we know…” So sad, and so true…

  12. Venessa says:

    So true!!!!! Raising awareness about autism and sexual abuse or autism and puberty! Seems such a taboo! Sad that such a serious issue and no one seems to want to make a comment!!!!! Many hide behind facebook and other forms of medium. But the reality of the matter, it cripples and damages your self worth, if you are not amongst people that truly care! Bringing to the forefront is a most!!!!!!

    • Please know that nothing terrifies people mor than incest, or rape, especially of a child.Forgive them for they know not what to do.It rips their guts and their souls, and they simply don’t know what or how to do with it.They have no clyue how to respond and no one wants to be the first.Somehow they are afraid of us.Please keep putting the word out. Eventually they will hear. They will have no choice, but only if we refuse to be silent. Yes, I too am a survivor. Rest gently please. Dusty

      • Alethea says:

        Dusty, I don’t know that it truly terrifies people. If it did, then they would do something. Fear is what drives the human being more than any other emotion. They will protest out of fear if someone wants to take their gun away. They will rally for war if they fear another country will attack them. They will march in the street if they fear someone will shut down their favorite sports team. They will protest to the world if they fear someone will take away their gay rights.

        Forgive them? There is nothing to forgive in the spiritual sense. Only God can forgive them in this case. But if I tell people over and over again and they do not want to hearthen they do know! They know and choose to do nothing.

        If something rips my guts and my soul, I will use every God-given tool to fight it, to protest it, to stop it, to voice it, to help, to speak, to educate myself, to make others aware…

        Dusty, in love and truth to you….they do know what to do…they are indifferent –one of the worst crimes against humanity there is. I think Jesus spoke of indifference, that He would “spew the indifferent out of His mouth.”

        Maybe some of them are afraid of us, as you say, but very few in my opinion.

        Peace,
        Alethea

    • Alethea says:

      Venessa, thank you! It is great to know I am not alone.

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