Those of us committed to raising awareness of child abuse and violence against women often invest emotionally in the task. Since many of us are abuse survivors, we have a personal stake in bringing public pressure to bear on issues like the funding and oversight of foster care programs.
This is all to the good.
But the problem of abuse has long and pernicious roots. Neither child abuse nor violence against women is a new phenomenon. Both have been present throughout history, can be found worldwide, and are actually tolerated in certain cultures, if not encouraged. That makes the fight to abolish them or at least seek justice for victims extremely difficult.
Our goal is to do nothing less than change the world.
There are pitfalls associated with this fight. To begin with, depending on the cultural setting, advocacy can be dangerous. Readers will remember Malala Yousafzai, the young Pakistani girl attacked by the Taliban in 2012 for a blog post in support of women’s education.
Continual exposure to the ugly details of abuse can be disheartening. In March 2014, federal investigators shut down a global child pornography ring with over 27,000 predators . Victims (mostly male) ranged in age from 3 y.o. and younger to 17 y.o.
Contact with such horrors may cause early burnout, a well recognized risk among social workers. At a minimum, it can rob us of desire and our capacity to trust the opposite sex. Continue reading