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Unicef reports alarming rates of child sexual abuse worldwide

For all the good that mankind is capable of, it is also cable of great evil. Societies ought to be judged by how well they protect and care for their most vulnerable citizens, including children. If that is the standard by which we are measured, few societies on earth are doing very well.

According to a study recently published by Unicef, approximately 10 percent of girls worldwide have been forced into sex or sexual acts before reaching age 20. In human terms, this amounts to about 120 million girls and young women who have been sexually abused. These statistics don’t even account for the entire problem of sexual abuse, as data on the sexual abuse of males is harder to find.

It is also important to point out that child sexual abuse is usually not the result of “stranger danger” as we so often teach kids. The reality is grimmer than that. Unicef Executive Director Anthony Lake noted that sexual abuse “occurs in places where children should be safe, their homes, schools and communities. Increasingly, it happens over the internet, and it's perpetrated by family members and teachers, neighbors and strangers and other children.”

To be sure, the United States has a better human rights record than some less developed nations, particularly certain war-torn countries in Africa. But even though child sexual abuse and violence against children are not socially acceptable in the U.S., these acts nonetheless occur at unacceptably high rates.

If you or a loved one has been the victim of sexual abuse, you do not have to suffer alone or in silence. Please seek the help of law enforcement and, when appropriate, contact an experienced personal injury attorney who can file a civil lawsuit on your behalf.

Source: The Telegraph, “One-in-10 girls subjected to sexual abuse worldwide, Unicef finds,” Sept. 5, 2014

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