Terrifying Silence: sexual abuse in Asian communities goes unreported

Here in Cook County and across the state, children who are victims of sexual abuse are hurting. But, for many, their stories and their pain are being ignored, and their silence means more children may have to face the terrors they have themselves.

In our investigation of child sexual abuse in Cook County, we found that some communities are underreporting sexual abuse, especially in the Asian community.

Even though Asian children make up 5 percent of the children in Cook County, they were only 1 percent of the calls made to the child sexual abuse hot line. Statewide, only .47 percent of the calls about child sexual abuse were concerning Asian children. 

More at chicagoreporter.com

But even though it's not reported, it's still there. Sometimes, people think it's because sexual abuse doesn't happen in Asian communities. But those who work with Asian children know that's not true.

"That's a huge lie," said Jae Jin Pak, a sexual abuse prevention specialist in Chicago. "It's a prevalent problem."

Many Asian children may be suffering in silence. Listen to the story of Je, a young woman who was sexually abused in the Philippines when she was just a girl:

Many Asian families share the value of family harmony--valuing the needs of the group over the needs of the individual. And sexuality can be a taboo topic, as well. Those ideas in combination can mean that bringing up sexual abuse can be extremely difficult for a child and equally difficult for a family to understand and accept.

But unless more young people are able to share their stories, like Je, and heal from their pain, this terrifying silence will continue, haunting children and families for generations to come.

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