We Are Survivors 

This blog is dedicated to the tens of millions of adult survivors of child abuse and neglect who get up every day and try to work and function in a world that seems to not care about us.

National Scope of Child Abuse - Part 3

Child abuse and neglect is America’s number one public health crisis, and yet it is still not addressed at the national level in spite of overwhelming statistics. The Surgeon General has stressed that family violence is now at an epidemic level.[1] The United States Advisory Board on Child Abuse and Neglect has concluded that child abuse and neglect in the United States now represents a national emergency.[2] Listed below are more statistics.

Social Problems

  • Homelessness/Runaways:
    • In a study of homeless women, 41% who were victimized as children did not complete high school; 66% were severely abused by their early childhood caretakers, including family and family-unit friends, and 60% had been abused before the age of 12.[3]
    • 73% of female runaways and 38% of male runaways are either sexually abused before leaving home or after they run away.[4]
    • Very high proportions of homeless youth report family conflict as a reason for being homeless. They frequently have physical/mental health and/or substance abuse problems.
  • Delinquency:
    • Early child abuse and neglect increases the risk of arrest as a juvenile by 55% and increases the risk of being arrested for a violent crime as a juvenile by 96%.[5]
    • When sexually boys are not treated, society must later deal with the resulting problems, including crime, suicide, drug use and more sexual abuse. One-third of juvenile delinquents, 40% of sexual offenders and 76% of serial rapists report they were sexually abused as youngsters.[6]
  • Prostitution:
    • The average age when people start out as a prostitute: 13-14-years-old.[7]
    • 65-95% of prostitutes were sexually abused as a child; 75% use drugs; and 26% use alcohol.[8]
    • 5.8% of abused and neglected children become runaways, and sexually abused children were more likely than other victims to be arrested for prostitution as adults.[9]
    • 66% of all prostitutes are victims of child sexual abuse; 2/3 of these were sexually abused by fathers, stepfathers, or foster fathers.[10]
    • There are between 100,000 and 300,000 children sexually exploited through prostitution and pornography in the United States. It is one of the most overlooked forms of child abuse.[11]
  • Inability to Hold a Job:
    • The unemployment rate for individuals with psychiatric disabilities is 80-90%.[12]
    • Survivors of childhood sexual abuse have 3.5 times more learning disabilities than non-abused women.[13]
  • Criminal Behavior:
    • 2 out of every 3 prisoners convicted of first degree murder report previous childhood histories of physical abuse.[14]
    • One-third of juvenile delinquents, 40% of sexual offenders and 76% of serial rapists report they were sexually abused as youngsters.[15]
    • Adolescents are responsible for a significant number of rape and child molestation cases each year. Currently, it is estimated that adolescents (ages 13-17) account for up to 1/5 of all rapes and ½ of all cases of child molestation committed each year.[16]
    • 82% of women incarcerated at New York’s Bedford Hills Correctional Facility had a childhood history of severe physical and/or sexual abuse.[17]

Hopefully, by providing the magnitude of the problem, as I have done in this series, a president and/or Congress will finally begin to look at what we survivors cope with as an aftermath of our abuse.


[1] “The Surgeon General’s Report on Mental Health,” 1999.

[2] “Protecting Children from Abuse and Neglect, Foundations for a New National Strategy,” Edited by Gary B. Melton and Frank D. Barry, 1994.

[3] The National Center on Family Homelessness, 2007.

[4] Roads to Recovery, Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape, 2003.

[5] Understanding Homeless Youth: Numbers, Characteristics, Multisystem Involvement, and Intervention Options, Testimony submitted by Martha R. Burt, Ph.D., Principal Research   Associate and Director, Social Services Research Program, Urban Institute, Before the U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means Subcommittee on Income Security and Family Support, June 19, 2007.

[6] Maxfield, M.G., & Widom, C.S. (1996). The cycle of violence: Revisited six years later. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 150, 390-395.

[7] Living in the Shadows of Incest—One Woman’s Battle to Survive Child Abuse, Drugs, and Mental Illness, Dr. William C. Holmes, The University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, The Seattle Medium, May 23, 2007.

[8] Trauma and Drug Recovery for Abuse and Prostitute Survivors in the Criminal Justice System, By Norma Hotaling, Executive Director, SAGE Project, Inc., April 14, 2000, Tenth United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and Treatment of Offenders.

[9]  Prostitution & Trafficking in Nevada: Making Connections, Melissa Farley, 2007.

[10] Criminal Consequences of Childhood Sexual Victimization, Widom, C.S., Ames, M.A., Child Abuse and Neglect, 18 (1994): 303-318.

[11] Treatment of Prostitute Victims of Sexual Assault, Silbert, Mimi H., In Victims of Sexual Aggression, Stuart Irving and Joanne Greer (Eds), Von Nostrand Reinhold.

[12] End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography, and the Trafficking of Children for Sexual Exploitation (ECPAT), Europe and North America Regional Profile, issued by the World Congress Against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children, held in Stockholm, Sweden, August 1996.

[13] Child Abuse in America: Prevalence and Consequences, Bessel van der Kolk, M.D., James Hopper, Ph.D., Joseph Crozier Ph.D., Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment, and Trauma, 2001,  http://www.nctsnet.org/nctsn_assets/pdfs/articles/child_abuse_america.pdf.

[14] Victims of Child Abuse; Domestic Violence; Elderly Abuse; Rape, Robbery, Assault; or Violent Death; A Manual for Clergy and Congregations, Diane Publications, August 2004

[15] Sexual Harassment Prevention in the Schools, Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape, page 22, 2009, http://www.ccasa.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Sexual-Harassment-Prevention-in-Schools-Curriculum-Manual.pdf

[16] Sexual Assault in Society: The Role of the Juvenile Offender, Barbaree, H., Husdon, S., & Seto, M. , 1993, In Barbaree, W., Marshall, S. & Hudson (Eds), The Juvenile Sex Offender. 10-11.        

[17] Survivors of Abuse in Prison Fact Sheet, March 2008, Correctional Association of New York.

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National Scope of Child Abuse - Part 2
Congress Ignores the Cost of Child Abuse


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