Friday, May 15, 2015

What We Need to Know: 5 Statistics About Sexual Abuse

Earlier this week, I was honored and honestly, ecstatic that Amanda MacGregor at SLJ's Teen Librarian Toolbox gave FINDING PARIS this glowing and very thoughtful review.

And I'm good with the spoilers if I say that this paragraph in particular made me happy:

"There is so much to discuss here—the family dynamics, the silence, the secrets, the distrust, the suspicion, the denial, the shame and more. Because of the late reveal about the sexual violence, it forces readers to rethink what they think they know about the story and the characters. It also makes readers think about what the future will hold for Leo. This is a great addition to the list of titles that discuss sexual violence."

Because, as I've talked about before on this blog and elsewhere, here's what I know to be true. Despite social media where we seemingly tell every detail of our lives in painstaking detail, the truth is, we really don't. Too often--for so many reasons--we keep the bad stuff a secret. We can't bear to tell or we are afraid or ashamed or we just don't have the words. Even now. Even today where we have a hashtag for every social change, every paradigm shift we hope to make. The world is still, as it always has been, a very dangerous place for women, and even more dangerous for young women. Not everyone lives in a safe family. Not everyone has parents who do the right thing. Bad things happen even when you do. And despite what we might want, we aren't always talking about it. Particularly teens. Particularly those  most vulnerable.

So it was important to me to write a book where once you got to the reveal, you had to think back to all you were being told and shown page after page but weren't processing. To all those moments you were thinking, where is this road trip going? What is Leo really showing us about Vegas and LA and her life and Paris?

Here are some sobering statistics, courtesy of RAINN, the nation's largest anti-sexual assault organization:
  • 44% of sexual assault victims are under age 18
  • 80% of sexual assault victims are under age 30
  • Every 107 seconds another sexual assault occurs
  • 68% of sexual assaults are not reported to the police
  • 98% of rapists will never spend a day in jail
And that's just the beginning.

Organizations like RAINN are making a difference. 

YA novelists are making a difference too.
Of course one of the well-known examples is Laurie Halse Anderson's SPEAK.
I'll be talking about others on this blog during the coming weeks, including ALL THE RAGE by Courtney Summers, which is out now from St. Martin's Griffin.

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