I have always avoided the thought of children being molested. My imagination is too good, and if I think about it, really think about it, I get sick to my stomach. I find myself in the place of the little child, trusting, helpless, brutalized and raped by an animal that looks like a person. It takes me to a very dark place where rage and sadness blend. It makes me despair for the human race. If I ever thought about the sex offender registry it was to be grateful that all the hopelessly insane, violent pedophiles were being closely monitored.
What happened to my son and writing this blog has forced me to think about all this whether I wanted to or not. It has also required that I do some research. This is how I learned that the majority of people on the registry are there for nonviolent offenses, that among those who actually did molested a child, the recidivism rate is quite low and some will respond to therapy, that many of the genuine child predators are not adequately monitored and many others nowhere to be found.
But I also found out something more. In a study done in 2009 by the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS) they estimated that 1,770 children died that year from abuse and/or neglect. These are the percentages: 35.8% neglect, 23.2% physical abuse, 1.8% medical neglect, and 0.4% sexual assault. 80% of those that died were under four years of age. 46% were one year old or younger.
I do not remember any national headlines that read: “Five Children Died Today From Abuse and Neglect!”. Nor do I recall seeing their names in the papers or their photos on the evening news. It is certain their parents did not clamor for preventive laws, named for their dead children. The parents were the ones usually responsible. But does that make the deaths of these children any less real? Is their pain, sometimes going on for years, less significant than the children who suffer for hours or days?. Is the reason we do not hear about this because we would have to hear about it almost every day? No. The reason these children dying goes unnoticed is because their deaths can not be turned to a profit.
“Sex Sells”. It sells newspapers. It sells air time. It sells politicians. We hear about the few horrendous abductions with sexual assault and murder because that is what sells. We do not hear about the many more deaths from slow starvation or battered-child syndrome because that does not sell. It is that simple.