Trials don’t happen for years, church’s stand in the way of helping sexually abused children (South Carolina is the 4th most religious state in the nation). Raped children that are lucky enough to be reported to child protection aren’t interviewed for weeks. Justice delayed is justice denied.
It is also probably that South Carolina has few mandated reporters and that most people just don’t want to talk about it (there is very little reporting of the crime in SC compared to states that care for their children).
To be fair, the South has come a ways since the 1960’s when the age of consent was between 11 and 13. Rock singer Jerry Lee Lewis married a 13 year old when he was almost 40.
As a volunteer guardian ad-Litem, I’ve seen the horrific and lasting damage done to children by this crime. The trauma lasts forever and creates many a dysfunctional adults (ruined lives).
About half the MN children in my case load had been sexually abused. One as young as 2, several were abused at 4 years old. I believe child abuse to be the most under reported crime in this nation. In states like South Carolina, there is little reporting and almost no enforcement. Sex with children is legal in South Carolina, and that is criminal.
Someone should say something. Please pass this on to others and do your part to raise your voice for abused and neglected children.
By KIM SEVERSON
Published: July 9, 2013
¶In South Carolina, people accused of sexually abusing children do not face trial for years. Children who report abuse are not interviewed for weeks. Churches often stand between victims and help.
¶Those were among the findings of a privately financed report that comes as South Carolina is working to shore up its child protective system. The state is facing lawsuits and legislative scrutiny after a series of deaths, rapes and other assaults on children who were in state custody.
¶The report was welcomed by Gov. Nikki R. Haley, who said it offered useful recommendations for improving how the state — both the government and its citizens — can better address childhood sexual trauma.
¶It also prompted Ms. Haley to recount her own experience as a physically abused child.
¶While her mother worked she spent her days in day care at a neighborhood home, the governor said.
¶She said her mother confronted the neighbors, who soon packed up and left without any repercussions.
¶“When it happened to me, my parents didn’t know what to do,” Governor Haley said. “They didn’t know who to go to. No one knew how to handle it.”
¶The report, “Silent Tears,” was based on interviews with hundreds of people who work directly with abused children. It called for more training at colleges and universities and for a uniform system of investigation.
¶State law enforcement records show more than 3,000 children reported being sexually abused in 2011. Most people who handled those cases received little training in college related to child abuse, the report said.
¶Felony child abuse trials, which should begin within six months, according to bar association standards, often take three years to get to court. And evidence collected when a case is reported varies widely.
¶“Everybody should know how to interrogate a subject, and everybody should know why crime scene photographs are important and why corroborating evidence is important,” said Victor Vieth, executive director of the training center, which is based at Winona State University in Minnesota.
¶The study found that church communities were least likely to report abuse and sometimes covered it up, urging victims to forgive their abusers instead of reporting them, Mr. Vieth said.
¶Because South Carolina is ranked as the fourth most religious state in the country, targeting churches and seminaries for more training is key, he said.
¶“When people don’t report it’s most often out of ignorance,” he said.