I Take the Impact of Child Sexual Abuse Very Personally! 


Herbert Jay Rosenfield, ACSW, LCSW, BCD, CSSW

Herbert Jay Rosenfield, ACSW, LCSW, BCD, CSSW

Author, There Is Hope! ©; Founder, Rosenfield Innovation, LLC; Director, AFCCenter, LLC

No, I am not confessing to you that I have been a pedophile.  I have not!  And, no, I am not sharing that I am a #MeToo survivor.  I am a rare and lucky son-of-a-bitch who has reached the age of 72 and been spared the pain and baggage of serious family dysfunction, divorce, alcoholism, violence, and child sexual abuse.

The very personal impact for me is the reality and projection of those CSA statistics … that statistics estimate that at least 1 girl in 4 and 1 boy in 6 has experienced a sexually-abusive incident or pattern before the age of 18.  Those statistics mean that REAL people, who were and are important to me, had been sexually abused during childhood!  REAL people, about whom I care!  In addition to the 100s of CSA clients whom we have counseled, about whom I care and serve professionally with sincerity and commitment, the wake of CSA that I will never know the truth about is part of my life experience … and in yours.  Statistically, that means one of my beloved female 1st cousins and 2 of my male 1st cousins had been victimized!  Of my 40 YMCA Camp Massasoit dear campers with whose safety I was entrusted and that I diligently protected from 1962 to 1966, ~5 of the girls and ~3 of the boys who rode, laughed, and sang on my bus, had suffered child sexual abuse somewhere else by adulthood!  Of my New Bedford High School Class of ‘67, out of 560 classmates, conceivably as many as 70 of our gals and 50 of us guys were CSA victims before our graduation procession!  And from my 112 classmates at BU-SSW, Class of ’70, possibly 25 of the 100 women and 2 of us 12 men carried the burden of having been child sexual abuse victims into our professional education and social work careers!  REAL people, about whom I care!

Child sexual abuse in not ‘something that happens to those people, out there’.  Child sexual abuse is a travesty that occurred in our families, in our schools, in our communities, in our society, to REAL people!  We have been given an important platform and commitment by the courageous folks who have made this important subject visible in the headlines and on the screens – the men who participated on Oprah’s “100 Men” airing, the women who have come forward with their #MeToo sharing, and those adult women who have confronted powerful men who are sexual harassers and abusers from government, big business, the entertainment industry, the news mega-corporations, and amateur and professional athletics.  And I take the impact of child sexual abuse personally … we are seeing and hearing that this happens to REAL people, about whom we care … and I want us to work together to reduce the incidents of child sexual abuse in our society by 25% by 2025!

In the final chapter of my There Is Hope!,[2] from discussions with the researchers and the law enforcement professionals in the field, I offer the optimism that there is reason for hopefulness for future generations if we will dedicate our communities to …

(1)   Be honest in our society about who it is from whom we must protect our kids; 93% of perpetrators are individuals known to their CSA victims: family members; friends; neighbors; and folks in child-services roles such as babysitters, educators, medical personnel, and coaches;

(2)   Identify potential child sexual abusers before they ever abuse anybody;

(3)   Better prepare our children for life and adulthood, including age-appropriate sex-education;

(4)   Do a more competent pre-screening the folks whom we hire to have access to kids;

(5)   Maintain better records of the identity of convicted child sexual abuse perpetrators;

(6)   Greatly improve the communication and cooperation between State and Federal agencies;

(7)   Early Intervention: Catch the child sexual abuse occurrences sooner; and

(8)   Providing greater support for the victims to escape the unhealthy, abusive environments.

There Is Hope! for a safer and healthier future! But that accomplishment will require dedication and action by each of us, in our communities, in state and Federal legislatures and by law enforcement professionals, and in international forum policies and coordinated implementation, now and forever!

Herbert Jay Rosenfield, LCSW

[1] Rosenfield, Herbert Jay. There Is Hope! Practices and Interventions for the Successful Treatment of Adult Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse.© Book-in-progress. (2018).

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