PRESS RELEASE The Adverse Effects of
Childhood Sexual Abuse
"My Silence, My Pain" Brings Awareness
About Childhood Sexual Abuse
Family & Youth Foundations is presenting the play, "My Silence, My Pain"
to address the adverse effects of childhood sexual abuse. The performance will be held on April 4th
at The Smithfield Center in Smithfield, Virginia. The play was designed to educate the community and
develop meaningful dialogue about sexual abuse. There will be a public forum with representatives
from different agencies that work with sexually abused children and adults for questions and answers
immediately following the play.
Family & Youth Foundations is joining with the states initiatives during
"National Child Abuse Month" to make the community more aware of issues regarding child abuse. Mr.
Leon Sankofa, Executive Director of Family & Youth Foundations argues that child abuse awareness
month has fallen short to make the public aware of its devastating impact. He states that the
creative resources, technological mechanism and influences of the media have failed to address and
develop meaningful programs that weaken the horrors that the state of Virginia's statistical numbers
represent. The state department's data has found that every fifty-four minutes a child is abused in
the State of Virginia. One in three girls are victims of sexual abuse by age eighteen. One in seven
boys are violated by the age of eighteen. In 1998, approximately 10,000 children were involved in
founded cases of child abuse. Fourteen percent of these children were victims of sexual abuse.
Sankofa further states that many agencies are filled mental health workers who may not be able to
approach this "touchy topic" in their own perspective lives and therefore it becomes difficult to
have meaningful dialogue and thereby electing to skirt over the issue in their professions. Mr.
Sankofa believes that a month dedicated to our children's psychological and physical well being
should be more than just reporting incidence and providing training for skilled professionals. It
should be about prevention, outreach and teaching the community how to deal with such family traumas.
There are individuals and families hurting and looking for answers.