(For Immediate Release October 13, 2023)
We applaud Claude's bravery, and we hope that his example will encourage other, still-silent victims to come forward to family, friends, therapists, groups like ours, or law enforcement, to seek counsel and to pursue justice. Claude demonstrates that it is never too late for a victim of sexual assault to speak out, regardless of how long ago the crime occurred. Not every survivor will have Claude's level of success, but we believe that when a victim shares their truth it is an important step on the road to healing, which is invaluable.
Claude's case is also a perfect example of delayed disclosure, a common phenomenon in cases of childhood sexual abuse. The average age at which a survivor comes forward is 52. Essentially, this means that the criminal and civil laws in many states across the country do not reflect this reality and need to be changed. We hope that the bill currently in committee in Massachusetts will be successful. Today's children are safer when survivors have the opportunity to expose perpetrators and the institutions that protect the abusers.
Childhood sexual abuse can have a wide range of effects that continue into adulthood. Many survivors experience lifelong problems. We hope that others can find their strength and courage, just as Claude did. Communities are safer because of valiant warriors like Claude.
CONTACT: Mike McDonnell, SNAP Interim Executive Director ([email protected], 267-261-0578), Melanie Sakoda, SNAP Survivor Support Director ([email protected], 925-708-6175) Shaun Dougherty, SNAP Board of Directors President ([email protected], 814- 341-8386)
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 35 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)