Sexual violence has been in the news a lot this year. From Washington, DC to Hollywood, it seems to be popping up everywhere. In October, #MeToo revealed the tip of the iceberg, focusing on adult women's experiences at the hands of adult men.
When we center child victims, however, the picture gets much bigger - and more complex. The US Centers for Disease Control estimates 20% of all children (1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys) experience rape or sexual abuse by an older child or an adult by the age of 18. Furthermore, studies suggest that gender non-conforming children may be at even greater risk. In fact, a 2011 study of more than 1,000 transgender people found over 50% had experienced sexual violence at some point in their lives, and of those who were adult sexual violence survivors, 72% had also survived child sexual abuse.
For the past twenty years, Amita Swadhin has been working to end institutional and interpersonal violence against young people, focusing on the violence of child sexual abuse as a root cause of many other forms of social injustice.
Since 2016, Amita has been traveling the country collecting the stories of LGBTQ people of color who survived childhood rape and sexual assault. Her project, Mirror Memoirs, uses storytelling and survivor leadership to illuminate the needs and wisdom of survivors at this vulnerable intersection that has not been widely discussed.
On December 4th, Amita shared publicly for the first time some of the preliminary findings of nearly 50 interviews and how social entrepreneurs, nonprofits, and philanthropists can lead at the intersections.