Editor, Daily Nexus,
I am writing in response to the conversation in the Daily Nexus about convicted sex offender Victor Sciortino’s placement in family student housing (“Staff Editorial: Cause for Concern,” Daily Nexus, Jan. 11). It broke the silence surrounding childhood sexual abuse that is rampant in the United States. Studies show that one in four girls and one in six boys is sexually abused before the age of 18. The majority of the perpetrators are known by the victims and their families. Sexual abusers are parents, grandparents, uncles, cousins, babysitters, coaches, spiritual leaders and, like Victor Sciortino, neighbors.
The majority of perpetrators go unreported. So, while it is important to discuss how to handle the cases of convicted sex offenders living among us, it is also vital that we realize that there are many non-convicted sex offenders who also live among us. Blaming parents for the victimization of their children merely skirts the systemic nature of the problem. Instead, let’s begin a real conversation about childhood sexual abuse. Let’s stop blaming the victims. Let’s start creating space for survivors to tell their story. Let’s start learning about the warning signs. Let’s recognize the enormity of sexual violence that UCSB students face living in I.V.
As an advocate at the Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center, I encourage you to use the center as a resource at www.sbrapecrisiscenter.org. Public attention to sexual violence can be re-triggering for survivors. If you need support, please call our 24-hour hotline at (805) 564-3696.