Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, Vol. 11, No. 4, 1999 Commentary Having New Eyes: Viewing Child Sexual Abuse as a Public Health Problem James A. Mercy1 The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new landscapes, but in having new eyes. Marcel Proust INTRODUCTION Imagine a childhood disease that affects one in five girls and one in seven boys before they reach 18 (Finkelhor & Dziuba-Leatherman, 1994): a disease that can cause dramatic mood swings, erratic behavior, and even severe conduct disorders among those exposed; a disease that breeds distrust of adults and undermines the possibility of experiencing normal sexual relationships; a disease that can have profound implications for an individual's future health by increasing the risk of problems such as substance abuse, sexually transmitted diseases, and suicidal behavior (Crowell & Burgess, 1996); a disease that replicates itself by causing some of its victims to expose future generations to its debilitating effects. Imagine what we, as a society, would do if such a disease existed. We would spare no expense. We would invest heavily in basic and applied research. We would devise systems to identify those affected and provide services to treat them. We would
Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment – Springer Journals
Published: Sep 30, 2004
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