Los Angeles, CA, December 24, 2011 --(PR.com
)-- Psychologists and social services counselors say it may be the most difficult and gut wrenching step a child or teenager ever takes – to bravely speak up and fight back against the predator sexually victimizing them. Yet, astonishingly, criminal justice system experts admit that many molesters are never charged, go unpunished, and remain on the loose. To provide a platform for victims to fight back, Victims Get Vocal, a national non-profit has been launched with the mission of creating pressure on law enforcement and seeking justice on behalf of millions of those impacted by this heinous crime.
Launched by Zoie Brown, a 19-year-old Santa Barbara, Calif. teen recovering from four years of sexual abuse at the hands of her father, Victims Get Vocal grew out of her family’s own unsuccessful efforts in persuading police and the district attorney to bring charges. Outraged and frustrated, Zoie and her mother Christen Brown say they created the non-profit to serve as a public platform to give voice to the millions of exploited children too afraid to speak out.
“Most people are stunned to learn how difficult it can be for young victims to see their attackers prosecuted or even charged,” says Zoie Brown, spokesperson for the grassroots organization. “It’s rather telling that currently there are no comprehensive national statistics being kept on the number of prosecutions for child sexual abuse. Sadly, to the news media and society as a whole, is that the widespread sexual abuse of children by people they know is the last taboo and this topic often remains off limits.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control, one out of 3 girls and one out of 6 boys will experience some form of sexual abuse before the age of 18, affecting children of all ages, races, ethnicities, and economic backgrounds.
“The FBI admits that child molestation is one of the most under-reported crimes with just 1 in 10 ever being filed for investigation,” Christen Brown points out. “Even when charges are brought against predators, far too often plea bargaining and various legal tactics are brought to bear by the defense attorney, resulting in no meaningful prosecution. Victims Get Vocal wants to work with law enforcement to bring about better representation of the rights of victims and their families.”
Despite pervasive media coverage of the sexual abuse of children by clergymen and most recently the alleged incidents committed by Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, the Browns say the public is just waking up to the fact that most children are abused by someone they know and trust.
Zoie Brown points out that according to the US Department of Justice, more than 90 percent of juvenile sex abuse victims know their molesters in some way and almost fully one-third of child sexual abuse offenders are relatives. Furthermore, Ms. Brown points out that multiple national studies have found that most reports filed with child protective service organizations and the police by victims and their families are “screened out” for various reasons with little or no investigation.
“I think the epidemic of sexual abuse of children is just starting hit the public consciousness which is why the mission of Victims Get Vocal is so timely,” Zoie states. “I have learned so much in the last four years dealing with my own sexual abuse and I want to reach as many victims as possible. Speaking out is the best way for victims to overcome the pain and shame of what they’ve experienced. It’s not only therapeutic but essential for real progress to be made toward seeing a much higher percentage of these crimes being prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
About Victims Get Vocal
Founded by national spokesperson Zoie Brown, Victims Get Vocal is dedicated to serving families impacted by incest and the sexual abuse of minors. Research clearly indicates that the molestation of minors continues to remain one of the most under-reported crimes today and far too often predators are neither charged nor prosecuted. As a fiercely independent and aggressive victim’s rights advocacy group, Victims Get Vocal operates as a 501(c)(3) non-profit grassroots campaign with the goal of helping bring justice to the millions of children and teenagers that have suffered the pain and terror of sexual abuse and exploitation.
In addition to reaching out to adults and children with its website, social media and publicity programs to educate the public about the emotional trauma of this heinous crime, Victims Get Vocal is dedicated to holding law enforcement and the justice system accountable. For more information, visit www.VictimsGetVocal.com.