The crime of child sexual abuse is sadly a familiar one to the American public. However, one category of child sexual abuse has largely escaped the public’s attention: child-on-child harmful sexual behavior.
This issue is extremely complex. There is a victim whose life has often been deeply impacted by the abuse and he or she deserves justice. Parents and loved ones experience great sorrow for the victim, and that is compounded when they are parents to the victim and to the abuser. On top of that, the abuse often triggers their own trauma from past sexual abuse they may have experienced. Our judicial and mental health systems tend to treat youth with illegal or problematic sexual behaviors (PSB) as adults. In a number of states, youth who act out on other youth are placed on the sex offender registry for the entirety of their lives with no chance to be removed — some are just eight years old. There are many social stigmas and misunderstandings that treat youth with PSB as “monsters” who are destined to act out again. These issues and more make it difficult to report these cases of abuse and to get help for all involved.
Dawn Hawkins is a passionate abolitionist and defender of human rights who has dedicated her life to fighting against societal harms that threaten the dignity of others. Her energy, creativity and mobilization skills have revived the anti-pornography movement and her intentional emphasis on the intersectionality of forms of sexual exploitation has proven a unique and effective strategy for curbing them.
As Sr. Vice President and Executive Director of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE), Mrs. Hawkins has developed a global strategy, uniting more than 300 women’s rights, conservative, child advocacy, medical professionals, law enforcement, and religious groups, including a bipartisan political leadership, to work together in raising awareness of the connections between all forms of sexual exploitation. Her initiatives have led to sweeping policy changes of policies that foster exploitation for targets such as Google, Hilton Worldwide, Comcast, Walmart, and the Department of Defense. Through her leadership, NCOSE has grown a network reaching hundreds of thousands of people all over the world. Mrs. Hawkins has appeared on many local and national television programs, including Fox & Friends, CNN and Good Morning America. She regularly authors articles and speaks around the country addressing the public health harms of pornography, curbing demand for sex trafficking, protecting children and families in our digital world, and more.
This presentation was given at the 2019 Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation Global Summit. http://endexploitationsummit.com/