I began researching aspects of sexual abuse in 1990 as a graduate student. Over twenty-five years later, I’m still here and still responding—most often—to the same question: How could someone sexually abuse a child?
My goal is to change that first, basic question from one that tries to understand what’s already happened to one that looks forward: How can we prevent that? It is past time to put our focus on prevention rather than relying solely on reactive intervention. This is not a new message—many, including our Center’s Scientific Advisory Board members have promoted the merits of preventing childhood victimization for decades. But now, more than ever, this is a message that seems to resonate, and we need to keep this momentum going.
Of course, just saying that child sexual abuse is preventable is insufficient. We must demonstrate it. As experts in the field of child sexual abuse prevention, we at the Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse must be thorough, exacting and willing to take on projects and subject matter that many might find uncomfortable.
Through research and exploration comes a better understanding of the causes of child sexual abuse and clarity on the pathways toward prevention and intervention. And, quite honestly, I love this work and the wonderful cadre of people who are in it.
This month we celebrated our anniversary, and as we head into our third year, I feel confident that the growth we’ve experienced so far will allow us to explore new projects and identify new areas for research and development in the coming years. Namely, we have new projects to launch, policies on which to advise and the ever-present need to energize and excite our base of supporters to make funding this research possible. We have a lot to look forward to.
I remain sincerely grateful to the individuals, foundations and federal agencies that support our mission, and I look forward to many more successful and productive years to come.