The facts are shocking.

One in 10 children will be the victim of sexual abuse before their 18th birthday. Despite this startling statistic, it’s a silent epidemic that people are afraid to talk about.

To prevent abuse, we have to break through the stigma and shame, and talk about how the sexual abuse of children happens. It’s the only way we will be able to stop what is arguably the number one health crisis that children face today.

To Stop Child Sexual Abuse, We Must Understand It

Child sexual abuse takes many forms, and they aren’t just physical. At its core, child sexual abuse is any sexual act between an adult and a minor, or between two minors when one exerts power over the other. It also includes non-contact acts such as exhibitionism, exposure to pornography, and voyeurism. Child sexual abuse can occur anywhere. It happens in places like homes, neighborhoods, schools, and youth sports environments, but it also occurs online, such as child pornography or communicating in a sexual manner by phone or internet.

What we know:

  • It can happen to anyone – even friends and family around you. Even a child you know and love. Even your own child.
  • The financial, social, and emotional costs are incalculable. Not just on the victim and their family, but on society as a whole.
  • Child sexual abuse is not the problem of just one socio-economic status, culture, race, religion, or gender. It impacts EVERY community and EVERY person across the globe.


Darkness to Light believes that adults are responsible for the safety of children and should be taking proactive steps to protect children from this significant risk. It is unrealistic to think that a young child can take responsibility for fending off sexual advances by an adult. Adults are the ones who need to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse. Yet, the statistics clearly show that adults aren’t shouldering this responsibility. We believe that adults want to, they just don’t know how.

How we can prevent child sexual abuse:

“This is not simply an issue for one family or community – it is a public health issue that affects society as a whole. As a leader in child sexual abuse prevention, Darkness to Light provides tools and resources that educate and empower adults to prevent abuse, recognize the signs, and take action to protect children.”

Dr. Regina Benjamin, Former United States Surgeon General