“Those adults didn’t just sexually harass me; after they were done, they spilled urine over my body…

Clip_12That is the nightly, neverending nightmare of (pseudonym) Dao-Dou Bin, a child sex abuse victim being counselled at the Garden of Hope Foundation’s Dandelion Centre.

The Garden of Hope Foundation (GOH) notes that there are many cases of hidden child sex abuse in Taiwan, as victims feel mute and unable to seek help. In fact, GOH estimates that the helpless victims of these cases number over 10,000 people.

According to statistics provided by the Ministry of Health and Welfare, a total of 11,086 persons were sexually abused in Taiwan in 2014, some 7,044 (63.54%) of whom were minors under the age of 18. Among these minors, 844 persons were abused by family members (either direct relatives or collateral relatives).

GOH has analyzed child sex abuse cases where the victims were abused by family members or persons known to family members.

The victims of child sex assault may be male or female; the most likely abusers are fathers, followed by the cohabiting partners of mothers and other family members, as well as relatives.

Over half of victims were sexually abused at home for over two years; some were first molested and sexually harassed as kindergarten-aged children. A significant portion of victims were neglected at home or from divorced families.

It is important to treat child sex abuse victims early and to provide them with specialized counselling. Victims are afraid to seek help and are often neglected during their early years; if this results in delayed treatment for child sex abuse, treatment times become prolonged due to extended exposure to the effects of abuse and increased complexity.

Although victims are rarely diagnosed with post-traumatic stress syndrome, they may display physical symptoms such as headaches, bodily aches, pain associated with their reproductive organs, and problems with urination or defecation, as well as early sexual maturation, highly active sexual behavior or even promiscuity. They may also display emotional symptoms such as emotional instability, such as sudden rage, sudden crying, and phobias.

Unfortunately Bin Dao-Dou suffered child sex assault that resulted in enormous stress in her life. Under the guidance of a counsellor, she learned to express her emotions by painting. She locked her artwork in a safe at the Centre, and told her nightmares; “Don’t come to me. Go to the counselling centre.” Although her nightmares still return intermittently, the disturbance to her has already dwindled. In order to help her live a better life and to encourage her to persevere, GOH continues to guard all of her nightmares.

GOH notes that child sex abuse also exerts a significant negative impact on victims’ family members – for instance, the trauma and stress associated with social judgment. Family members also need receptive listeners and understanding; after receiving others’ help and support that family members can become cheerleaders for themselves and their children, with the ability to appropriately utilise resources along the path to healing. GOH believes that families have the strength and tenacity to recover; children possess the ability to heal, and to learn how to let go and restore their lives.

According to the Foundation, upon the discovery of child sex abuse, victims face a long road to recovery after the intervention of health and social welfare authorities. At that point in time, victims’ greatest need is for counselling services to transform them from victims to survivors, and to bring them closer to becoming advocators and winners. At present, the Dandelion Counselling Centre has a long waiting list. But with additional counsellors and increased financial support, the Centre hopes to ease the shortage of counselling resources in the south, central and east regions of Taiwan and establish a Dandelion Counselling Centre branch in the rural part of the east coast Region.

The “Dandelion Soaring Plan” needs to raise fifteen million TWD in order to serve more children who suffered child sex abuse and to increase needed counselling resources. Yi-Jin Li, the ambassador of the Dandelion Soaring Plan, encourages everyone to protect and console children that have suffered sex abuse; a percentage of the profits from ticket sales for the play “Hot Girl Goes To School” (La Mei Shang Xue Qu) will be donated to the Dandelion Counselling Centre. Moreover, Taiwan Taxi, EASECOX Group, Soft-World and other companies have also agreed to act as sponsors due to their shared concern for women and children that have suffered child sex abuse.