Lace up your shoes for child sexual abuse victims who can’t yet tie theirs

In my line of work, I am often horrified – rarely shocked. A survivor myself, I’ve spent nearly two decades fighting to prevent childhood sexual abuse, and consequently live in the world of “terrible awfuls” that most people would rather not think about.

So when a story of horrific child exploitation hits the papers – like the one published last week regarding the arrest of DBPR attorney David Aring for child pornography and a childlike sex doll – my heart aches with the realization that some of the children in those videos were no older than my own toddlers.

But the shockwaves felt by so many are less tremulous for me.

Sadly, I know that one in three girls and one in five boys fall victim to sexual abuse before their 18th birthday. One in five children who touch a computer is solicited for sex, and when a child falls prey to photo or video exploitation, that file spreads like wildfire on the dark web. Children’s advocacy centers around the state are flooded with clients, many not even old enough to tie their own shoes.