Call it the Sandusky effect. There has been an increase in sex abuse reporting since the Penn State/Jerry Sandusky scandal made national headlines. Oftentimes, these reports are being made by victims who claimed abuse decades ago.
While advocates say there tends to be a noticeable increase in sex abuse reporting following most national stories, they say that there has been an extraordinary boost in reporting since the Sandusky story, reports the Charlotte Observer.
The reasons for the increased reporting can range from empowerment when victims realize they are not the only ones to guilt when victims realize that other potential victims may be assaulted if they do not step forward.
The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) says that the majority of the victims calling in have been male victims of childhood sexual abuse. These are the same types of victims who were abused by Jerry Sandusky. Chillingly, it was reported that one in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually assaulted in their lifetimes, reports the Observer.
As victims of sex abuse step forward, prosecution against the alleged abusers will depend upon state laws and how long ago the abuse happened.
Some states like New York have a statute of limitations for child sex abuse that require criminal charges to be brought within a certain period of time. Other states like North Carolina have no statute of limitations for prosecuting sexual abuse of children.
So while the increase in sex abuse reporting may not result in the prosecution of every alleged sexual molester, it can bring publicity to the crime and help prevent future acts of child sex abuse.