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Gary Anderson directs MSU’s School of Social Work, and Denise Busley is co-founder of Grand Traverse Pie Company. They’re both advocates for children, and they’re urging more of us to have the genuine and candid conversations about child sex abuse that are often difficult for families and communities to have.

“The numbers are frightening,” says Anderson. “One out of four girls and one out of six boys have been sexually abused in some shape or form and those numbers haven’t changed much over the years.”

What’s less prevalent, says Anderson, is the conversation and mobilizing society against it.

“The silence is what’s throwing our children under the bus every single day,” says Busley. “But every time I open my mouth about it I feel like I could save a child.”

Anderson says that 90 percent of the perpetrators are known to their victims with 30 to 40 percent coming from within the victim’s extended family.

“It’s a convoluted, complex, octopus of an issue,” says Busley. “However the message can be very simple: it’s up to adults to find out what this looks like and to protect our kids.”

Anderson says that just bringing the issue to light serves as a preventative. And Busley says the national attention brought on by high-profile incidents can help make it easier to talk about the issue.

“When victims feel like they can come forward and free their soul that’s been trapped since they were a child, that goes a long way toward helping a multitude of kids,” adds Busley.

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