By Ashley Martinez
On a quest to create a public service announcement to combat child sexual abuse, my goal was to make a PSA that could relate to a wide audience. When researching and observing popular PSA’s from the past I was very disgruntled, I felt that none gave insight to how common child sexual abuse is, nor illustrated that assaulters are typically people a child knows well, often people with constant access (a parent, relative, or teacher). One popular PSA I found was from the fifties and warned against not trusting strangers, because they could want to molest you (not trusting strangers is understandable, but what about the people you do know), the other PSA I found was from the late 80’s to early 90’s and showed an instance where an older man poured paint on a young boy and began to rub the paint off of the boy (yes, this is child molestation, but what a peculiar situation). I felt the issue with these PSA’s was that it made the subject of child sexual abuse seem so narrow and rare. With my PSA I wanted to make a point of how common child sexual abuse occurs (1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys in America are assaulted before adulthood). I also, did not want to define the assaulter as a particular figure, like a stranger as the older PSA did. After all, the predator could be anyone (man or woman) and in actuality 90% of child molesters are people who’s victims know and trust.
As I began to formulate the PSA, I knew I wanted to deliver the message through the point of view of a child (considering children have a very simple and innocent view of the world)a world full of make-believe, dragons, Princesses, and cowboys. For instance, I remember as a child pretending to be a Princess. For a child, being assaulted causes fear, and demands a quick thrust into reality. No longer may the child be carefree..sadly, they must put up their defenses and be aware of their surroundings. As the Princess in the film’s assaulter approaches, her whole world is shattered and turns black, symbolizing the fact that in many instances child sexual abuse unreported, unknown.When it came to the actual composition of the project, I wanted to use drawings and paintings to maintain the child’s point of view.One goal I wish to achieve with this project, is to get its message heard. The frequency of child sexual abuse in today’s society is extremely high. It is most dire that this subject become less taboo to speak about. As a survivor of child sexual abuse, experiencing such tragedy one can feel extremely alone. If we spread this message, perhaps less victims will feel alone and more will be willing to speak up. Also, if more of the populace are informed on the issue, they can educate their children so we can prevent it. This is an extremely simple step to keeping our children safe, we just need people to execute it.