Child Abuse

Kidnapped Amish Sisters Were Sexually Abused And It’s Awful That The World Now Knows It

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Last Wednesday evening, a pair of young girls were kidnapped from their family farm stand in Upstate NY. It has now been revealed that the Amish sisters were sexually abused by their captors and I am sick to my stomach. I have been following this story and had hoped against hope that maybe the disgusting couple who took them had not done anything to them yet aside from the kidnapping and this new information makes my heart ache. After processing my initial disgust, my next thought was, why do we have to know this? Their names had already been revealed from the story of their kidnapping (and I won’t put them in this post) and now everyone will know this intensely private and traumatizing information.

I understand the news value of this story and I also realize that by posting it here I am perpetuating the very thing I am railing against but since the AP has picked it up you will all read about it whether I post this or not. I suppose it is a blessing that these girls live the way they do- away from modern technology and protected by that anonymity from the prying eyes of the public. If details of an attack were revealed for the average survivor of sexual assault, living in a world full of 24-hour news networks, Twitter, Facebook and millions of other avenues of information, there would be literally no escaping everyone knowing your name, your face and whatever sordid details the press reveals to the general public. I know most news outlets decline to reveal the names of those who may be the victims of sexual assault but the names of these girls were already in the news. I just don’t see why the public needs to know this new information.

In recovering from sexual assault, many girls and women suffer post-traumatic stress and episodes of anxiety. I can only imagine how much worse it would be to have those terrible memories to work through and to also know that anyone who had seen the news would know what had happened to you. How is someone supposed to recover and move on when their very private situation has been made incredibly public? How can they go back to work or school, especially knowing how many victims of sexual assault are blamed, either blatantly or covertly, for what happened to them?

I can only hope very hard that these girls are allowed to return to their lives and live them as normally as possible and to also be afforded any and all forms of therapy that may help them work through this horrible trauma. I know the Amish typically shun modern technology and stay very insular so I hope the law enforcement officials working on this case help to ensure that these little girls get the help they need to recover. In the meantime, it would be great if the press could take a step back and allow these girls privacy in their journey to recovery. It would also be great if we could train the spotlight on their captors and be sure they are punished to the fullest extent of the law.

(Image: Vladislav Gajic/Shutterstock)