Children Have a Voice with Gregory Zarzaur and Zarzaur, Mujumdar & Debrosse.
Published: January 29, 2016
Jerry Sandusky. Roman Polanski. Warren Yerger Sr. While you might not be as aware of the last two names, the first one probably means something to you. Though many others are not “famous,” they are all convicted child abusers.
Gregory Zarzaur, an attorney with Zarzaur, Mujumdar & Debrosse, along with his partners, has made it his life’s work to bring child abusers to justice by aiding the legal system, and to also give a voice to the abused through civil action.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children reports that there are currently 617,000 registered sex offenders in the U.S., and typically 100,000 of those are unaccounted for. Other pedophiles are not on records or in databases. Sadly, reports indicate that only about 10 percent to 20 percent of child sex abuse victims ever come forward, yet one in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused before reaching 18, and 20 percent of child sex abuse victims are under the age of eight, Zarzaur says.
“It is important that parents and other family members or guardians understand that Alabama has one of the shortest statute of limitations in the entire country for filing a civil lawsuit on behalf of a child that has been sexually abused,” Zarzuar explains. “Disclosure is important for a multitude of reasons.”
Because most survivors don’t understand the psychological hold being sexually abused has on them until adulthood, Zarzaur says, damage and harm is done, and it changes their life forever. Sadly, too, Zarzaur adds, where there is one victim, there’s usually many more.
Unfortunately, Zarzaur says he sometimes gets calls from people in their 30s and 40s, and he has to tell them there is nothing they can do, because of the time factor. That’s why it is so important to educate parents about the signs of sexual abuse and when to act, so that it will stop, predators will be exposed and hold both the predators and enablers accountable.
A recent CDC study found that the total lifetime estimated financial costs associated with just one year of confirmed cases of child maltreatment (which includes sexual abuse) is approximately $124 billion. The lifetime cost for each victim who lived was $210,012.
“Effects on the victim in the short term (up to two years) include regressive behaviors (thumb-sucking and bed-wetting in younger children), sleep disturbances, eating problems, behavior and/or performance problems at school and unwillingness to participate in school or social activities,” Zarzaur explains. “Longer-term effects may be wide-ranging, to include anxiety-related self-destructive behaviors such as alcoholism or drug abuse, anxiety attacks and insomnia.”
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