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May 1985

The Common Secret: Sexual Abuse of Children and Adolescents

Author Affiliations

C. Henry Kempe National Center 1205 Oneida St Denver, CO 80220

Am J Dis Child. 1985;139(5):505. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1985.02140070079040

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


Few events are more uncomfortable for practitioners than to be faced with clinical situations for which they are inadequately prepared. For years we were blissful in our ignorance of the fact that thousands of the children coming to our offices, clinics, and hospitals were being sexually abused, often within their family. It has always been easier to assume that what we did not know would not hurt.

Now, however, with nearly daily reports of children being sexually molested in day-care centers, in schools, and in their homes, public awareness of "The Common Secret" has surpassed our profession's ability to respond. The vast majority of pediatricians, family physicians, and other health professionals who care for children have had little or no training in the recognition, management, and prevention of sexual abuse of children.

Ruth and C. Henry Kempe's book, The Common Secret: Sexual Abuse of Children and Adolescents will help. It

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