RAINN Statement on HBO Michael Jackson Child Sexual Abuse Documentary Leaving Neverland

Over the weekend Leaving Neverland, a documentary about allegations of child sexual abuse against Michael Jackson, debuted on HBO. It was followed by Oprah Winfrey Presents: After Neverland. RAINN worked with HBO and OWN to provide resources for anyone watching the shows who has been affected by sexual violence.

“We know that every 9 minutes, a child is sexually assaulted in the United States, and the majority of perpetrators are someone the child or family knows,” said Jodi Omear, vice president of communications. “Survivors of child sexual abuse may experience the effects many years after the abuse occurs, including feeling guilt or shame for not being able to stop the abuse. It's important for survivors to know that the abuse was not their fault, and there is no timeline for healing.”

Leaving Neverland is the most recent in a string of documentaries about sexual assault and child sexual abuse. News, films, or television shows about sexual violence can be difficult to watch, especially for survivors of sexual violence. RAINN offers several resources to help, such as articles like Tips for Survivors on Consuming Media, Self-Care Ideas, Child Sexual Abuse, Adult Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse, and the free, confidental, 24/7 National Sexual Assault Hotline, which is available by phone at 800.656.HOPE (4673) and online at online.rainn.org or in Spanish at rainn.org/es.

“Remember, you don’t have to watch anything you don’t want to, especially about topics that may feel very personal and difficult,” says Omear. “Grounding exercises like yoga or breathing exercises may be helpful—as well as taking a social media break or seeking support from friends, family, or professionals.”

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