Child Sexual Abuse happens when a child is abused sexually by an adult or an adolescent. This might be done for the latter’s pleasure and sexual gratification. This crime actually happens all over the world. However, one thing that creates more trouble is the way in which their parents react.
Various researchers including Andy Beckett report that most victims’ parents respond in the following ways:-
- They get extremely scared and worried about their kids.
- They deny that this incident could have happened at all!
Around 18-50% of the nation’s children have experienced it in some form. Half of the molesters were found to be family members. Furthermore, someone from the family knew that the child was being molested in 80% of the cases.
Are all children at risk of Child Sexual Abuse?
Cases of male Child Sexual Abuse aren’t talked about very often. However, they do happen! Researchers find little difference in the actual occurrence of Child Sexual Abuse with reference to the gender of the victim. As a matter of fact, boys were often found to be more probable victims of such abuse.
Further evidence suggests that male victims are more likely than female victims to have experienced same-sex molestation, greater violence, and physical harm during the abuse. They are also more likely to have been victimized by multiple molesters. 13 to 61% of children who come out of the closet as lesbians, gays, homosexuals, transsexuals, and queer are abused sexually. This becomes a part of hate-motivated violence towards them.
How will Child Sexual Abuse affect the victim?
Such an experience naturally affects the victims by making them regress to old behavior patterns. They may also lose trust in elders and start to fear people. Furthermore, they may face difficulties in forming social relations. The victims may develop faulty ideas of their sexual identity as well as the process of intercourse. They may also suffer from Depression, addictions and Anxiety Disorders. Some might even make attempts at suicide! Click here to read more about the effects of child sexual abuse on the life of the victim.
How can you help such a child talk about the incidence?
It is important to respond in the right way to every incidence of Child Sexual Abuse? Here are a few tips for the same:-
- Look out for symptoms: If the child has suddenly become cranky, shows signs of regression, seems extremely afraid of someone or a certain type of people, has trouble sleeping and seems to have withdrawn etc. something might be troubling them. If you are unable to address it alone, a Child Psychologist can be of help.
- Be open to what your child is trying to tell you: It is usually very difficult for a child to talk about their abuse. However, they’ll mostly be hurt by the experience to a great extent because it never feels okay -MOST CERTAINLY NOT TO KIDS. Listen to your child if he or she is trying to express any matter or experience that is even remotely related to abuse. We all want to think the child is making it up to protect ourselves from the pain of facing this harsh reality. Sadly, closing our eyes won’t drive this monster away.
- A child won’t always talk about it: Many children are unable to talk about such experiences out of shame, fear, or just not knowing how to “talk” about it. They may be unbelievably young in some cases. However, they might express themselves through drawing, play etc. Be sensitive to any abnormal changes in these areas. Once identified, address the issue immediately with great care.
What to do once your child has faced child sexual abuse?
- Help the child understand it’s not their fault – Usually, the molesters make the child feel like it’s their fault and the world will hate that child if he or she talks about what happened. Help the child understand they are not at fault and will be loved nonetheless. Also, help them feel more protected. Distancing them from the molester is CRUCIAL.
- The molester MUST be punished- It doesn’t matter whether the molester was a stranger or a dear one. He or she deserves punishment for harming the child REGARDLESS OF ANY EXCUSE WHATSOEVER. The process may easy in cases and hurtful in others. Nevertheless, a crime committed by a dear one is just as harmful, if not more so.
- Consult a therapist- Such experiences are certainly traumatizing for the child, even if he or she seems to be too small to understand it. It is very important to take the help of a counselor and/or Child Psychologist to help the child deal with the trauma in a healthy manner so that no further harm is caused by it and the child goes on to lead a better life.
We may thus conclude that Child Sexual Abuse can happen to any child. No matter how difficult it seems to accept, even your own child may be a victim. In fact, they may even have been made a victim of this crime again and again! This trauma would cause their behavior change in certain ways. Furthermore, their suffering might continue throughout their lives in the absence of help.
You can make a difference in such a child’s life- even more so if the child is your own.
Click here to contact a Psychologist and save a survivor of Child Sexual Abuse.