About 75% of sexually abused children keep their ordeal secret for life. Most of the abusers are people known to these kids. They may be their parents, guardians, siblings, teachers, babysitters, neighbors or friends. However, victims are reluctant to disclose their abusers if they are closely related to them. Also, those that hurt these kids may frighten them to keep quiet about the harm done to them. Several signs may suggest a sexual assault on a child. Such a kid may have difficulty sitting or walking and avoids changing clothes in the presence of others. Showing interest in sexual acts, or displaying sexual knowledge beyond their age and avoidance of a particular person without reason are also signs of abuse. A child who is sexually molested by a parent will be scared of going home. Eventually, he or she may run away from home.
Besides the physical injuries sustained during sexual abuse, the resulting trauma has lasting effects. Usually, violated children blame themselves for the crime committed against them. They feel ashamed of themselves. They shy away from others and are angry with themselves because of shame. They believe that exposing the shameful deed of their parents will break up their family. Such effects can either make them loathe sexual intimacy or cause excessive promiscuity. The emotional and psychological effects resulting from sexual molestation in children may affect them all their life. Likewise, health problems associated with violation of children can torment the victims for a long time if not properly treated.
Sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV can affect a child for life. Also, pelvic inflammatory disease can reduce fertility and worsen chronic pelvic pain if not treated on time. Unwanted pregnancy which may lead to unsafe abortion or parental responsibilities may result from sexual assault. Thus, children who are molested sexually by their parents should report their abusers to salvage their future. They should take the following steps to handle the situation properly.
Disclose Abuse: Abuse by parents leads to lack of trust. The fear of being sexually abused by a parent can cause relationship difficulties. If your parents touch your private parts sexually or force you to feel theirs or watch you undress, they are abusing you. You can disclose such advances to avoid emotional damages. You can confide in a friend’s parent, your teacher or the school counselor. Be courageous enough to let an adult know what you are passing through. Usually, it is not easy for a minor to disclose such secrets. Thus, the trusted adult should calm the kid to salvage the situation. The person should assure the child that help will be contacted to handle the situation.
Calm the Child: A responsible adult should calm the traumatized child down. He should let the kid know that he believed the disclosure. However, the person can still ask questions to clarify the report. He should not show his emotions so that the child will not take back the disclosure. If a child denies whatever he or she disclosed, it does not mean that an abuse did not occur. However, the victim may be scared of the abuser. Let the child know that what the abuser did was wrong, but he or she can still live happily and become successful in future. Give instances of famous people that have passed the hurdle that is facing him or her.
Restore Safety: Trauma resulting from sexual molestation can make a child feel unsafe. They lessen their faith in the ability of their parents to protect them if they have abused them. The adult whom the abused child confided in should protect the child and prevent the abuser from causing more damage. Do not embarrass the victim by discussing the ordeal in his or her presence. You should not tell anyone who is not supposed to know about the abuse. Also, help the child to build confidence and control his or her surroundings.
Exoneration from Guilt and Blame: Often, children blame themselves for being abused. Reassure children that disclose sexual assault that they are not responsible for the violence. The guilt of not stopping or revealing such immoral acts immediately should be erased from their minds. The victims are free from blame as they are forced to comply with such sexual acts. The adult implicated in an abuse should take responsibility for his actions. Moreover, an abuser may threaten his victim not to disclose his wrongdoings. Understanding that the person who violates him or she did something wrong can help free a child from self-blame.
Contact Help: When a child discloses sexual abuse by a parent, it is not wise to handle it privately. Special help is needed to deal with the situation. Specialists should be contacted to assist with therapy. Getting support from the outside will prevent further abuse in the family. Most people who abuse children sexually tend to stop when confronted and handled properly. However, dealing with such cases secretly protects them and may encourage them to continue with their immoral behavior. Families should reduce the risk of sexual molestation by parents through active support from specialists when such incident occurs. Help from trained officials can help the victims to recover properly. You can reach professionals trained to handle cases of sexual abuse through their helpline or website.
Sexual assault can have devastating effects on kids. Parents, teachers, guardians and others should take any warning sign of such situation seriously. Report cases of such abuse to the relevant authority, such as children’s social services and the police. These agencies can handle such sensitive situations and ensure that the victim is safe. Sexually abused children should undergo medical examinations. They should be treated to avoid health problems associated with sexual abuse. Moreover, the services of an experienced psychologist are important as the emotional disorder may have lasting consequences on them. Family members should support abused children to facilitate their recovery. Thus, children should disclose sexual abuse to avoid problems.
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