It is not your fault!
Sexual abuse occurs when a child is a sexual partner of an adult. Anyone under the age of 18 whom an adult uses for sexual enjoyment is considered a child who is sexually abused.
Child sexual abuse includes touching and non-touching activities.
Touching activities include:
Non-touching activities include:
Children who are victims of sexual abuse can experience devastating long-term emotional and psychological damage. For this reason, sexual abuse should be identified, reported and stopped immediately, and the victim should get professional help.
Child sexual abuse can occur in the family – by a parent, step-parent, sibling or other relative. It’s almost always by someone known by the child. Abusers can also be friends, neighbors, teachers, etc. Nevertheless, the abuse can at times be by a stranger.
Abusers come from all cases, races and religions, and may be homosexual or heterosexual. The majority of them are men.
When a child is sexually abused, they can develop different distressing feelings, thoughts and behaviors, as they are never psychologically prepared to cope with repeated sexual abuse, thus developing problems due to their inability to cope with the abuse.
The child who knows and loves the abuser experiences confusion. They become trapped between loving and trusting that person, and the sense that the sexual activity taking place is not right.
Sexually abused children can be silenced by the abuser who often offers the victim gifts or treats. If they try to break away from the sexual relationship, the abuser may threaten them, especially when sexual abuse takes place in the family and the child fears the anger or shame of other family members, or worry that the family would break up if the sexual abuse is no longer a secret.
There may be other reasons why sexual abuse victims don’t speak up. Very young children or children with special needs may lack the words or means of communication to tell about the abuse taking place.
Any sexually abused child usually develops low self-esteem and a distorted view of sex. They may become withdrawn and suicidal and lose trust in adults. They can even have difficulty relating to others – except with regards to sex. Some of them might even continue the pattern and become sexual abusers or prostitutes themselves, or have other serious issues when they become adults.
Sexual abuse should be considered a possible cause in the event your child displays any of the below signs:
If you suspect a case of sexual abuse, or if your child admits to being sexually abused, do not be afraid to seek help!
When a child has been taught what’s “okay” and what’s “not okay”, and they have self confidence, they are less likely to be a victim of sexual abuse and more willing to report an incident should one occur. To prevent your child from sexual abuse, many steps can be taken. Educating children about their bodies and teaching them what is considered sexual abuse and what is acceptable can help prevent such crimes.
When a kid reports that they are being or have been sexually abused, they are most often telling the truth, as less than 5% of all reports by children are actually false accusations.
Here is what you should do: