What Must You Know About Child Sexual Abuse?
CHILD ABUSE- everyone's talking about it! But is enough being done to prevent it? While a child may be abused physically, verbally, emotionally…here, we aim to specifically understand Sexual Abuse in children.
What is Child Sexual Abuse (CSA)?
It is often mistaken as only sex in the form of rape, but it is much more than that! It is any forceful activity that is done without the consent of a child. Wikipedia explains child sexual abuse as," Child sexual abuse or child molestation is a form of child abuse in which an adult or older adolescent uses a child for sexual stimulation. Forms of child sexual abuse include asking or pressurizing a child to engage in sexual activities (regardless of the outcome), indecent exposure of the genitals, female nipples, etc.) to a child with intent to gratify their own sexual desires or to intimidate or groom the child, physical sexual contact with a child, or using a child to produce child pornography."
Even the definition makes us shudder, isn't it?
How often do we make time to sit aside and talk to them about their day without mentally being someplace else? Do we know about the uncle who offers them a chocolate every evening in the park or about the bus driver who ushers our kid to the bus? Security of our child is topmost priority for us but can we really be there for them 24/7? Is it enough to just talk to the child about such a topic and leave it up to them to be careful? If you look around with attention, there are plenty of case of child sexual abuse even in our vicinity.
In fact, 1 out of 6 boys and 1 out of 4 girls in India are affected by it. The offenders are more often than not, relatives or acquaintances of the victim than strangers. It includes pedophiles, who are older men and women showing sexual interest in underage children. These offenders are people who merely touch a child inappropriately, make their privates visible to a child or even take pleasure in making, distributing or watching child pornography.
Here's what you can do as parents:
1. Make time for your child. Accept them as they are and make it easy for them to be able to talk to you.
2. Children very often don't find abusive behavior bad till they are hurt by it, so encourage them to talk about their day in detail and listen to the smallest details.
3. Be aware of where your child is at all times.
4. Know the people they meet and talk to every day.
5. Don't ignore your child when they talk about such a situation but believe what they tell you.
6. Teach your child about his private parts.
7. Attend workshops where they educate you about how child sexual abuse goes unnoticed so often and what you can do to change that.
Parents, as well as other adults should be constantly on the lookout for this kind of abusive behavior, in the home as well as outside. And if you witness something that shouldn't be happening, don't turn a blind eye to it just because it's not your child in question. Report it, change it, do something about it!!
MYTHS AND FACTS:
1. MYTH: Only men are abusers
FACT: Women, though not as many in number, are sexual offenders as well. We tend to oversee that young boys are very often the victims of abuse, putting all our focus on our daughters.
2. MYTH: Only girls get abused.
FACT: We ignore young boys who are very often the victims of abuse, putting all our focus on our daughters. We can't ignore the abuse done to them just because they are boys and they need to be rough and tough and learn to deal with their problems on their own.
3. MYTH: My child will tell.
FACT: Children seldom open up about such situations since they do not know what is right and wrong behavior. We need to encourage them to talk about their daily happenings and make them aware as well.
4. MYTH: Abusers are Identifiable.
FACT: Sex offenders are not a certain type of people who exhibit typical characteristics, anyone could be an offender, and especially the people we tend to overlook easily and trust our children with. Be constantly aware of the surroundings you place your child in.
5. MYTH: CSA happens only in slums
FACT: Though children from lower socio-economic class are more vulnerable to CSA, it is by no means exclusive to that group.
6. MYTH: I have attended a Good Touch Bad Touch workshop; my child is now safe.
FACT: There is no guarantee that my child is safe only because I educated and empowered him/her to do so. I need to be aware of what my child does everyday.
To read our complete series on Child Sexual Abuse, click below:
The Essential 5 Step Guide to empower your child against Child Sexual Abuse, All you need to know about the Ill effects of Child Sexual Abuse, How to protect your child him/herself from Child Sexual Abuse, How to find out if your child has been sexually abused?