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Child Sexual Abuse ~ Let's Shatter The Silence!

According to the Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network (RAINN) parents are surrounded by messages about child sexual abuse. Talk shows and TV news warn parents about dangers at school, in the home and on the Internet. Despite all the media coverage, parents don’t get much advice about how to talk to their children about sexual abuse and how to prevent it.

Child sexual abuse can take place within the family, by a parent, step-parent, sibling or other relative; or outside the home, for example, by a friend, neighbor, child care person, teacher, or stranger. When sexual abuse has occurred, a child can develop a variety of distressing feelings, thoughts and behaviors.

No child is psychologically prepared to cope with repeated sexual stimulation. Even a two or three year old, who cannot know the sexual activity is wrong, will develop problems resulting from the inability to cope with the overstimulation.

The child of five or older who knows and cares for the abuser becomes trapped between affection or loyalty for the person, and the sense that the sexual activities are terribly wrong. If the child tries to break away from the sexual relationship, the abuser may threaten the child with violence or loss of love. When sexual abuse occurs within the family, the child may fear the anger, jealousy or shame of other family members, or be afraid the family will break up if the secret is told.

A child who is the victim of prolonged sexual abuse usually develops low self-esteem, a feeling of worthlessness and an abnormal or distorted view of sex. The child may become withdrawn and mistrustful of adults, and can become suicidal.

Some children who have been sexually abused have difficulty relating to others except on sexual terms. Some sexually abused children become child abusers or prostitutes, or have other serious problems when they reach adulthood.

Often there are no obvious external signs of child sexual abuse. Some signs can only be detected on physical exam by a physician.

Sexually abused children may also develop the following:

  • unusual interest in or avoidance of all things of a sexual nature
  • sleep problems or nightmares
  • depression or withdrawal from friends or family
  • seductiveness
  • statements that their bodies are dirty or damaged, or fear that there is something wrong with them in the genital area
  • refusal to go to school
  • delinquency/conduct problems
  • secretiveness
  • aspects of sexual molestation in drawings, games, fantasies
  • unusual aggressiveness, or
  • suicidal behavior

Child sexual abusers can make the child extremely fearful of telling, and only when a special effort has helped the child to feel safe, can the child talk freely. If a child says that he or she has been molested, parents should try to remain calm and reassure the child that what happened was not their fault. Parents should seek a medical examination and psychiatric consultation.

Parents can prevent or lessen the chance of sexual abuse by:

  • Telling children that if someone tries to touch your body and do things that make you feel funny, say NO to that person and tell me right away
  • Listening to their children and encouraging them not to keep secrects from you
  • Being careful of who they leave their children with
  • Teaching children that respect does not mean blind obedience to adults and to authority, for example, don’t tell children to, Always do everything the teacher or baby-sitter tells you to do
  • Encouraging professional prevention programs in the local school system

Sexually abused children and their families need immediate professional evaluation and treatment. Child and adolescent psychiatrists can help abused children regain a sense of self-esteem, cope with feelings of guilt about the abuse, and begin the process of overcoming the trauma. Such treatment can help reduce the risk that the child will develop serious problems as an adult.

DID YOU KNOW?

  • Experts estimate that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused before their 18th birthdays. This means that in any classroom or neighborhood full of children, there are children who are silently bearing the burden of sexual abuse.
  • Approximately 20% of the victims of sexual abuse are under age eight.
  • 50% of all victims of forcible sodomy, sexual assault with an object, and forcible fondling are under age twelve.
  • Most child victims never report the abuse. Sexually abused children who keep it a secret or who “tell” and are not believed are at greater risk than the general population for psychological, emotional, social, and physical problems, often lasting into adulthood.
  • As many as 60% are abused by people the family trusts- abusers frequently try to form a trusting relationship with parents.
  • Nearly 40% are abused by older or larger children.
  • People who abuse children look and act just like every one else. In fact, they often go out of their way to appear trustworthy to gain access to children.
  • Those who sexually abuse children are drawn to settings where they can gain easy access to children, such as sports leagues, faith centers, clubs, and schools.

Would this advice have made a difference in your own childhood?  Anything else you’d care to add to the list? Comments are open below.


Credits

http://www.rainn.org,

http://www.darkness2light.org

http://www.aacap.org

http://healthequitymatters.blogspot.co.uk


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Woman.NG

Woman.NG is the Web, for the Nigerian woman, by Nigerian women. We write, aggregate and curate stories, opinions, profiles, advice, tips, videos and news from women to Nigerian women

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  1. this child sexual abusers are called pedophile and they should be severely punished when caught.

    most parent don’t notice on time because sometimes they don’t have deep intercourse with the kids, they make them perform sexual acts like caressing, sucking etc on them, and sometimes they do that on the child too. however they are some that actually have penetration with the kids. parents can always watch out for physical and non physical signs in the children like it as been listed in the article above.
    parents must be very vigilant because prevention is always better than cure!

  2. Wow, the statistics are shocking!

  3. Thank God , someone is finally talking about it , this is one evil that has for ages crept into homes and unfortunately parents are not aware of it .
    I was a victim of sexual abuse when i was growing up , first by our maid and later by cousins, it was a nightmare , i went and am still going through counselling , reoreintation and deliverance. it’s what i dont wish for my worst enemy , sexual abuse is like destroying the entire being of someone . Parents should always be on guard and constantly ask God for help . I was able to come out of it sane by God’s grace , some kids may not be that favoured.

  4. good to hear this in public. the sad story is, publicizing the need to go public wont change much. it will maybe change the life of 1 in 200 of these poor kids, but i am not to optimistic on how much impact it would have. our society thrives on secrecy and somehow celebrates such “wrong doings”. i may sound a bit bitter, maybe cos i am one of the victims that the bias and code of silence has affected negatively. I havent survived it yet, though God is working sthing mighty fierce in me. I just wish i could stop the next Funke from having my experience.

  5. funke , i greatly feel you , because i have been there , and sometimes i go thru the pain . It’s so intense , no one tends to understand you , sometimes it’s even as if one is going insane , as you so many conflicting voices in your head. But funke , always know that we are not alone at all , God loves us , He allowed it to happen to us cos He knows we will come through it and glorify Him. Hold on to Him , start speaking out His word , never stop speaking to your feminity ,ask God to restore your feminity , Funke, He will , hold Him Faithful because He has promised . Just keep holding on and know that millions like you , like me are holding on to Him that He is able to save us.

  6. Very sobering stats…Not shocking to me unfortunately, but sobering nonetheless.

    I’ve heard too many horror stories. My very good friend told me he was also abused for a long time while he was working under a priest (Not by the priest, by someone else working there). He was just a little boy and didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t believe it. It is much much more common that we know.

    It’s sobering, but certainly good to talk about it – reminding each other to stay alert and be proactive especially when it comes to our little ones! God help us all!

    Thanks for sharing!

  7. Just read the previous comments – So so sorry to hear what you guys experienced and what some of you are still going through today. My heart goes out to you. Praying along with you and anyone else going through this…. praying for complete healing, strength and restoration for you! Amen!

  8. ds is really sad 2 hear.Well, thanks 4 bringin up ds issue probably pple dt papetrat ds act wil stp nd i pray dt God wil comfort d victims.

  9. I guess it is high the we had a toll free line and sensitize people about this. I can tell you it is a bad experience to go through. I went through it.It took me very long before i started appreciating my body. Cant still bring myself to make love to my boyfriend cause i think it will just create flash backs.
    Went to counseling to overcome it. This is in our society and we need to fight it

  10. golda_01@yahoo.com' miss tee Reply to miss

    Thank God issues like this are being talked about…i think the pedophiles also have issues, deeply rooted in their upbringing, if not what satisfaction can u possibly get from molesting a lil kid?!?? sigh…i guess i still feel the anger from my own gory experience; but thank God for his grace, and thank God for all who have been through that and still came out strong, and God bless u femmelounge for sharing.

  11. i really appreciate people coming out to share their experiences. It’s so sad to know that this evil is happening in our society. Let us just put our unfailing trust in God and for we victims keep on proclaiming our victories in Jesus Christ. The truth is that ,i have learnt to forgive those who did this , but the evil one comes around to taunt us that we may end up useless and like our abusers, but you know what he has failed because in Christ we’ve become new beings.

  12. misi_jim@yahoo.com.au' yemisi adesina Reply to yemisi

    mmh……….. Thank God its finally now in the open. I have 2 gals and i just wish i can be there with them everywhere. However, we parents need to be alert at all times. Don’t overlook anyone, be alert and immediately rebuke you see any compromises, so people that do this will not think you can’t know what’s going on. Furthermore, its only God that can truly heal……. May God heal all those that are hurting and give them brand new hearts…… God bless.

  13. atunbioye@yahoo.com' Akinrinde Funke Reply to Akinrinde

    To all that has experienced any sexual abuse of any kind, just see yourself as dead to it and alive in Christ.
    Though the memories will stay forever but thank God you’re out of it so dont allow the devil put you in that distressed mood forever, help every child,every teenage and as many as you can talk to so they dont go through the same trauma you went through. Stay blessed

  14. Tp20102002@yahoo.com' Temi Okubote Reply to Temi

    Atlas! This are the kind of things we need to bring to the public and also give credence to. The truth is most parents have failed in these quest so the question we should be asking ourselves is ”what next”? I mean what can be done to reduce this menace.well i will say since the parents are not matured enough or not well equipped for this task, i think we should take this issues to does involved i mean we the kids. You will be surprised at what a 13yr old knows about sex. So why not let’s take this good tidings to our schools from primary to the university. Also we need to equip our counsellors on these and also re-introduce them in our schools and make it mandatory for every students to visit the counsellors. Thanx

  15. Tp20102002@yahoo.com' Temi Okubote Reply to Temi

    Funke and Abosede do you know that sometimes experience helps alot in tackling issues like these? You guys admitting that you’ve being through these is a sign that you are overcoming it. You can also make a difference by not allowing the next funke to get into these and how? In your place of work, church,street,family,and school there is always an underage girl who is about to fall into these same trap take time to talk to one of them,gain their trust even share experience and you will be amazed at the result you get. I.e in akure were i school i discovered that the easiest way to catch a prey(sorry i use that) is through hawking. I tried it and discovered that these young girl did not even care ones the money is right so i had to take time to talk to this little girl about the dangers inherent. Am still following her progress. You can do thesame.

  16. I am grateful for any website that lends a voice to survivors of child sexual abuse. (Especially for and about women as they are the ones who are targeted for sexual abuse more than men) For a perspective from a male survivor please see my blog.

    http://addresschildsexualabuse.blogspot.com/

  17. Hmmmmm…. Thoughtful piece.

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