Sexual abuse of a child occurs when someone touches the private parts of a child’s body without a health or hygiene reason. It can include kissing or having oral, anal or vaginal sex. Sexual abuse can happen to both girls and boys.
Just like in the video shown below. the abuser can be a stranger or someone they know. Most times, it is someone the child knows – like a relative, neighbor or family friend.
Sexual abuse also does not necessarily involve bodily contact. Showing private parts or ‘flashing’ to children, forcing children to view pornographic images and exploiting children for prostitution or pornography are all considered serious criminal forms of sexual abuse.
How to tell when something is wrong
It is often not easy to tell whether a child has been sexually abused. Sexual abuse usually happens in secret, and the child may not report it out of fear, confusion or anger. Some young children may not even realize it is wrong. That is why child sexual abuse often goes undetected.
Effects of child sexual abuse
When a child has been sexually abused, the tell tale signs range from being anxious, fearful, angry, rebellious or withdrawn. Older children may attempt to hurt themselves. Sexual abuse is a confusing, painful and confusing experience for children.
If left untreated, long-term symptoms will manifest in adulthood. These include:
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Depression and suicidal thoughts
Sexual anxiety and disorders
Poor body image and low self-esteem
Addiction to alcohol and drugs, self-mutilation and eating disorders
These unhealthy behaviors are often used to mask the painful emotions associated with sexual abuse.
Keeping your child safe
- One of the best forms of protection is to instill awareness and teach your child how to protect him or herself.
- Talk to your child about the difference between good touching and bad touching. Show how a good touch feels warm and comfortable and a bad touch feels forced and uncomfortable.
- Tell your child that his or her body is private and he or she has the right to say ‘no’ if a grown-up touches him or her in a way that makes him or her feels uncomfortable.
- Stress to your child that if an older person tries to touch the private parts or asks the child to touch the person’s private parts, he or she should say ‘no’ to the person.
- Let your child know that he or she does not always have to obey everything an adult tells him or her to do. This includes family members. Tell your child “It is wrong if a grown-up asks you to lie or steal. Just as it is wrong if a grown-up touches you or asks you to touch his or her private parts.”
- Tell your child he or she should not afraid to alert you if any of these events happen to him or her.
What to do if your child has been sexually abused
Stay calm and reassure your child that you believe him or her and that what happened is not his or her fault. Then take your child to a healthcare professional or hospital right away for a health check. You may also want to make a police report. With treatment and more importantly love and support from parents, a child can recover from the trauma and go on to lead a normal life.
Reporting of suspected child abuseReporting of suspected child abuse is the first positive step in helping to prevent or stop the abuse. Appropriate investigation and intervention will be conducted to prevent further harm to the child.
At the same time, professional assistance will also be provided to the abused child and the family. For further information or for reporting of child abuse, please contact:
Child Protection and Welfare Helpline: 1800-777 0000 (wef from 1 August 2009)
(Monday to Friday, 8.30am-5pm and Saturday, 8.30am-1pm)
Child Protection and Welfare Service
#01-01 to #01-09
512A Thomson Road
or the Police Divisional HQ or the nearest Neighbourhood Police Post
Video that you can let your kid watch
Komal is like any other bright, sensitive and happy 7 year old. Her new neighbour- Mr. Bakshi, who moved in with his wife, is her father’s old friend. Komal bonds with the affable Mr.Bakshi with whom she has a whale of a time. Until, Komal discovers Mr.Bakshi’s bitter reality.(Excerpt from CHILDLINEIndia)
“Image courtesy of arztsamui/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net”
Article’s Contents Came from: Protect your Child From Sexual Abuse from Health Promotion Board and Policy on Protection and Welfare of Children by Ministry of Social and Family Development