What is child sexual abuse?
Any sexual act or behavior done by an adult for his/her own pleasure to a child is known as child sexual abuse. The act may include rape, penetration, sodomy, oral sex, fondling, incest, intercourse etc. along with behaviors like spying child undress, bathing, telling dirty stories, undressing oneself and exposing private parts and showing porn movie and pictures to a child. Indulging in child pornography and child prostitution for commercial purposes is also an act of child sexual abuse.
The abuser can be anybody; it can be the parents, step-parents, foster-parents, relatives, family friends, neighbors, teachers, babysitter or even a stranger. Be it anyone but in case of child Sexual abuse, it is never the fault of the child.
Signs that a child may be sexually abused:
- Becomes withdrawn from the normal things in life.
- Does not want to interact with people.
- Does not want to go to school.
- Sudden change in personality; difficult behavior.
- Feels uncomfortable in the midst of family, friends, relatives etc.
- Secretive and depress.
- Having nightmares and insomnia.
- Can't sleep without the lights on.
- Displays of affection inappropriately.
- Unusual interest in things of sexual nature.
- Feels itchy and pain in the private parts.
- Having difficulty walking or sitting.
Children are hesitant to reveal their abuser because of many reasons. Child abuser can be very fearful and may threaten the child. When the very person who molests them is a father or uncle they are scared that they will lose their love or that their family will break up because of them. They feel very dirty and think themselves to be some kind of bad omen. They soon develop a very low self-esteem.
Therefore it is very important to understand those who are the victim of child sexual abuse. If a child had reported that she had been molested, action must be taken then and there. Listen to your child, stay calm and reassure the child that it is not her fault and that you love her very much. Medical examination and psychiatric therapy must be immediately sought.
The long term affect of child sexual abuse:
Child sexual abuse is the main cause of mental problems in adult life. Numerous studies have revealed the association between a history of child sexual abuse and mental health problems in adult life. Research had established that psychological problem had a clear linkage with adults who are victims of child sexual abuse. There is a body of knowledge which links a history of child sexual abuse with higher rates in adult life of depressive symptoms, anxiety symptoms, substance abuse disorders, eating disorders and post-traumatic stress disorders. A more controversial literature links multiple personality disorder with child sexual abuse. Another research revealed that child sexual abuse also results in alcohol abuse.
Though we do not know when sexual abuse will occur, it is important that preventive measures be taken by parents. The following things if followed may prevent chances of Child sexual abuse:
- Tell your child to report immediately if someone tries to behave in a strange way which makes you feel funny and uncomfortable.
- Tell your child to say "NO" and run away if somebody tries to do those thing,
- Tell your child not to talk to strangers,
- Encourage a professional prevention program in the local school system.
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