PROTECTING CHILDREN FROM SEXUAL ABUSE
Children are among the most vulnerable groups in the country and around the world. A survey conducted by a humanitarian aid organization, World Vision India revealed in May this year that one in every two children is a victim of sexual abuse.
The survey was conducted across 26 states of the country and covered 12-18 years age-group. It is estimated that children below 12 may have a higher abuse rate. They are more vulnerable age group.
More than 48 percent of girls wished they were boys so that they could escape abuse. But, the study also found that boys (over 54 percent) were at equal risk of abuse as girls. And puzzlingly, persons in trust and authority, including parents, were identified as major child abusers.
Parents’ awareness is a necessary protective arm. The method is they should encourage the children to discuss any matter unusual that happens in the school or the neighborhood.
Parents can help protect their child from sexual abuse by teaching them the important facts and telltale gestures. This coaching must start as soon as they are admitted to the school.
The children should be aware of the following acts:
- They should know what parts are called as private parts and why. They should be aware that genital and buttocks are their private parts. No adult should touch them. If any adult ever touches them in these private places, you advise the children, to report to mummy and daddy immediately. Identify and label male/female private parts. Explain how private parts are different from public parts of the body and why.
- Explain to them that adults or older boys should never ask you to touch these private parts on them. They should know it is a very wrong thing. If an adult asks you to do like that, you should tell mummy and daddy right away.
- Tell them they should tell mommy and daddy immediately if an adult or an older child ever shows his or her private parts or asks to see yours.
- Make them clear that if someone is kissing you or hugging you in a way that feels uncomfortable or funny, or frightening, get away from that person, ask for help and tell mommy or daddy.
Please take your children’s comments about who touches them or makes them feel not so comfortable, very seriously. The sad part is that a great many cases of child sexual abuse perpetrated by friends, closely known relatives or family members.
Please stay on guard and listen to what your children have to say.
Children who disclose their abuse within one month are at a reduced risk for depression.
If your child can talk about the abuse with you, then they are less likely to suffer from depression later in life-related to the abuse. Believe them when they talk to you and LISTEN.
Sexual abuse can be hard to think about and harder to discuss, but it’s important to address these issues and educate yourself so you can teach your child what to watch out. Every step you take, every talk you have, every time you listen – you are protecting your child from sexual abuse.