By: Yusra Arain
Child abuse is a serious issue; the physical, sexual, or emotional damage inflicted upon children can remain with them their whole lives. Here are some myths and facts about child sexual abuse that we tend not to understand in the fullest sense.
Myth: Child sexual abuse is a rare practice.
Fact: Child sexual abuse is not rare. Research indicates that as many as 1 out of 4 girls and 1 out of 6 boys will experience some sort of sexual abuse before the age of 18. However, child sexual abuse by its nature is secretive. Hence, many of these cases are never reported.
Myth: A child is most likely to be sexually abused by a stranger.
Fact: Children are often sexually abused by someone they know and trust. Approximately 3 quarters of reported cases of child sexual abuse are committed by family members or other individuals who are considered part of the victim’s “circle of trust”
Children of all ages, races, ethnicity and economic backgrounds are vulnerable to sexual abuse. Here, we are not talking about someone else’s kid, we are talking about your daughter, we are talking about your son. We are talking about our nieces, our nephews and the kids down the streets. We might even be talking about your own childhood, I don’t know. But I know for sure we are talking about mine.
This is a sensitive yet one of the most important topics, which we tend to ignore but need to talk about. In our homes, in our schools, in our communities, we need to be talking about this. We need to talk about this to our children bluntly, frankly and honestly.
Tips to help protect children from sexual abuse.
- Teach your children accurate names of private body parts.
- Avoid focusing on totally on “stranger danger” remember, most children are abused by someone they know and trust.
- Teach children about safety and difference between “okay” and “not okay” touches.
- Let children know that they have the right to make decisions about their bodies. Empower them to say no when they do not want to be touched.
- Make sure children know that adults and older children never need help with their private body parts. For example, bathing or going to the bathroom.
Remember, you’re not frightening your children. You are making them aware, you are providing them knowledge they need to live boldly and fearlessly. You are also validating to their hearts your own trustworthiness, which may make all the differences in the world if sexual abusers ever dare to come near.
“It is never too early or too late, the best time to talk to your child about sexual abuse is NOW.”