Everyone agrees that sexual abuse constitutes an impediment to a victim’s spiritual, physical and psychological development.As things presently are, child sexual abuse has become a major public health issue. Only a few persons may argue the fact that it is a deviation from Nature’s guiding principles.The topicality of the subject requires that every parent and caregiver understands what amounts to it, and then learn basic ways of prevention. Sadly, many an adult still wallows in ignorance of the true meaning of child sexual abuse. To many, sexual abuse occurs only when penetration takes place. Many cases of abuse which were otherwise preventable, have occurred due to this misunderstanding.
What does it mean to sexually abuse a child? It is the exploitation of a child (in any form) by an adult or a bigger child for the sexual gratification of the bigger person or someone else.
Sexual abuse on young people usually happens in progression. A molester would monitor a victim’s reaction at every stage.Sex offenders usually begin by gaining a child’s trust and friendship. This is followed by a ‘test’ of the child’s ability to defend him or herself. Such test may be in the form of sexual jokes, back rubs, pecks or sexual games. Being ignorant (thanks to the inability/unwillingness of many parents to equip them with necessary information), many children usually appear comfortable or curious about this type of ‘play’. Encouraged by a child’s curiosity or silence, an offender graduates to more direct sexual activities like kissing and fondling of the private organs.Depending on the setting, this level of abuse may take weeks or months before the molester progresses to more intrusive sexual acts…oral, vaginal, or anal penetration.
Is sexual abuse always a physical touching activity? No, it is not.There are contact (touching) and non-contact (non-touching) forms of child sexual abuse. Among many others, the touching aspect of sexual abuse includes:
• Touching or playing with a child’s genitals for sexual gratification
• Forcing or enticing a child to touch someone else’s genitals, or playing sexual games
• Kissing, fondling, et cetera.
• Having sexual intercourse (oral, anal or vaginal) with a child or putting objects (like finger) into a child’s genitals anus for the sexual pleasure of an adult or other unnecessary purposes.
The non-contact sexual abuse includes:
• Exposing a child to pornography
• Exposing an adult’s genitals to a child deliberately or masturbating before a child
• Asking children to interact sexually with one another
• Photographing a child in sexual poses
• Staring at a child lustfully when he or she is undressed, either when bathing or changing clothes.
• Exposing a child to adult sexual acts either in person or through the use of technology.
• Exposing a child to age-inappropriate films.
• Dressing before a child.
• Making, downloading or viewing sexual images of children on the internet.
Whenever child sexual abuse is mentioned, many parents and adults consider their children safe in so far as there are no strangers around their homes. Many parents and minders of children are unaware of the fact that engaging in adults’ discussion before children and undressing before a child are all forms of sexual abuse. One is often moved to tears by the inconsiderate attitude of many parents and adults who ignore the age restriction warning of film producers to expose children to very sensitive adult scenes.
Any wonder many parents get confused when told that they abuse their children? Shouldn’t every parent and caregiver lead the campaign against child sexual abuse in his vicinity? Can this be achieved without a proper understanding of the subject?
Charity must begin at home. The campaign against child sexual abuse should begin in the home.
Let every parent and adult take responsibility for the safety and well-being of children around them. A little here, a little there. If you play your role and I play mine, the world will be safer for children.