Child Sexual Abuse…a child’s no.1 enemy, a parent’s dilemma and an obstacle to a child’s spiritual, physical, emotional and overall development.
Generally, every parent wants the best for his/her child but not every parent does that which ensures a child gets the best. Out of ignorance, fear or misconception many parents and adults have failed to do that which is best for the child, to inoculate a child against sexual abuse – to prevent abuse and to protect the child from it. What is the solution to sexual abuse?
SILENCE! WISHES!! Those are the ‘activities’ of many parents and adults. ‘It can never happen to my child’. Amen, I wish so too. It is my earnest desire that your child and indeed, every child gets to live an abuse-free life. Wishes! Wishes!! Wishes!!! Should we all go to sleep and wait for the children to be protected by our wishes? Surely, prayers do work; but prayer without work is in vain. The truth is, your child could be going through some form of molestation presently, your denial cannot alter this fact.
Look around you. Everyone else is talking about sex, every advert on the television or magazine highlights sex, modern clothing has to be ‘sexy’ and music has to portray sex explicitly in order to rank high on the scale. All these make the path easier for the pedophiles. Do you still think that no practical action is needed to protect the child from sexual abuse? Wake up from your self-induced slumber. You have only a few years to nurture your child’s moral development…don’t waste the opportunity. Act now! Protect your child from sexual abuse. A solution is needed!
How long shall we put off the difficult talk of telling children about those strictly parts of their body? Children hear about molestation in the neighbourhood, every day the media feed them with news about rapes and molestation. And many of them are often molested without knowing so because they are not informed about what constitutes molestation. Meanwhile, the few children who feel that something is wrong about what ‘uncle’ or ‘auntie’ does to them are afraid to report to a parent or an adult. Afraid that… no one will believe them, the parent may get angry and beat them or, as molesters always threaten, they would die if they share their ‘little secret’ with anyone else.
Every parent and adult has a duty to watch over and protect a child from abuse. It is helpful to realise that in most cases, the offender is not a stranger, but a relative or an acquaintance of the family. In preventing abuse therefore, you should watch it when a relation, acquaintance, neighbour, employee, etc suddenly begins to show preference for a particular child:
Buys him/her more gifts than the other children.
Always wants to go on a walk with the child alone.
Often calls the child into his/her own room.
Often prefers the child as his/her game partner.
Prefers visiting your home during the periods that the child is usually the only one at home.
Makes the child sit on his/her even when there are vacant seats. This should be discouraged instantly. Reason? It is a molester’s easiest approach…he/she fondles a child’s body, who at that time would most probably perceive it as mere admiration.
So much to worry about, so much suspicion. Have we lost our freedom? Is there no one to be trusted any longer; are there no true lovers of children who would want to play with them? Sure, there are. But you have a TASK to be inwardly alert…then, you’d be able to perceive whether an admirer is real or not.
However, you must not fail to empower your child…that is the best form of inoculation against sexual abuse. Children need to be given accurate information and helped to develop skills to recognise the signs of molestation and the right actions to be taken thereafter. Talking to your child about sexual abuse should be taken seriously. Studies have shown that ignorance makes a child an easy prey to molestation. Children who are informed about their private parts and abuse will be harder to seduce. We must PREVENT abuse, PROTECT the child and EMPOWER the child to protect him/herself.
To empower your child to protect him/herself, you should educate the child on the following:
• All the parts of his/her body
• His/her private parts…indicating why they are private, and under what conditions someone else (a parent, doctor/nurse) can see and touch these parts.
• How to keep the body and the private parts clean.
• What is sexual abuse, who can molest a child, what molesters say and do to seduce children, etc
• What to do if he/she suspects abuse or is being forced to submit to it…SHOUT, RUN and REPORT. Trust is important. Make your child know that you trust him/her and would believe and investigate any report which he/she would bring to you.
Help your child to protect him/herself. All messages should be conveyed through age-appropriate language and pictures. Your child needs ‘Safety Guidelines’, the solution to sexual abuse lies in there.