What Exactly Is Child Sexual Abuse?
If you are not exactly sure what child sexual abuse and molestation is, please find some vital signs to watch out for below….
- All sexual touching between an adult and a child is sexual abuse.
- Sexual touching between children can also be sexual abuse when there is a significant age difference (often defined as 3 or more years) between the children, or if the children are very different developmentally or size-wise.
- Sexual abuse does not have to involve penetration, force, pain, or even touching - if an adult engages in any sexual behavior (looking, showing, or touching) with a child to meet the adult’s sexual need or interest, it is sexual abuse.
- Most often child sexual abuse is a gradual process and not a single event, this makes it necessary to learn the early warning signs and how to effectively step in and speak up.
- Sexual abuse can be stopped before a child is harmed. Adults must take the primary responsibility for preventing child sexual abuse by addressing any concerning or questionable behavior which may pose a risk to a child’s safety.
VITAL SIGNS OF CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE
It’s instructive to note that it’s not every sign that means a child was sexually abused, but some of the listed signs below should spring up suspicions and thus, you should begin to ask questions and consider seeking help. Please remember, some of these signs can emerge at other times of stress as well.
- CHILD Experiencing sleeping problems without an explanation, having bad dreams and waking up scared.
- CHILD’s Behaving in a strange and unwanted way, staying away from people.
- CHILD’s Unexplained and sudden change in eating habits, i.e. CHILD eating too much or eating too little, having difficulty in swallowing Food of drink.
- CHILD’s Having sudden and uncontrolled mood swings, expressing unreasonable irritation and anger toward people.
- CHILD’s Sudden expression of anxiety and development of new or unusual fear of certain people or places, feeling insecure.
- CHILD’s Suddenly writes, draws, plays or dreams of sexual or frightening images.
- CHILD’s Suddenly refuses to talk about a secret shared with an adult or older child
- CHILD’s Suddenly talks about a new older friend.
- CHILD’s Suddenly has money, toys or other gifts without reason
- CHILD’s Suddenly thinks of self or body as repulsive, dirty or bad
- CHILD’s Suddenly exhibits adult-like sexual behaviors, language and knowledge.
Child Sexual Abuse Physical warning signs
The physical signs of child sexual abuse are rare. If you see these signs, bring your child to a doctor. Your doctor can help you understand what may be happening and test for sexually transmitted diseases.
Your Child’s Personal Space
It’s important to teach a child while growing up on ways to protect their personal likes and things that make them uncomfortable. “Personal space” Ideally, is a boundary that helps the Child to stay in charge and control their personal life.
Personal Space helps keep out the things that make our children uncomfortable, unsafe and prevent physical contact. It avoids behaviors that routinely disrespect or ignore boundaries, keeping our children safe from abusers.
Family Knowledge Tips
- Family members should know about sexual development within a child and vital sexual abuse behaviors to watch out for.
- Family Members should learn to recognize warning signs, indicating that a child may have been sexually abused, or adult/child may be touching a child in a sexual way.
- Family members should teach children the proper names for body parts and what to do if someone tries to touch them in a sexual way.
- Family Members should educate young children that no one has the right to touch their private parts (unless for medical reasons) and that they should not touch anyone else’s private parts.
Family Dialogue about Sexual Abuse
- Family discussion about what healthy sexual behavior is, and what abusive sexual behavior is.
- OPEN a channel of communication with all family members (children, teenagers and adults ) about appropriate and inappropriate sexualized behaviors to ensure that they understand and remember the information.
- Let everyone in the family know they can ask questions during the discussion, or talk further about any of these issues in private, at a later time.