We Have to educate the children to distinguish between “good touch” and “bad touch”. “Most of the children are not even aware of the intentions of the person…whether it’s bad or the good touch.
When a perpetrator intentionally harms a minor physically, psychologically, sexually, or by acts of neglect, the crime is known as child abuse.
What is child sexual abuse?
Child sexual abuse is a form of child abuse that includes sexual activity with a minor. A child cannot consent to any form of sexual activity, period. When a perpetrator engages with a child this way, they are committing a crime that can have lasting effects on the victim for years. Child sexual abuse does not need to include physical contact between a perpetrator and a child. Some forms of child sexual abuse include:
Exhibitionism, or exposing oneself to a minor
#Masturbation in the presence of a minor or forcing the minor to masturbate
#Obscene phone calls, text messages, or digital interaction
Producing, owning, or sharing pornographic images or movies of children
#Sex of any kind with a minor, including vaginal, oral, or anal
#Any other sexual conduct that is harmful to a child’s mental, emotional, or physical welfare
#What do perpetrators of child sexual abuse look like?
The majority of perpetrators are someone the child or family knows. As many as 93 percent of victims under the age of 18 know the abuser. A perpetrator does not have to be an adult to harm a child. They can have any relationship to the child including an older sibling or playmate, family member, a teacher, a coach or instructor, a caretaker, or the parent of another child. According to 1 in 6, “[Child] sexual abuse is the result of abusive behavior that takes advantage of a child’s vulnerability and is in no way related to the sexual orientation of the abusive person.”
Abusers can manipulate victims to stay quiet about the sexual abuse using a number of different tactics. Often an abuser will use their position of power over the victim to coerce or intimidate the child. They might tell the child that the activity is normal or that they enjoyed it. An abuser may make threats if the child refuses to participate or plans to tell another adult. Child sexual abuse is not only a physical violation; it is a violation of trust and/or authority.
#Bleeding, bruises, or swelling in genital area
#Bloody, torn, or stained underclothes
#Difficulty walking or sitting
#Frequent urinary or yeast infections
#Pain, itching, or burning in genital area
#Changes in hygiene, such as refusing to bathe or bathing excessively
#Exhibits signs of depression or post-traumatic stress disorder
#Expresses suicidal thoughts, especially in adolescents
#Has trouble in school, such as absences or drops in grades
Inappropriate sexual knowledge or behaviors
#Nightmares or bed-wetting
#Overly protective and concerned for siblings, or assumes a caretaker role
#Returns to regressive behaviors, such as thumb sucking
#Runs away from home or school
#Shrinks away or seems threatened by physical contact
The sexual abuse of children is a significant and disturbing reality in our society. We know that one in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused in some manner prior to reaching adulthood. We now understand that a considerable number of kids that are abused are abused by other children or teenagers. Sadly, every year, thousands of kids if not more will have to endure the sexually abusive or sexually intrusive behavior of another child. It is crucial that parents understand this problem and teach their children how to avoid any hurtful and unwelcome sexual behavior of other children.
How can I protect my child from sexual abuse?
A big part of protecting your child is about creating a dialogue. Read more to learn about creating this dialogue and keeping your child safe.
Talk to Your Child if You Suspect Sexual Abuse
Protecting Children from Sexual Abuse
What are the warning signs?
Child sexual abuse isn’t always easy to spot. The perpetrator could be someone you’ve known a long time or trust, which may make it even harder to notice. Consider the following warning signs:
What You Need to Tell Your Child
My guess is that there are many parents that do not even think about discussing with their children that other children or teens could be sexually abusive or sexually intrusive towards them. It can be difficult enough trying to explain to your eight year old that there are some adults who they might know or even love that could try and do things to them that are hurtful (i.e. touching a kid’s private parts or getting a kid to touch an adult’s private parts). Having to explain to them that another kid might try and do this and that kid might even be one’s friend only complicates this effort.
But just as parents came to realize the importance of talking with their kids about how someone they know is more likely to try and sexually harm them than someone that is a stranger, so too must parents spend time explaining to their children that other kids, even those they might consider friends, can also sometimes try and do the same.
So whether your child is four years of age or older, you need to start a dialogue that addresses several key points.
- Clearly identify and label male/female private parts. Explain how private parts are different from public parts of the body and why.
- Being curious about the private parts of someone else is normal. Whenever you have questions about private parts always come and speak to mom/dad.
- Just like there are rules for behaving in school, crossing the street, etc. there are rules that pertain to our bodies. One set of rules pertains to our private parts. We never allow anyone to touch our private parts and we never touch another’s private parts. Make sure to detail exceptions i.e. parents teaching their child how to bathe, a doctor examining a child’s private parts, accidental touch of someone’s private parts as when wrestling and playing around, etc.
- We don’t show our private parts to anyone else and they should not show you theirs. Again, there are exceptions like disrobing in a locker room that you can highlight.
- We need to explain to our child that the above two examples includes kids they know well or don’t know well at all, whether they are the same age or older. Other kids should not touch your private parts and you should not touch theirs.
- Introduce the “Uh Oh” feeling. The “Uh Oh” feeling is something we get when something is happening to us that make us feel uncomfortable. Adults can be the cause of an “Uh Oh” feeling and so can another child.
- Should an adult or another child try and touch your private parts or get you to touch there’s always say “No”, try and leave where you are or tell an adult near you (teacher, parent), and always tell mom/dad.
- Discuss with your child how an adult or another child can try to trick you into touching their private parts or trick you into touching theirs.
- If an adult or another child does touch or tries to touch your private parts or get you to touch theirs it is never your fault.
- Plan on having these conversations periodically throughout the year and every year with your child.
- Use teachable moments to address as many of these issues with your child as you can.
- Periodically create hypothetical scenarios with your child where she or he has to brainstorm solutions for managing an “Uh Oh” feeling or a possible touching situation.