ADDRESSING THE ISSUE CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE
The issue of child sexual abuse is both domestic and global concern that requires urgent and absolute attention. Various studies have made us understand that children who are sexually abused suffer most of such ordeal from their home
The home that is supposed to be a place of refuge would then become a lion’s den and destructive source to their lives. According to the research conducted by The Humanitarian Sexuality Education Department (HUMSED), 2021, 35.3% of today’s adults reported being sexually abused as a child. 96% of these adults happened to be women as they admitted.
Now, 90% of these women reported to be abused by either their biological/step father or parents’ own close relatives, like uncle and aunty, cohabiting with them.
Moreover, a whopping 60% of the said total figure reportedly refused to make their cases known even until adulthood except the fact they were being interviewed behind camera.
WHAT IS CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE?
Child Sexual Abuse occurs when an adult uses a child for sexual purposes or involves a child in sexual acts. It also includes when a child who is older or more powerful uses another child for sexual gratification or excitement.
Furthermore, child sexual abuse involves an adult engaging a child or young person in sexually explicit conduct, including direct sexual contact, visual representation of sexual contact, or simulation of sexual contact.
The act of sexual abuse may include inappropriate touching, vaginal, anal, or oral penetration, rape and attempted rape, child pornography, molestation, incest, prostitution, or any other forms of exploitation of a child for the sexual satisfaction of the (adult) perpetrator.
Sexually abused children have been found to have greater frequencies of a wide range of sexual behaviours in comparison with normative samples.
Sexually abused pre-school-aged children are at greater risk for inappropriate sexual behaviours than the sexually abused school-aged children. Finding out that your child has been sexually abused can be distressing and one might not know what to do. This is one of the reasons you must follow The Humanitarian Foundation for guidance.
The following are some types of sexual abuse in children:
- Non-contact abuse
- Contact abuse
- Fondling and oral sex
- Making children perform a sex act
- Making a child view a sex act
- Making a child view or show sex organs
- Inappropriate sexual talk
- Child prostitution and child pornography
- Allowing a child live in a sexually abused environment.
To determine a parent or caregiver who is abusing his/her child sexually, some of the following signs would become apparent in the said parent/guardian:
- Parent/guardian fails to supervise child
- Defends the child under undue circumstances
- Hates to see other people correct the child just to show the child how caring he or she may be
- Accepts insults from the child unnecessarily.
- At times, maltreats the child just to keep the entire situation under control and creates fear in the minor
- Unstable adult presence
- Jealous/possessive parent/guardian
- At times, showers the child with a lot of gifts and do things to please the child.
- Sexual relationships troubled or dysfunctional
- If the child is schooling away from home, likes to pay unnecessary visit, especially, odd times and invites the child in odd places like hotel, a hide-out, and even a well-furnished rented apartment away from school hostel, etc.
- Parent relies on child for emotional support
- Prevents child from relating with others as much as possible to maintain secret and hegemony
The following are some of physical signs of sexual abuse in a child:
- Difficulty sitting and walking
- Bowel problems
- Torn, stained, bloody undergarments
- Bleeding, bruises, pain, swelling, itching of genital area
- Nightmares, insomnia
- Frequent urinary tract infections or yeast infections
- Any sexually transmitted disease or related symptoms
The following are some of behavioral signs of sexual abuse in a child
- Doesn’t want to change clothes in public or among peers, for instance, for Physical and health Education exercise
- Always withdraws from important engagements with peers and unhappy.
- Always depressed
- Eating disorders, preoccupation with body
- Aggression, delinquency, poor peer relationships
- Poor self-image, poor self-care, lack of confidence
- Sudden absenteeism from school, religious places and other required social gatherings,
- Decline in school and social activity performance
- Alcohol and substance abuse, running away, recklessness, suicide attempts
- Sleep disturbance, fear of bedtime, nightmares, bed wetting (even at advanced age)
- Sexual acting out, excessive masturbation
- Unusual or repetitive soothing behaviors (hand-washing, pacing, rocking, spitting etc.)
- Sexual behavior or knowledge that is advanced or unusual for a person of such age.
- Reports sexual abuse even to an audience not interested in such matter just as a result of frustration outburst.
Service to Humanity is a weekly publication to encourage Humanitarian Activities (financial donations and material support) across the globe by The Humanitarian Foundation Press Department. Igweike Raphael Otum (Founder and President, Councilor, Author, Businessman, Accountant, Evangelist and a Humanitarian) is the author of this wonderful publication, Service to Humanity.
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