Child abuse is a preventable problem. The importance of providing a safe environment should be the utmost concern of every adult. Just as it takes a village to raise a child, it takes participation from everyone in a society to stem the tide of child abuse. Prevention of child abuse is something every citizen can take part in.
Category: Help and Education
The earlier child abuse is discovered, the better the chance the child will recover and lead a normal life. It’s very important that it be caught early on. Fortunately, there are many warning signs that a child is being physically, emotionally, or sexually abused. With a little bit of observation and thoughtful evaluation, you can analyze the child’s situation and spot the warning signs that point towards a child in an abusive situation.
Good touch, bad touch (GTBT) is gradually learnt through a child’s day to day activities but we can accelerate this learnt behavior by making an effort to teach children the difference between good touch and bad touch at an early age. We live in a society where touching is common but people tend to overreact at times. In addition, threats or secrets go hand in hand with bad touches which further confuses the child. Parents must take the time to explain to their children what good touch and bad touch is and what danger signals to look for.
Physical indicators of sexual abuse are not always present and in fact, most examinations of sexually abused prepubertal girls result in normal examination findings due to the elasticity of the hymenal tissue and rapid healing of any injuries that may have occurred during the sexual abuse. Long term problems resulting from sexual abuse are rare but may include gastrointestinal disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome, non-ulcer dyspepsia, or chronic abdominal pain. Occasionally gynecological disorders may persist such as chronic pelvic pain, dysmenorrheal, or menstrual irregularities.
Emotional abuse, or psychological maltreatment, is a fairly common form of child abuse but one that is often difficult to identify or categorize. Although complex and difficult to define, experts agree that occasional negative actions or responses to a child are not considered emotional abuse (we all lose our heads at times and say things we regret later). Regardless, even occasional emotional abuse may be harmful to the child. As Douglas Besharov states in Recognizing Child Abuse, “emotional abuse is an assault on the child’s psyche, just as physical abuse is an assault on the child’s body.”
Finding out your child, or any child, has been sexually abused sends waves of anger, hurt, and despair throughout your body. You must remain in control though and keep your emotions in check, especially when in front of the child. If the child made the disclosure herself then this is all the more important. When you discover that your child has been sexually abused, follow these steps.
One of the most frustrating and puzzling aspects of the child abuse epidemic is the childâ€™s tendency to accept the abuse and not tell anyone. Nearly 75% of abused children do not disclose their abuse within the first year and 20% wait five or more years before telling anyone. This is all the more frustrating when you consider that non-disclosure allows the abuser to continue his acts unabated. The reasons for non-disclosure, the ramifications the abuser experiences afterwards, and the reasons why disclosure is so critically important are varied.
For professionals that work with children, such as teachers, doctors, or counselors, strict laws covering the reporting of child abuse. However, for others when and how to report suspected child abuse is often unclear. What is generally understood though, is that if child abuse is suspected, it should be reported.
The sexual abuse of a child is something that occurs across all ethnic and socio-economic boundaries. The abuse often goes undiscovered because the child is afraid to talk about it. There are signs you can look for though. The presence of a single sign does not prove child abuse is occurring in a family; however, when these signs appear repeatedly or in combination you should take a closer look at the situation and consider the possibility of child abuse.