All about child abuse (kids – start here)

Kid hugging a teddy bear First off you must understand that if you’re a kid, you shouldn’t be abused. Nobody should be hitting you, touching you in the wrong places, or making you feel bad.  Most adults know better than to do that.  If the grown up does it anyway then they have a problem that needs to be fixed before they hurt you any more or hurt somebody else.  It’s a bad place to be in but there are things you can do to fix it.  Below is a general overview of the child abuse problem.

About one third of all kids are abused.  That means if you look around you and count six people that are close by, about two of those people have been abused or are being abused.  You are not alone.  If you are abused, you have to do something about it.  Kids that don’t do something about the abuse may grow up and have other problems – sometimes lots of other problems.  The good news is that kids that do tell someone about the abuse, and get help for it, turn out just fine.

Things you may have heard that are not true

It’s tough to tell a child abuser by what they look like.  Most people think adults that abuse are always men.  That’s not true.  Sometimes women abuse kids too.  It’s also sometimes thought that grown up that abuse kids are always strangers.  That’s not true either.  Most of the time the grown up that is abusing a kid is someone the kid knows, a aunt or uncle, a mother or father, a neighbor, or a brother or sister.  And finally, some kids believe that the adult that is hurting the kid is always hated by the kid.  That’s not true either.  Many times the grown up that is hurting the kid is someone the kid loves very much.  For instance, a mom or dad.  Regardless, what they are doing is wrong and they need help (and so do you).

Is child abuse common?

As we said above, many times the grown up that is abusing the kid is someone the kid knows like a father or step father.  The effects of their abuse are shattering and may cause you a lifetime of hurt and pain. Studies have shown that 1 out of 4 girls are abused and 1 out of 6 boys are abused.  That’s a lot of kids being hurt.

What is sexual abuse?

Sexual abuse doesn’t always involve sex.  If you don’t know what “sex” is then this is a little tougher to explain.  Basically, sex is what grownups do to have kids.  And as you may know, sex should be between grownups, not between grownups and kids.  But there are other ways a grownup can sexually abuse a kid.  Here are some examples of sexual abuse.  If you can think of other examples, post your comment below and we’ll add them to this list.

  • A person shows you pictures of naked kids or naked grownups or anyone naked doing things that just don’t seem right to you.
  • A person touches you between the legs.  Only in really rare cases should a doctor or parent touch you there and generally it’s only when you’ve been hurt and they are trying to see if you are ok.
  • A person asks (or makes you) touch them between the legs.  This should never happen.
  • A person asks you to take off your clothes so they can look at you.  Sometimes they might want to take pictures which is really, really bad.

How to tell someone that you are being abused

This might be hard to make yourself do but you HAVE to do it.  You must tell someone if you are being abused.  Call 911 on your phone and tell the police.  Or you can call 1-800-422-4453, the National Child Abuse Hotline and someone there will help you (they are really nice people).  You can also tell a teacher at school and they will help.

How to tell a kid is being abused

There are some signs that a kid is being abused.  You might notice these in some of your friends or you might be having some of these same problems yourself.  The kid that is being abused usually does these things.

  • Does not trust adults
  • Has sleep problems and cannot sleep at night or has bad dreams
  • Comes to school with strange bruises or cuts.  Sometimes they will wear long sleeves even when it is hot outside to cover up the bruises.
  • Is very scared of being touched.  They might flinch or duck when you make a fast move.
  • May have trouble walking or sitting down.  Sometimes being sexually abused can make you hurt.
  • And there are many other signs such as mental problems, that are harder to spot.

More help

Here are some more things about child abuse that might help you.  And of course, you can always contact us and we’ll do our best to help you.

Reviewed: 11/19/10

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