Into this peaceful, pleasant and perfect world that God
created, evil entered in various ways. And perfection resulted in imperfection
which is manifested in personal grief, lack of hope, faith and trust and the
loss of safety and security of human life. Among all these, child sexual abuse
is the most heinous evil that has been creeping into the minds of people of all
ages, and it has ruined moral values and ethical life both in the family and
Lustful feelings and selfishness of man led human life to go
through painful experiences, and much of it occur in childhood itself. Caretakers alone are sometimes unable to
protect children from painful experiences. Statistics presented by various
organizations working with children indicate that more than half the
populations of Indian children suffer from child sexual abuse in one form or
Sexual abuse is when any person, young, adult or child
forces, tricks, threatens, or coerces a child to have sexual contact with him
or her for the benefit of personal sexual excitement and satisfaction. Showing
children pornographic pictures or films or telling them explicitly sexual
stories can be a form of sexual abuse. Some children are forced or encouraged
to have sexual contact or intercourse with parents, uncles, grandparents,
friends of the family, and servants in the house. Other children have sexual
contacts with strangers. Most of the times one’s own family members make one
the victim of child sexual abuse but unfortunately parents are unable to understand
the children because lack of knowledge,
ignorance, illiteracy, fear of shame etc…
At times parents become only the birth givers not caretakers. Nowadays
most of the parents are busy working in the fields or at offices leaving their
children at home with someone or servants in the house.
Most parents think that they should give the best to their
children which make them keep earning money to give entertainment and
excitement through toys, dresses and all the material goods. However, they
forget the importance of
caring for their children. Very often the negligence
of children by their parents becomes the root cause of the horrible experience
of sexual abuse in childhood. The literature that I have read on child sexual
abuse, the personal testimonies of survivors of child sexual abuse and the
experiences that people have shared personally with me make me conclude that
this is a reality which many face in today’s world.
How to respond to a possible situation of sexual abuse:
If your child says that she/he does not want to play with uncle /
cousin / servant / brother etc… you need to pick up what the child wants to
say, but is unable to say. The child may
be trying to tell you that it is the victim of sexual abuse. She/he may say that uncle is not good or he
is bad. In such situations DO NOT scold the child or punish the child and
defend the good character of the uncle.
The child knows only the word “bad” and nothing more. Stay with the feeling of the child, and help
her or him to speak out more in a very gentle and non-intrusive way. You may take for granted that your child may
be in a situation of sexual abuse. It is here that you need to believe your
child. DO NOT believe the uncle or cousin or play down what your child says. You may be missing out the ONLY chance to
protect your ONLY child.
The child may say that uncle did something bad to me. In such or similar situations you may ask the
child whether he touched her / him and whether that made her / him feel not
good. Allow the child to use her / his expressions and feelings. It is of utmost importance that you
communicate to your child that she / he is far more precious to you than the
uncle or cousin. A sense of security, homeliness, trust needs to be
communicated to the child. If your child
is made a victim of sexual abuse, then you are the BEST healer for her or
him. The process of healing will have
begun from the time the child feels unthreatened and protected by you.
The next step in the process of dealing with possible abuse is to
make the child feel that no matter what has happened she / he is still your
dearest and best one. Help the child
feel that she / he is still good and that for you she / he matters much. These words have meaning only if you avoid everything
that would make the child feel negative about her or him.
NEVER BLAME OR PUNISH THE CHILD.
Parents are in the habit of blaming the child for whatever may go wrong
because it is easier to blame the child than the adult. Besides, the child
cannot defend itself. In no way your
child is responsible for what has happened (assuming something has gone
wrong). Never say: ‘You are a bad girl’
or ‘You are a bad boy’. To be labeled as
bad for innocent behavior is the greatest harm one can do to a child. Ensure that the so called ‘uncle’ or ‘cousin’
is blamed and the child should be helped to think and feel that it has done no
wrong. The blame is to go totally and
entirely to the perpetrator.
Ask the child whether she / he would like a change. For example a change in the driver who
transports her / him to the school; the shopkeeper who regularly supplies the
stationery; the teacher who takes tuition; the kitchen girl who prepares the
food etc… Remember the perpetrator of
the crime is very close to the child and is a confidant.
Ensure the safety of the child in all contexts. If need be, change the location where the
child frequents or the school that she / he frequents. Protect the privacy of
the child as much as possible. It is of
utmost importance that no one gets a chance to make the child feel bad, sad and
ashamed. No matter how good your
REMEMBER, there is no one who is as capable and competent as you,
the parent, to bring the original innocence back to the child. She or he can be totally and completely made
well, in case sexual abuse has taken place, provided you stay with the child
with all the love you can pour out on her /him.
Finally believe in your child. Children usually do not lie.
Image source: www. frontpagemag.com
NEVER BLAME OR PUNISH THE CHILD. Parents are in the habit of blaming the child for whatever may go wrong because it is easier to blame the child than the adult. Besides, the child cannot defend itself. In no way your child is responsible for what has happened (assuming something has gone wrong). Never say: ‘You are a bad girl’ or ‘You are a bad boy’. To be labeled as bad for innocent behavior is the greatest harm one can do to a child. Ensure that the so called ‘uncle’ or ‘cousin’ is blamed and the child should be helped to think and feel that it has done no wrong. The blame is to go totally and entirely to the perpetrator.
Finally believe in your child. Children usually do not lie.