Sexual abuse during childhood affects the mental health and has long-term consequences. The victims often tend to feel ashamed, guilty, and distrustful of others. It results in the child developing low self-esteem, distorted view of sex, and feeling worthless and powerless. The child may also become withdrawn and suicidal. In most cases, the effects of childhood sexual abuse do not go away with age.
There are many reasons why child sexual abuse is yet to get the attention it deserves. Most of the time, parents are unaware of the fact that their child is being abused; the shame associated with abuse prevents the child from disclosing it to her parents. Sometimes, the child is too young to understand what is happening and so never tells her parents. In some cases, even when a child tells her parents about the abuse, the parents do not take it seriously as they think that their child is making up a story. Some parents think that only strangers can abuse the child, which is not always true as many times even those known to the family can turn abusers. Another widespread myth among parents is that young boys cannot be sexually abused.
But with the growing incidence of sexual abuse of children, parents need to pay more attention to the security of their children. There are a few things that you can do help protect your child. You can start by enquiring about the activities your child indulged in during the day. Try to learn about people with whom your child is spending her time. Teach your child the names of her body parts and the difference between good touch and bad touch. Encourage your child to speak up and listen seriously to her concerns; remind her that she will not get in trouble for talking to you. Also, it is important to learn about the warning signs of sexual abuse and take the help of law for putting an end to it and punish the abuser.
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Child sexual abuse affects millions of children across the world, though more reporting and research is available from Western countries. The Child Sexual Abuse Study, 2007, Ministry of Women and Child Development, (wcd.nic.in/childabuse.pdf) cond...