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Sexual Abuse

This is the one topic in sex that raises most serious concerns due to the deep negative consequences it has on people and society. It has very high incidence and most of the cases go unreported as these are done by close family members and known people.  Although both boys and girls suffer, it is higher for girls than boys.

What is sexual abuse?

Any act of sexual nature in which a child is involved is sexual abuse. It can be with touch or without touch. One must understand that no sexual abuse is small. The impact is deep on the psyche of the child.

Sexual abuse involving touch:

  • Any touch with sexual intent even fondling, kissing, hugging
  • Making a child touch sexual organs
  • Luring child to do oral sex
  • Penetrating a child’s vagina or anus with penis or any object. It need not be full penetration, even the slightest is abuse.

Non touch sexual abuse:

  • Indecent exposure or exhibitionism in front of a child
  • Asking child to undress
  • Exposing children to pornographic material
  • Exposing a child to the acts of sex involving single person, couple or more

In addition sexual abuse can occur as sexual exploitation that includes:

  • Engaging a child for the purposes of prostitution
  • Film, photograph or model a child indecently or for pornography.

Effects of sexual abuse

The effects of sexual abuse are deep and far reaching. It destroys trust and creates feelings of guilt, shame, anger and insecurity. This can further extend to distortions in personality development, loss of self esteem, identity disorder and serious emotional problems like depression. The development of socialization gets affected and can lead to anti social behavior. It can also affect development of healthy sexuality and intimate relationships.

Identification of sexual abuse:

  • Child narrates it
  • Discovered by family member or other witness
  • Emotional state of child
  • STD or pregnancy of child

Indications in small children:

  • Causeless crying
  • Fear
  • Nausea or Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sleep problems

Indications in older children:

  • Problems of sleep or eating
  • Fear or stranger anxiety
  • Nightmares
  • Bed wetting
  • Emotional disturbances
  • Avoidance of family, friends or school
  • Falling performance
  • Depression or aggression

Safety measures:

  • Keep your mind alert to potential abuse
  • Do not leave small children alone or in untrustworthy company
  • Children in group are safer
  • Teach children about good and bad touch
  • Teach child to say NO
  • Teach child not to talk or take anything from strangers
  • Keep eye on children and their behavior
  • Do not reject their narration as trifles
  • Communicate with child and spend time with them
  • Select play schools, hobby classes, tutors carefully
  • Select children carrying vans carefully
  • Protect child on internet
  • Tell child not to hide anything because of any threat
  • Spread awareness about sexual abuse
  • Do not hesitate in taking appropriate action

Treatment

  • Reassure child
  • Treat acute complaints
  • Prevent recurrence
  • Take help of child psychologist
  • Long term counseling and therapy