Protecting your children from sexual abuse can be a challenging, necessary task. First let's take a look at what child sexual abuse is and what are some common symptoms.
Child sexual abuse is a sexual act between an adult and a minor or between two minors when one overpowers the other, forcing or persuading a child to engage in any type of sexual act, which also includes exhibitions, exposure to pornography, or explicit talk by phone or internet, it is agonizing for the victims and is a crime punishable by law.
Unfortunately, most sexual abuse comes from a friend or family member, that look and even act like ordinary people, however you may notice they frequent places or events that children mainly attend. Minimize the opportunity and do not allow one adult to one child whether male or female. You lower the risk of abuse just by being aware of not leaving them alone. Screen caregivers and your school, ministries, etc. to see who will be monitoring your child. The facts and the realities and not trust should take precedence over decisions about your children.
Talk about it, children tend to keep the abuse a secret but you can keep the lines of communication open and break barriers open about such issues, it is likely they are threatened by the abuser, especially against their parents or custodians, so be open, explain their bodies to them and let them know it is never ok to be touched and if they are to seek help immediately. Stay alert, don’t think you are going to see obvious signs, most likely you will not so you need to be on the watch for abuse, there sometimes are signs of redness, irritation and others pointing to abuse, however emotional disturbances are more likely, such as angry behavior, sudden bedwetting if they never have before, acting sexually explicit, they may act too perfect or be withdrawn and depressed, and some show no signs at all. So it is up to you as the adult to remain aware of changes in your child.
You should start with making a plan. You should know where to go, who to call and how you should react should the need arise. Do not overreact, this can cause your child to shut down. Be supportive and listen to what they have to tell you, go to the proper authorities who will have the prosecutor’s office contact you and provide you with resources to call for help for your childs emotional state. Also, know to call child welfare and seek out any help you can get. It will be a long process of healing, and act on your suspicions your childs welfare is at stake. If you suspect abuse, act, call the child protection advocacy, child abuse hotlines, and local communities if you feel there has been an act of sexual abuse. You not only protect your child but may have protected others as well.
Do Get involved, volunteer or financially support organizations for child sexual abuse, contact all community support centers for children and break the silence. If you have been a victim of abuse share your story, it will help other children and help you heal with the trauma you carry for the rest of your life.
Remember, a child’s safety is an adults job. Teach them how to keep themselves safe from sexual abuse, but it is our responsibility to protect them, just like we make sure they wear seat belts, helmets during bike riding, and eating right. We must remain on the alert to prevent sexual abuse to our children.
Imagine how difficult it is for a child to say "no" to a parent, a teacher, a coach, or clergy, remember it is usually someone a child knows that acts on sexual abuse, so help protect your children and others.