“My life is a chain of abuse. Sexually abused at age 8, had a caring yet negligent dad, struggled with low self worth, was verbally abused by those I looked up to, and hey, ate lot of pop corn. Hahaha… .” — Adeh Jones
Abuse is one aspect of human experience most of us know nothing about (though we read about); we don’t have a clue of what those in it are passing through, hence we play hypocritical gimmicks with the word “abuse”.
We all are guilty of child abuse, actively or passively. Please read that line again. Most of us were raised in a psycho-pathological environment, where we accept the abnormal as normal, hence abuse is treated with a pat!
Child abuse takes place everywhere — in church, in the mosque, in the school, in public places, by responsible and careless parents, and by you and me.
Child abuse happens when someone or situation threatens the full development, security, safety, and survival of a child.
I need to say this, most of us think abuse is when there is a physical change or manifestation in behavioral pattern from a child, abuse starts before then.
Child abuse happens when someone or situation threatens the full development, security, and survival of a child.
We’ll be looking at child sexual abuse, however, let’s shed some light on some of the abuse we often involve ourselves, though most times unknowingly.
- Physical abuse — this involves the use of unreasonable force, or conduct that might put the child’s life, health or well being at risk; without putting into consideration the age of the child, severity of action or ineffective corrective methodology. Examples include, hitting, chocking, kicking, slapping, injuring with object et al.
- Neglect — which involves depriving the child of the basics needs like attention, good food, medical care, shelter and clothing.
- Emotional abuse — this has to do with Emotional deprivation, attack on self worth, isolation, rejection, thread, exposure to violent environment. Also, early and child marriage.
- Verbal abuse — abusive and demeaning words on a child, name-calling et al.
- Religious abuse — brainwash, promoting religious superiority, blackmail, hate messages citations,
Before we look at sexual abuse, these abuse are more damaging than the physical, yet, that’s the one most of us find ourselves doing…
- Passive abusers — ending the stench of abuse is a collective fight. It’s has a be a community mindset. You become a passive abuser if you notice an abuse on a child and you refuse to play a role, either by advising the parents or creatively reporting to social department to step in! You become a passive abuser, if you fail to join the movement of putting a stop to the inhuman treatment of children. Did you say it’s noneof your business it hasn’t happened to your child or you feel you are still single? Think again!
Sexual abuse is more complicated than what most people think. We are now in a “sexualized” world, where most things carry with them sexual appeal — from adverts, movies, sports, study materials, to even worship centers!
Today, the rate of child sexual abuse is disturbing with culprits as close friends, family members, caregivers, drivers, cleaners, teachers, doctors, coaches, religious leaders, etc As parents, the demands of our job is overwhelming, therefore leaving our kids under the care of teachers, caregivers, neighbors, etc
Time will not be enough to share how vulnerable we’ve made our children, struggling to make ends meet, while our children are being abused right under our nose!
Child sexual abuse is any act involving an older child or adult. Either physically (fondling, touching, exploitation, intercourse, etc.) or non physical (exposure to pornographic materials, voyeurism, taking pornographic photos, exposing the child to sensual songs, being naked in front of a child, etc)
Funny, enough, most parents do that without knowing. Also, kissing the child directly on the lips, dressing in front of the child, playing with their sex organ, etc.
SIGNS OF CHILD ABUSE: So, how would you know a child I being abused?
Except there is a solid relationship built on trust, your child will rarely tell you if he/she has been abused, due to fear, uncertainty, don’t know how to go about it. However, there are cues to keep tab on..
- unusual interest or knowledge of sexual behavior
- change in behavioral pattern, like extreme aggression or withdrawal.
- strong effort to avoid certain persons or places.
- makes inappropriate sexual drawings for their age.
- difficulty in walking, sitting, or hurts to go to the bathroom.
Complications for the future.
The effect of child sexual abuse can be devastating, with a wide range of psychological symptoms, both long and short term effects.
- damaged feelings – sexual abuse on a child creates a feeling of worthlessness, anger, shame and self hate.
- difficulty in trust and relationship – what do you expect a child who has been disappointed by a parent, relation or someone they look up to, to easily trust anyone?
- traumatized sexual life- hate for physical relationship like hugging, kissing and sex at an adult age.
- Health issues – the child most times is traumatized, always withdrawn, fidgets, always scared, sleeping disorder etc.
- difficulty in coping with academics, social, emotional, and spiritual relationships.
How to prevent child sexual abuse
Today, pedophiles are intelligent, smart and understand the child better than most parents. So as a parent, you must..
- educate your child about their sexuality, and how to protect themselves again sex predators.
- you must be involved in your child’s life. Create time to be there, to hear your child unburden and share with you all he/she has. Always be there to ask them how their day went, what happened in school, at home etc., and be willing to give them your eyes and ears.
- be friends with your child. Let your child know you genuinely enjoy his/her company and you take what they say serious.
- pay attention. Always listen to your eyes, follow your guts if you suspect anything. Pay attention to any change in his physiology and ask what the problem is.
- empower yourself. Learn the effective way to teach age-related sex education. Invest in sex education tools and skill sets. Parenting is a skill most of us were not taught. Invest in parenting intelligence, deal with your limiting parenting pattern, learn alternative ways to disciplining a child, learn the effective channels to unburden and deal with stress. This will help you parent and help your child effectively.
How to heal from child sexual abuse.
- Love is stronger than abuse. Healing is possible, with the right support from parents, friends and family, counselors and therapists.
- Help the child seek medical help, therapy and the emotional support needed.
- Yes, as a parent, it’s not easy knowing your child is abused. However, it’s important you learn how to be strong for your child. Empower yourself, confide in others, you’re closer to help than you expect.
ABOUT THE WRITER:
Adeh Jones is a Parenting/Teen Coach, UK-certified Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) with a core niche in parenting intelligence and strategies. Practitioner of NLP, and the facilitator of Parenting E-cademy (an online platform dedicated to raising HEALED and EFFECTIVE parents).