Child sexual abuse is one of the most difficult realities we face. No one wants to believe that anyone would do something that terrible to a child, so there’s an unwillingness to recognize just how common this type of abuse is. In spite of our collective denial, we all may know a family where sexual abuse is taking place, may be familiar with a sexual predator, or almost certainly know an adult who was sexually abused as a child. The statistics are staggering: one in four girls and one in six boys will be victims of some type of sexual abuse or assault by the time they reach age 18.
Before we go to the types, signs, how to protect them let’s have a look into Top 5 countries with the highest rates of child sexual abuse.
Basing its research on official statistics and reports International Business Times – UK (February 12, 2014) looks into some of the countries with the highest rate of Child Sexual Abuse.
South Africa: One child is raped in South Africa every three minutes, according to a 2009 report by trade union Solidarity Helping Hand.
India: In its 2013 report “India’s Hell Holes: Child Sexual Assault in Juvenile Justice Homes”, the Asian Centre for Human Rights said that sexual offences against children in India have reached epidemic proportion. The report stated that more than 48,000 child rape cases were recorded from 2001 to 2011 and that India saw an increase of 336% of child rape cases from 2001 (2,113 cases) to 2011 (7,112 cases).
Zimbabwe: “The (rape) cases are on the increase and during the week ending 25 September 2012, the cases rose to 81 from 65 the previous week. Evident from our investigations is the fact that relatives commit most juvenile rape cases,” said Police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba.
United Kingdom: A quarter of a million Britons – more than one in every 200 adults – are pedophiles, according to figures released by Scotland Yard, the Telegraph reported in 2000. In 2012/13, there were 18,915 sexual crimes against children. In the UK, one in 20 children (4.8%) have experienced contact sexual abuse and over 90% of children who experienced sexual abuse, were abused by someone they know.
United States: “Even if the true prevalence of child sexual abuse is not known, most will agree that there will be 500,000 babies born in the US this year that will be sexually abused before they turn 18 if we do not prevent it,” according to the Children Assessment Centre (CAC).
The US Department of Health and Human Services’ Children’s Bureau report Child Maltreatment 2010 found that 16% of young people aged 14 to 17 had been sexually victimized in that year, and over the course of their lifetime, 28% of young people in the US, aged 14 to 17, had been sexually victimized.
“Adult retrospective studies show that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men were sexually abused before the age of 18. This means there are more than 42 million adult survivors of child sexual abuse in the US,” said the CAC.
There are many types of child sexual abuse, from inappropriate touching, stroking, exposure to pornography, to full forced intercourse and sadistic acts. Victims may be infants as young as few month olds, although the average age of child sexual abuse victims is nine. Abuse may consist of a one-time incident or be ongoing perpetration which continues throughout childhood into teen years.
Although most of the high profile cases of child sexual abuse that make the news are stories about weird, creepy strangers who prey on children and often murder them, most child sexual assaults are committed by someone the victim knows: a sibling, another relative, a family friend, a neighbor, a teacher in school, a religious teacher (Qari, Priest, Pundit, etc.). It happens in every socio-economic class, every ethnic community, and among all races.
In the majority of cases, children never tell anyone what has happened to them. Why? Because it doesn’t feel safe to tell. Talking about sex at all is taboo in many families; if a child can’t talk about healthy sexuality and normal bodily functions comfortably, how can a little girl or boy ever tell someone about sexual abuse? How will they react if their child tells them that Uncle/Aunt XYZ or Mr. /Ms. /Mrs. XYZ next door has touched them inappropriately – or worse?
As now we know how common child sexual abuse is, we need to educate our children and break this taboo. ANY child is at risk of sexual abuse. Hoping, denying and pretending that this can’t happen to your child is not lowering risks of your child being sexually abused. It does not prepare them to get help quickly and effectively if the worst does happen. The reality of CSA is a terrifying concept but it’s something that every parent needs to face and better educate them about it.
Knowing about sexual abuse may help to keep children safe from it. When adults talk openly with children about sexual abuse and what to do if they are in a threatening situation, then they give the child permission to tell. Families can help by encouraging a loving environment where children are able to talk openly about their feelings and know they will be taken seriously. A Stress to children that if someone touches them in a sexual way, it is not their fault and that they should tell someone they trust about it.
Watch out for warning signs, Children display signs that “All is not well”.
The signs of abuse aren’t always obvious, and learning the warning signs of child sexual abuse could be lifesaving. You might notice behavioral or physical changes that could signal a child is being abused. Some of these warning signs include:
- Behavioral signs: Shrinking away from or seeming threatened by physical contact, regressive behaviors like thumb sucking, changing hygiene routines such as refusing to bathe or bathing excessively, age-inappropriate sexual behaviors, sleep disturbances, or nightmares.
- Verbal cues: Using words or phrases that are “too adult” for their age, unexplained silence, or suddenly being less talkative.
- Physical signs: Bruising or swelling near the genital area, blood on sheets or undergarments.
If you recognize any of the following TALK TO THEM, LISTEN THEM, REASSURE THEM & REPORT IT.
Reporting a crime like child sexual abuse may not be easy, and it can be emotionally draining. Keep in mind that reporting abuse gives you the chance to protect someone who can’t protect themselves. Don’t teach your child to keep quiet, “DON’T TELL ANYONE” etc. Help them and others by reporting it. It’s NOT your child’s fault that he/she was abused sexually, so no shame in reporting it and putting offender behind bars.
I am no writer, and I didn’t wrote the above. Read about it after Kasur CSA scandal on different websites and tried to compile it in brief. This issue requires attention our electronic/print media need to educate and aware society.
Denial won’t change reality