Myths Strangers V/s family: The person most likely to sexually abuse your child is a person your child knows – and trusts. estimates30% close family members , 60% extended family members and those known to family, only 10% are strangers . Some indian studies put known upto 89% Boy V/s girl : The global prevalence of child sexual abuse has been estimated at 19.7% for females and 7.9% for males India it seems much much higher. Children of all ages, races, ethnicities, cultures, and economic backgrounds are vulnerable to sexual abuse. Child sexual abuse occurs in rural, urban, and suburban areas. It affects both girls and boys in all kinds of neighborhoods and communities, and in countries around the world. In most cases, the perpetrator is male regardless of whether the victim is a boy or girl.RAHI NGO states that 75% of middle/upper class women have been abused.53% of all Indian children are victims of sexual abuse according to the government report (2007). Children who have faced some amount of sexual abuse 53% Children who report having been sexually assaulted 6% Cases where the abuser was in a relationship of trust with the child 50%Did You Know? 53% of children in India are sexually abused? 72% of these children do not talk about it and suffer in silence? A majority of these children have been abused by people known to them 64% of Incest Survivors were abused between the age of 10-18 years 32% of Incest Survivors were abused between the age of 2-10 years 87% of the Incest Survivors were abused repeatedly 19% of the abused were currently living with at least one of the abusers
Being Aware is GoodBut Only awareness is not enough. Even those who have suffered abuse as children and wellaware of the problem do not take any steps to safeguard their own children
Not My Child – Parents perception of CSA This research was conducted by me in 1996 – 97 in an elite colony with approximately 225 households in Jaipur.Major findings: A significant number of parents – both dads and moms had experienced some form of sexual abuse as children. They were aware that boys and girls could both be abused and yet were concerned only for their girl children. Though they all knew theoretically that children should be educated about possible abuse, almost none of them had spoken with their own child. Though they knew that children were abused by those closest to them none of them thought their own child was vulnerable. The doctor in that colony reported several incidents of CSA .
Are we being naïve? Comments of sex offenders: One sex offender called parents "naive" because they dont pay attention. He talked about abusing children when in the same room with parents. A sex offender said that its harder to abuse or trick a child who has been educated about sex abuse. They know what to look for. Another sex offender said that parents should never be "embarrassed" to talk about sex abuse with their children. It is the only way to protect them.
I have never spoken to my child about abuseIn fact you have there is some traditional advice that we have all given our children Don’t talk to strangers. Don’t sit in anyone’s cars. Follow buddy system. Keep someone informed about where you are and with who at all timesAll these are effective essentials but not enough For non – strangers Modern day situations – like the internet
You are Your child’s most effective protector By enabling the child By being alert and enabled yourselfTalking to your child about abusive situations is part of protecting him, but having a ―prevention talk‖ is only part of the solution. It’s more effective if you talk about these issues on a regular basis and provide a lifestyle of open communication and healthy support. Words are important, but be aware of non-verbal messages you may be sending. It’s how you treat your child, how you treat yourself and the behavior you model that will impact him the most.
Yes, its important to speak about safe’ unsafe touch with my child. But how? Plan a specific time to sit down with your child to discuss sexual abuse. Explain to your child that God made their body very special. Every part of their body is good, but some parts of their body are private. Clearly identify for your child which parts of their anatomy are private. If your child is young, consider sharing the above information during their bath time. Another idea is to have your child dress in a bathing suit and show them that all areas covered by a bathing suit are "private." Let your child know they must tell you if anyone touches them in the private areas – no matter who the person is, or what the person says to them. Assure your child they will not be in trouble if they tell you theyve been touched inappropriately – rather, you will be proud of them, and help them through the situation. Assure children it is not their fault if someone touches them or makes them touch another person in a questionable way. Talk with your child on a regular basis. Encourage your child to share what is happening in their lives." Talking with children in small groups in classrooms or kids clubs can be a good beginning . The message then needs to be reinforced repeatedly at home
Arm your child against possible abuse Develop Sense of ownership of body His body is his own body and he has the right to keep it private. He has the right to refuse any kind of touch from another person. Know body parts – label Safe/ unsafe touch: Safe touch (hugging, consoling, even mussing his hair) feels good. Unsafe touch (hitting, kicking, pinching, molesting) feels bad, uncomfortable, scary, or "funny" (weird). Good/ bad secret: A good secret, one thats okay to keep, is usually exciting and fun (a birthday present, or a surprise party). A good secret almost always involves hiding knowledge from one or two special people for a short period of time (hardly ever longer than a month). But a bad secret probably wont make your child feel excited or happy. Instead, it feels like trouble—and no one is ever supposed to find out about it Giving child the right to say NO: When a relative comes to visit, Do you command your child, "Give your aunt a kiss." It may be better to, ask your child, "Do you want to give your aunt a kiss?" If he says no, dont apologize or make excuses. Thats his right .
Besides safe/ unsafe touch some simple stuff you can do Teach your child awareness of dangerous activities and the lures used to entice children. Is your child vulnerable to grooming tactics? A child’s need for love is stronger than his need to avoid danger. Does your child know he is special to you
What more can I do? Reduce or eliminate situations where your child is alone with an adult. Be aware of anyone who pays an unusual amount of attention to your children. Know at all times who your child is playing with and what they are doing. Tell your child that they can tell you about anything bad that happens to him no matter who it is. A high percentage of sexual abuse is committed by coaches, teachers, extended family, parents and other authority figures. Children are more vulnerable with these people since they are taught to listen to these adults. Act on suspicions Prepare yourself. Know how to respond if your child discloses abuse If you’ve been abused (sexually or in any other way), start the journey of recovery. If you haven’t faced your own abuse, you are more likely to either be overprotective or to miss the signs of abuse and fail to stop abuse that you do see. Many survivors of abuse make wonderful parents,but you can only be a healthy parent if you are a healthy person.
Backing the talkWith your actions: What is your attitude about your child’s feelings? Do you pay attention to signals? Do you only look for signs of abuse and everything else is ―no big deal‖ and your child should just ―toughen up‖? If his nervousness over starting a new school or taking a big test isn’t validated by you, you communicate that his feelings don’t matter. If you aren’t trustworthy with the little things, what makes you think you’re trustworthy with the bigger things? If you discount his emotions, how do you expect your child to value his own emotions? Do you listen to what your child isn’t saying? Sometimes a child can’t articulate how he is feeling, but he acts out. It’s common for a parent to assume that the child is the problem instead of asking if there is something more sinister that the child may be reacting to. One way a child ―tells‖ is through their bad behavior. Many children who are abused are discounted because ―they always lie‖ or ―they’re just drawn to trouble‖. But why do they misbehave? What are they angry about? Why do they ask for negative attention? Children need to know that if someone abuses them, it was not their fault. Even if they didn’t say ―no‖ or run away, they are not to blame. Do you give your child permission to tell you what they really think about people, even those in authority? What if your son said something that wasn’t very nice about your best friend? Your spouse? Your in laws? Would you be more afraid of your child being ―disrespectful‖ than you would of his possible mistreatment? Do you have a family culture that allows for reporting misbehavior in all others? Or do you reprimand your child for ―tattling‖?
Getting your child to talk: Door openers V/s Door slammersExamples of Door Openers "What do you think?" "Would you like to share more about that?" "Thats a good question." "I dont know, but Ill find out" "Im interested in what you are saying." "Do you know what that means?" "That sounds important to you." "Do you want to talk about it?"Examples of Door Slammers "You are too young to understand." "If you say that again, Ill..." "Thats none of your business." "I dont care what your friends are doing!" "Well talk about that when you need to know." "Thats just for boys/girls" "Why are you asking me that?" "You dont need to know about that." "Dont come to me if you mess up."
whY children don’t tellWhy They Don’t Talk • "How do I say it? What words should I use?" • "Mummy and Daddy won’t believe me!" • "I don’t even know how to say what happened, I just feel weird about it" • "Uncle didn’t really mean to be bad to me or did he?" • "My teacher might fail me if I tell Mummy" • "I am scared, Uncle told me not to tell anyone, it’s a secret."Why They Talk, Eventually · Awareness and understanding of the abuse. · Discussion with an understanding parent or other adult with whom they are comfortable. · Inability to bear the abuse anymore. · Physical illnesses following sexual abuse. · Secure adult relationships that provide confidence to deal with prior trauma · Revelation during therapy for any other reason · Desire to prevent abuse of other children
Help your child build a networkSpecially if your child is older Ask your child to think of all the people he can trust, help him choose at least 5 who he feels he can trust the most and feels comfortable talking with Ask these people if they are happy to be a person your child can talk with. Make sure that your child has their phone numbers. These people will become your child’s network Tell your child Nothing is so awful that he cant talk to someone about it. Now that your child has his own network, he is on his way to keeping himself safe
Be Alert An abuser Grooms the child and the parentSix stages of grooming have been identified. These include: Targeting the victim Gaining the victims trust Filling a need Isolating the child Sexualizing the relationship Maintaining controlGrooming gives the child a sense of uniqueness or specialness, the grooming process is meant to establish trust and affection, increasing attachment and loyalty.When the offender is a family friend or community member, he may also need to groom the parent to gain access to the child. Are you vulnerable to Grooming ?
Teaching child The No – Go – Tell PrincipleWhat can the child do? Tell the person very loudly that he wants them to stop. Get louder if they dont stop and tell them that he will tell his mum or dad or some other trusted adult. Tell someone he trusts. Keep on telling different people in his network till his problem is not fixed.
Safe Touch: Simplifying it for kids There are two aspects of safe touch:where it happens and how it makes the child feel As far as where it happens, the easiest way to explain unsafe touch to kids is to say, ―Unsafe touch is when someone touches a place on your body that is normally covered by your bathing suit. Most other places are safe to touch, as long as it doesn’t make you feel uncomfortable.‖ Feeling is more about helping a child recognize his gut feelings and respecting them.
The Safe touch program There are rules about everything – road, school, home, eating, sleeping Rules about touching: the swimsuit principle and uncomfortable factor Keeping secrets Saying no Go away Telling a trusted adult Keep telling till someone listens
Recognizing signs of Sexual abuse Be alert Noticeable, new fear of a person (even a parent) or certain places Unusual or unexpected response from the child when asked if she was touched by someone Drawings that show sexual acts Abrupt changes in behavior, such as bed-wetting or loss of bowel control Sudden awareness of genitalia Sexual acts and words shared with other children or animals Questions about sexual activity that are beyond the child’s development Changes in sleep habits, such as nightmares in young children Constipation, or refusal to have bowel movements Physical signs of abuse may include the following: Anal or genital redness, or bleeding Unusual discharge from the anus or vagina Sexually transmitted diseases such as gonorrhea, Chlamydia, or genital warts Repeated urinary tract infections in females
How should I ask my child about being sexually abused? CAREFULLY!If you do not have any indication that your child has been sexually abused it may be appropriate to give your child information rather than question them. For example, saying to your child that as their parent it is your job to keep them safe and you want them to tell you if someone or something scares or worries them. Giving them examples such as, some kids get scared of bigger kids because they bully them, or hit them. Some kids get scared because someone tries to get them to do something wrong like take something that doesnt belong to them or someone tries to touch them or make them touch another on their privates.
What Should I Do if a Child Tells Me that Someone is Abusing Her/Him? Keep calm. It is very important to remain calm. The child may think that your anger is directed towards her/him Believe the child. In most cases, children do not lie about sexual abuseTell the child that the abuse was not her/his fault. Listen to the child. Let the child tell you what happened in her/his own words. Expect that the story may be incomplete. Typically, details come out as time goes by. Young children, in particular, may not know how to explain what has happened to them Seek medical attention. The child may be suffering internal injuries that you cannot see. A medical exam can also provide valuable evidence.. REMEMBER…It is important to help the child focus on healing, recovery and reclaiming childhood. What Shouldnt I Do? Go into a rage. Do not respond by becoming angry. This will confuse and frighten the child, making her/him avoid talking to you. Overwhelm the child. Do not stand over or invade the child’s personal space. This may make the child feel powerless and intimidated. Do not pressure the child to talk if she/he is not ready. You are not trained to ―interview‖ a child victim. Make promises. Do not make any promises that you are not sure you will be able to keep. If you know any child / parent in need of help Ajmer has a helpline : 8003094568, 8003094569 – Umeed
Being sensitiveI have heard that some children who disclose sexual abuse later “take it back.” Does this mean they were lying? No. In fact, attempting to ―take it all back‖—also known as recantation—is common among children who disclose sexual abuse. Most children who recant are telling the truth when they originally disclose, but may later have mixed feelings about their abuser and about what has happened as a result of the disclosure. Some children have been sworn to secrecy by the abuser and are trying to protect the secret by taking it back. Some children are dealing with issues of denial and are having a difficult time accepting the sexual abuse. In some families, the child is pressured to recant because the disclosure has disrupted family relationships. A delay in the prosecution of the perpetrator may also lead a child to recant in order to avoid further distressing involvement in the legal process.