In the past one decade, the number of children being sexually abused has increased tremendously. The entry of the internet and social media has contributed significantly to this trend. Many parents are spending much of their time at the workplaces. As a result, they do not have ample time to listen to the grievances of their children. Therefore, children are turning to social media and the internet to look for solace. Many of these have ended up being abused or victimized by their virtual friends, an aspect that affects their self esteem. This makes them vulnerable to bad influence from peer groups. Many end up abusing drugs and joining criminal groups, thereby, making them a primary target for sexual abuse. The 2003 National Institute of Justice Report states that three out of four adolescents who have been sexually assaulted were victimized by someone they knew well. This is evidence to society that our children are not protected. Spreading awareness to adults and education on body safety to children we can prevent childhood sexual abuse before it starts. It is now the community’s job to prevent, recognize, and react to childhood sexual abuse.
In order to protect children from child abuse, there is a need to initiate school childhood sexual abuse prevention program. There is a lot of information on the mainstream media that is misleading regarding sex and sexual behavior. On the other hand, parents are so busy to even create ample time for their children. As a result, teachers can close this gap on how to identify dangerous situations that might expose them to sexual abuse. Research indicates that children that are trained on sexual abuse and potential areas of this kind of abuse are more careful and they understand how to handle themselves with care. Therefore, teachers should be enlightened on how to incorporate sexual abuse lessons in the school program (Crime, 2012). They should train the students on how to refuse any sexual advances, and how to break away from any form of interaction from someone who make them feel uncomfortable. Moreover, educators should enlighten the students on the existing reporting channels that they can use in order to seek help. The reason is that some of those who have been sexually abused have no one to talk to. As a result, they end up suffering from depression. In extreme cases, some end up committing suicide. A sample of 825 women at the New England State University was taken. 62% of the sample reported having participated in a “good touch bad touch” sexual abuse prevention program in elementary school. 8% of respondents, who reported having a prevention program in school also reported having been subsequently sexually abused, compared to 14% of respondents who did not have a prevention program (Laura E Gibsona). Therefore, the program will play a significant role in lowering the number of cases in the country.
Recognizing childhood sexual abuse is an important step towards lowering the current statistics. Many adults fail to report sexual abuse on their children especially when it involves close family members. In some cases, they opt to settle the issue without involving the authority. The perpetrators choose the victims and start to attract their trust and that of their families in what psychologist call the Grooming process (Eva, 2017). This begins with gaining trust and access to the victim, they will begin to play a role in the child’s life or invoke empathy from the child with manipulating the child into thinking there hurting a friend. Next perpetrators will take steps to isolate the child, create secrecy around the relationship, and then initiate sexual contact. (Crime) Once they are known, they start a concealing process.
Some abusers have even used money to coerce the parents to drop any intension of seeking legal justice. However, children end up suffering because they are not taken through the healing process. This happens because many parents are not aware of the impact of sexual abuse on the mental strength of the children. Therefore, it’s important to design a campaign that will create awareness among the parents regarding the psychological impact that sexual abuse has to the children. On the legal front, the policy makers should redraft the existing laws to ensure that they punish the sexual offenders. Furthermore, there should be a clear definition of sexual abuse. If an adult engages in any sexual behavior including looking, showing, touching with a child to meet the adult’s interest or sexual needs, it is sexual abuse. This includes the manufacturing, distribution and viewing of child pornography (Center). Furthermore, a process should be established to determine the best intervention mechanisms to help the victim of sexual abuse (Collins, 2014).
The last important process is to react to the issue once it happens. The process starts with creating a bond with the child in order to open on the abuse case. However, once the child reveals the turn of events, the parents should contact the proper authority. Furthermore, the helper should protect the child from any harassment or victimization by the offender, their friends, or family members (Finkalhor, 2013). Moreover, it’s important to show the child that he/she is doing the right thing by speaking out. This plays a significant role in the healing process. It’s also critical to assure them that this will never happen again. Such assurance provides the child with confidence and mental relief. Research indicates that children who were shown support by their family members, peers, and educators were able to recover quicker than those who were ridiculed (Center, 2016). As a result, the teachers and parents should talk to the victim’s close friends in order to make them understand the psychological impact of sexual abuse on the child.
In conclusion, cases of childhood sexual abuse remain high despite various interventions from the government and non-governmental organization. Many of the victims have been abused by a person they know very well. Therefore, it’s important to establish a program to enable teachers disseminates important information on sexual abuse. Furthermore, parents should be enlightened on how to react to the abuse especially when it comes to a family member or a friend. Furthermore, the society should be trained on how to handle, react, and support a child who has been sexually abused.
- Center, N. S. (2016). Preventing Childhood Sexual Abuse. Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape.
- Collins, H. (2014, December). Responding to Child Sexual Abuse. American Academy of Child & Adolescents Psychiatry.
- Crime, T. N. (2012, January 4). Victims of Crime. Retrieved February 4, 2017
- Eva Charlotte Merten, J. C. (2017, January 17). Child & Adolescent Psychaitrey and Mental Health. BioMed Central.
- Finkalhor, D. (2013). The prevention of Childhood Sexual Abuse. Science Direct, 169-194.
- Laura E Gibsona, H. L. (2012). Child Abuse and Neglect. Science Direct, 1115-1125.