“Child abuse casts a shadow the length of a lifetime” – Herbert Ward
Abuse is a form of trauma that instils fear in a child or any other person for that matter. Sexual abuse negatively affects a child in every aspect. It impairs a child’s ability to trust others, especially if the inflictor was a close relative or friend. It narrows a child’s self-esteem, triggers impulsive behaviour, and disassociation. It may lead the child to develop anger issues and may struggle to cope with stress. A child may resort to self harm as a way of coping with the trauma.
Parents, caregivers or any adult needs to notice and consider every action or behaviour a child projects. Pay attention to every word or miniscule detail of how and what a child does. Following are a list of things that can be done to avoid child abuse:
- Educate children about the right values of sex. Educate children that your private parts are not to be touched by anyone.
- Make sure you are aware of what kind of play your child indulges in.
- Monitor the kind of content that your child watches or searches for on the television and the internet.
- Warn your children to not sit on anyone’s lap or get too close to anyone, including relatives.
- Pay careful attention when an always cheerful child suddenly becomes distant. They may be experiencing some sort of abuse.
- Don’t force your child to visit any adult they are not comfortable with.
- Pay careful attention to what a child has to say about a particular place or a specific person. If a child constantly complains about something or someone, make sure to investigate it.
- Look for any kind of unusual bruises or injuries on your child or even other children. This may indicate that the child is a victim of physical abuse.
- Notice when a child is always being withdrawn. They may be going through medical or emotional neglect.
Child abuse is one of the vilest crimes and a common phenomenon on a global level. Studies show that more than 1000 children die every year due to child abuse and neglect, while many even go unrecorded. Child abuse is a result of any action by another person – adult or child – that causes significant harm to a child. It not only encompasses broken bones and bruises, but far more than that. It scars a child for life, both mentally and emotionally too.
Child Abuse is of many forms: physical, emotional, sexual, exploitation, neglect to just name a few. Each worse than the other. While all forms of abuse are equally bad, sexual abuse is the cruellest of them all. Sexual Abuse is when a child is forced to take part in sexual activities, physically or non-physically. Sometimes, the child doesn’t even realize that what is happening to them is abuse or that it is wrong. In most cases, the abuser is close to the family of the child, maybe a relative, family friend, or neighbour. And this is one of the main reasons why children don’t speak up about what is happening with them. They fear that their parents might not understand them or may call it a bluff.
You must take action when you notice a child showing unnatural or distant behaviour which could be the child always being jumpy or scared. Try to talk to the child or take this up to a child welfare organisation. As humans, it is very important that we protect the innocence of our children. After all, they are the future of the world.