Child Abuse…It Happens
1. It happens to other people. The national statistic is 1 of every 3 girls will be sexually abused before they are 18. This statistic is based on the number of reported cases and is accepted to be below the actual percentage. This statistic is consistent from state to state and across all ethnic, social and economic groups.
2. Strangers are responsible for most sexual
abuse of children. 80% of this abuse is committed by family members, trusted friends or people with designated authority over a child. Over 50% of this abuse occurs in the home.
—Strangers were the offender in just 3% of sexual assaults against victims under age 6 and 5% of the sexual assault of victimizations of youth ages 6 through 11.
—40% of the offenders of victims under age 11 were themselves juveniles.
(U.S. Department of Justice)
3. It only happens to girls. The national statistic is 1 out of every 4 boys will be sexually abused before they are 18. The current estimates show that 25%-35% of victims of sexual abuse are boys.
4. My child would tell me. Most children don’t have the vocabulary to explain what is happening to them. Often they have been threatened or bribed by the abuser to keep the abuse a secret. Usually they feel ashamed, confused or embarrassed.
5. After being abused a child will be just fine after some time passes. Time heals nothing. The long-term effect of child abuse is often Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Whether the abuse was sexual, physical or emotional the long-term effects can include: Fear, anxiety, depression, anger, hostility, inappropriate sexual behavior, poor self-worth, tendency toward substance abuse and difficulty with close relationships.
Most people think of incest and sexual abuse as being only physical, the reality is they can be verbal, emotional, or physical and include:
· Touching and fondling or a sexual nature.
· Exposing children to sexually explicit movies, pictures or activities.
· Encouraging children to pose, undress or perform in a sexual fashion.
· Intruding into a child’s privacy in the bathroom or bedroom.
· Rape and all sexual activity whether attempted, forced or coerced.
Any time a child is forced, tricked, bribed, or threatened into inappropriate activity or sexual awareness it is sexual abuse.
Any time an older or more knowledgeable child or adult uses a child for their own inappropriate pleasure or stimulation it is sexual abuse. This kind of abuse is a betrayal of a child’s right to a normal, healthy trusting life.
Any time sexual abuse occurs between members of the same family it is called incest, even when the family relationship is only by marriage.
Indicators of Abuse:
Parents and care givers need to recognize the signs of abuse. It is very rare that there is physical evidence of sexual abuse and if the child is unable to tell you what happened you must recognize the changes in appearance and/or behavior as cries for HELP! Sadly, there is not just one behavior that indicates a child is being abused, but rather a combination of several.
· Changes in behavior at school or at home. (Shyness, inattentiveness, etc.)
· Sleep disturbances. (Insomnia, bed wetting, nightmares)
· Unexplained fears. i.e. a new reluctance to spend time with certain people.
· Loss of appetite.
· Excessive anger or reckless behavior.
· A need for more reassurance than usual.
· Excessive knowledge of sexual behavior.
· Isolation from friends, self limited participation in social activities.
· Drug or alcohol use.
· Chronic running away.
· Increase in physical complaints…especially stomach or bowel discomfort or pain.
· Inappropriate attention-getting behavior.
· Depression or suicide attempts.
· Self inflicted physical abuse.
· Poor self-worth.
Handling the consequences:
The abuse has already happened. What do I do?
1. Report the abuse to the authorities. The pedophile must be stopped! (Information below.)
2. Respond to your child calmly.
3. Be sure that your child is safe from further abuse. Reassure your child that he/she is safe, that he/she made the right decision in telling you.
4. Let your child know that what has happened to him/her is absolutely not their fault.
5. Obtain appropriate medical, emotional and legal help for your child’s needs.
6. Make sure other family members respect your child’s privacy. Explicit details are not necessary.
7. Let the child lead the way in communicating about what has happened to him/her but give enough information to other family members to ensure the safety of their children.
8. Try to follow normal routines in your home. Your child is still the same person as before and may need to have constant reassurance of this.
9. If your child has been abused, you will be dealing with some painful feelings of your own. Don’t hesitate to seek counseling for yourself. It is hard to help your child when you are upset.
10. Seek immediate professional help from an outside source even if the abuse is happening in the family. To keep abuse a secret helps no one, and may even cause a recurrence.
For comprehensive child abuse information please visit: Child Abuse — It Happens
How to Report Suspected
Fact: Children being abused cry in silence for someone to come and help them…protect them.
If you suspect child abuse or neglect, it should be reported to local law enforcement, social
service agency, or child protective services.The following is a toll-free hot-line recommended by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration that may also prove useful to you.
Childhelp USA National Child Abuse Hotline
(1-800-422-4453) 24 HOURS A DAY
We have assembled an extensive collection of articles and resources about child abuse. Child Abuse — It Happens
Protecting Life’s Treasures
If you would like to join us in our effort to educate for the awareness and prevention of child abuse please recommend us to your civic organization, day-care, church, youth organization or sports team for discreet child-safety workshops….or you may like to make a donation to fund and a community workshop for your friends, organization or neighborhood. We are ready to present child safety video workshop to educate ages pre-school through adult. Working together we can educate to keep kids safe.
Workshops for children include the underlined topics and workshops for parents include all of the following: general safety tips to keep kids safe, Internet safety, bullies, safety for latch-key children, child safety in youth sports, being street-wise and safe, babysitters guide…and much more. For adults much of this information will be available in written form and the work shops will include a video session and information packets on child abuse awareness and prevention.
*Two-thirds of sex offenders in prisons have been victimized as a child.
*Approximately 31% of women in prison state they were abused as a child. 3 out of 4 prisoners who victimized a child reported the crime took place in their own home or in the victim’s home.
(U.S. Department of Justice)
*90% of teen age prostitutes are victims of childhood sexual abuse. (CCPCA, 1992)
*A pedophile will molest between 35-65 children before they are ever arrested and they will molest an average of 175 children in their lifetime.
*There is an average of one pedophile per square mile in the United States.
(U.S. Department of Justice)
*Nine in ten Americans polled regard child abuse as a serious problem, yet only 1 in 3 reported abuse when confronted with an actual situation. (Prevent Child Abuse America)