Worldwide, up to 50 percent of sexual assaults are committed against girls under 16. We have to pay attention to child sexual abuse. An estimated 150 million girls under the age of 18 suffered some form of sexual violence in 2002 alone.
Child abuse is more than bruises and broken bones. Physical abuse are visible but emotional abuse and neglect leave deep, long lasting scars. The earlier abused children get help, the greater chance they have to heal and break the cycle rather than perpetuate. Sexual abused children are tormented by shame and guilt. They may feel they are responsible for the abuse or somehow brought it upon themselves. This can lead to self-loathing and sexual problems as they grow older—often either excessive promiscuity or an inability to have intimate relations.
The shame of sexual abuse makes it very difficult for children to come forward. They may worry that others won’t believe them, will be angry with them, or that it will split their family apart. Because of these difficulties, false accusations of sexual abuse are not common, so if a child confides in you, take him or her seriously. Don’t turn a blind eye!
Warning signs of sexual abuse in children
- Trouble walking or sitting.
- Displays knowledge or interest in sexual acts inappropriate to his or her age, or even seductive behavior.
- Makes strong efforts to avoid a specific person, without an obvious reason.
- Doesn’t want to change clothes in front of others or participate in physical activities.
- An STD or pregnancy, especially under the age of 14.
- Runs away from home.
How to prevent child sexual abuse?
How to ask help and report sexual abuse?