In the recent past cases related to child sexual abuses have increased rapidly, particularly in the sub continent. A large number of children have been victims of child abuse because they are an easy prey and are unable to protect themselves. While the number of reported cases have increased significantly, a major chunk of cases still go unreported because in most cases the child is too scared to speak up, or if he does bring it to his parents attention, he is either not trusted or the matter is brushed under the carpet for the sake of family honor.
It has therefore become very important to teach and educate children about basics of their anatomy and physical privacy so that they are more informed and can protect themselves from such predators.
A study conducted by Sahil NGO about child sexual abuse cases in 2016 revealed that on an average 11 kids were sexually abused per day during the year 2016. As per the report, there were a total of 2810 cases of child sexual abuse that had over 6700 abusers, out of which a staggering 1750 abusers were acquaintance or family member of the victim. These statistics reveal that children are highly vulnerable even if they are left with a person that is seemingly reliable, and therefore it is important that they are trained to protect themselves.
Be Your Child’s Friend
What makes children a very easy prey for sexual predators is the fact that parents usually play the bad cop in order to discipline the child, which is often backed by communication gap between the parent and the child. Most predators take advantage of this and try befriending the child. They also threat their prey that their parents will not trust them and may possibly scold them or harm them if they ever find out and as a result the child becomes too scared to open up to his parents. A strong parent-child bond that supports open and smooth two way communication is extremely important to keep your child safe from such situations. It is important that your child trusts you enough and is comfortable enough to come and discuss anything and any kind of problem with you that he might be facing. It is important that if a child tells you something you encourage him to talk and show him that you believe in what he is saying.
Age Appropriate Sex-Education
Give your child sex education according to his age. It is recommended that the child is made aware of his physical privacy as early as the age of two and is given the concept of good touch and bad touch as soon as he starts communicating.
Use age appropriate terminologies and increase the depth and scope of this knowledge according to the age of your child.
A confident child will be safe child and a successful child. Build your child’s confidence by showing him that you believe in him. Let your child take age appropriate decisions and respect his choices. Teach him the importance of protecting his privacy, the concept of force and concept and educate him about his right of saying No. This is important so that your child knows that no one has a right to force him to do anything that he is not comfortable with.
Relationship with Others
In many child abuse cases, the abuser is a close family member or friend that enjoys the parent’s trust. It is important that parents are aware and keep a close check on people around their children. Parents should teach their child that no one is more important to them than their parents and that their parents love them most and care for them. If you feel that your child is unusually closer to a particular person, investigate it and talk to your child about it. Make sure that you are aware about everyone who spends time with your child and the dynamics of your child’s relationship with them.
Support Your Child and Stand With Him
If you discover that your child has been a victim of sexual abuse,. maintain your calm and composure in front of your child and let him know that you are there for him. You need to understand that at this stage your child is going through a physical, mental and emotional trauma and needs more love, care and attention from you. Tell your child that it was not his fault and the culprit will be taken to task. Catch and punish the victim and make sure that your child knows that his abuser got punished. This will help him regain his lost confidence.
It is recommended that you seek professional counseling for a victim child so that so that any risks of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) can be ruled out and the child has better coping strategies to deal with the situation and come out of it.
Parenting has become very tricky and difficult in the present era and at times it is difficult to make children understand the importance of maintaining distance with others. That said, kids are still very innocent and therefore a little tactfulness combined with love and compassion can help you create a bond with your child that will be difficult to penetrate for an outsider. Therefore, be more open to your child in terms of communication, encourage them to talk about taboo topics and give the confidence to speak up and make their choices. This will not only help keeping your child safe but will also help you raise a confident, successful and headstrong individual.