Child molestation is a growing menace even though it’s been around the whole time shrouded in secrecy and protected by the forced silence of its victims.
Sexual molestation is such a heartbreaking reality because of its far-reaching consequences, its immediate negative impacts on the affected child and the ripple effect of such abuse that could well threaten the child’s future and psychological wellbeing long after the physical wounds have healed.
Most children find it difficult to open up to anyone about it for fear of being reprimanded, shame, or that they will be harmed by the perpetrator of the abuse.
A stitch in time always saves nine, here are the signs to look out for whether the concern is that there’s a threat in your child’s vicinity or that they have already been abused.
- Fear of a person or intense dislike at being left alone somewhere or with someone.
- Abnormal and excessive crying without provocation.
- Stained or torn underwear
- Withdrawal and sudden anti-social behavior
- Unexplained injuries such as bruises, cuts, limping, rashes
- Loss of appetite or change in eating pattern
- Bedwetting, nightmares, disrupted sleeping
- Swollen genitals, vaginal or rectal bleeding, vaginal discharge or STD
- Unusual interest in knowledge of sexually related matters
- Expression of affection in ways inappropriate for a child that age
- A sudden drop in grades and absent-mindedness
As the saying goes, “prevention is better than cure”, so you as a parent must keep your guards up and arm yourself with useful information to forestall
Here are a few tips for you:
- Protect your children and don’t open your home to every family, friend, or acquaintance. When you do have people around your kids, be vigilant!
- Be attentive. Listen to your children and seek to understand why they do not want to be in certain places or around certain people.
- Reassure your children. Talk with them often and let them know there is nothing they can’t share with you. In fact, encourage them to report events to you.
- Teach them about their bodies and explain what parts of their bodies are okay or not to be touched.
- Even when they are touched on the part of their bodies that are not private, explain to them that they can be touched inappropriately and they should resist.
- Teach your kids that it is OK to shout ‘No” when they are feeling uncomfortable or violated in any way.
- Teach them not to keep secrets about anyone touching their body parts.
- As much as possible, know where your kids are at all times.
- Watch out for teenagers or adults that pay an unusual amount of attention or pay extra attention to your child. especially time that is unsupervised.
- Choose your babysitters carefully. Ask for personal references/guarantors and check up on them unannounced from time to time.
- Know who their friends are as well as the caregivers in the homes your kids’ visit.
- Teach your child to trust and talk to you despite possible threats by an abuser.
- Practice safety skills with them, have a plan in place in case they run into trouble.
- Teach them to scream ‘NO’ when approached suspiciously by a stranger.
- Have them memorise your phone number and home address, so the police can reach you.