The universe never stops amazing us, keeping us always wondering what could happen next, and those surprising things are usually related to how progressive technology has become, but that doesn’t mean that life is always full of pink roses and delightful rainbows. There is actually a dark side that can be even more surprising, and once you get exposed to it, there is no turning back, for you will always be haunted by all the dull thoughts and fears that keep you awake at night. Let us be clear, the world is not always a safe place, there are a lot of evils hidden inside the most innocent-looking people, and the ones that you barely suspect, and by evils we mean criminals, murderers, robbers, and sexual abusers. Once you become aware of their existence, fear will always take a spot inside your head, and if you have children who are still innocent and ignorant of the world’s dark side, believing that Santa and unicorns are real, it is even much scarier.
Although all evil people are dangerous, sexual abusers might be the ones you fear the most. They are called Paedophile, and what makes them scary is the fact that they can’t be easily recognized as most of people tend to believe, and they are rarely strangers, and in most, if not all of the cases they are people who are in your child’s social circle; they could be acquaintances, neighbors, close friends, or even worse; family members residing at the same house where your child is.
Sexual abuse has several forms in which your child might encounter; it could be through touching, penetration, either vaginally or anally, by an object or a penis, or by asking the child to touch their genital organs. However, it is not always physical, it can also be through exposing the child to explicit materials or even by verbally harassing children by engaging them in sexual conversations. Being overprotective still will not keep your children away from the danger of being molested, but there several ways that you can use and teach your children, so you can save them from growing up negatively affected by such experiences, especially that these kinds of trauma can have several side effects; physically, emotionally and mentally.
Sexual assault can happen to any child, it could have happened to you as a kid, so you understand that your child needs protection. Even if you weren’t exposed to such things, you surely still need to save your child. So here is what you need to do in order to minimize your child’s chances of being sexually abused.
1 Build Trust!
This is the very first thing that you should work on. You should befriend your children, and be able to talk to them, and listen to everything they have to say. Instead of grounding them, tell them that whatever they did was wrong and how to avoid it next time, for punishing will drive them away, and they will always be afraid of getting in trouble if told you anything. Tell them that it is okay to say anything and discuss whatever makes them feel uncomfortable. Also, make sure to show interest in how their day went, and let them tell you all the details about what they did in school, who they played with or talked to, and so on.
2 Teach your kids communication skills
Teach your children the essential communication skills, and that they should be able to express themselves freely, be bold enough to say if something went wrong with them instead of isolating themselves. Also make sure you always work on boosting their self-esteem, for the higher their self-esteem is, the more expressive they are to be. Let them be comfortable with the fact that they are allowed to raise new topics of any kind, and discuss it with you. Besides, it would be more useful if you involve in this process some of the adults that you think might be close to your children, so your kids are open to talk about anything around them, especially if any of these adults might be the suspect. This way you will lessen the chances of your child being molested, if any of those adults happened to be a sick Paedophile, for he/she will be afraid of getting caught.
3 Give your children the required sexual information
By this we mean that you should teach them the proper names of their genital organs, so if something happens, they can express it accurately instead of referring to their organs by their private parts, and tell them that there is nothing to be ashamed of. You should also teach them when touching is friendly, and when it is not. Let them know that they have the right to say no to whoever wants to hug, kiss, or touch them if they feel uncomfortable doing so, even if this someone happens to be close like their friends, relatives or even their parents themselves. They should also know that they are not allowed to touch others’ genital organs, no matter what.
4 Know your kids’ social circle
Always make sure you know their social circle, and whoever they happen to interact with, especially the adults, whether babysitter, teacher, coach, or even their schoolmates. Ask them about these people constantly, let them tell you how they interact together, and get information about their schoolmates’ parents as well. You have the total right to know the adults your kids interact with.
5 Be aware of the signs of abuse
Most importantly, you should be aware of the signs that might tell you whether your child has been molested or abused. Although they might differ from one person to another, but still you should pay close attention to any changes that might occur to your child, or if he/she happens to show any of these signs:
Isolating themselves and being depressed.
Being afraid to sleep in the dark, or even alone.
Wetting their beds, especially when they are past this point in terms of age.
Drop in their academic performance.
Being afraid of a certain person or place.
Either eating too much or too little.
Suffering from infections in their genital organs.
Showing self-harming behaviors like drugs use, cutting, or suicidal ideation.
Suddenly using inappropriate sexual language.
Showing weird sexual behaviors, like masturbating in public, or constantly touching themselves.
If your kid showed any of these signs, try not to panic because this will not solve the conflict. In fact, it might worsen it and scare the kid, urging them to deny instead. You should act responsibly by trying to stay calm, no matter how hard it is to do so, and report the incident to the protection team of your area. Even if these signs are not obvious, but you still suspect that your child is in danger, do not hesitate and report it. The protection team will investigate the matter, and either approve your concern or deny it; in both cases, it is the best decision to make.
Moreover, you should know that no matter what happens, you are a good parent since you are doing all you can to make sure your child is safe, and it is not your fault if all of your attempts fails. Just report it, work on healing your child from that traumatic experience, and most importantly, do not give up hope, for they will be fine in the long run as long as you keep trying. Don’t beat yourself up.