As parents we have this strong natural instinct to keep our children safe. There’s a sharp increase in crime against children and child sexual abuse is more prevalent than most people know. Sadly, this crime is most times perpetrated by people we know and are familiar with.
Child Sexual Abuse Statistics We all Should Know
This alarming statistics is on child sexual abuse and is one we all should know to equip us to keep our kids safe, especially as mothers.
1. One in five children get sexually abused before they turn 18. This figure is further broken down to show that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 20 boys gets sexually abused in their lifetime.
2. The likelihood of a child getting sexually abused by someone they know and trust is much higher than by someone they aren’t familiar with. 34% of sexual abuse against children is done by a family member, 58% by acquaintances, and just 7% by strangers.
3. Sexual assault, including child sexual abuse is demoralising to the victim and affects them in all ways; physically, emotionally, socially, spiritually, and psychologically.
4. Approximayely 40 million children get sexually abused each year.
5. Children are more vulnerable to sexual abuse when they are quite young; between the ages 7 and 12 years.
6. Children living with just one parent or who stay under constant marital discord are more at risk of sexual abuse.
7. An alarming 23% of child sexual abuse perpetrators are younger than 18.
8. Children who are intellectually disabled have a higher likelihood of being sexually abused.
9. Children who are victims of prolonged sexual abuse go on to develop low self esteem and feelings of worthlessness.
10. Sadly, not all children show these symptoms. 40% of children don’t which means abuse against them could go unnoticed.
11. A lot of children will likely disclose incidences of sexual abuse to friends or siblings.
12. A few will disclose to mothers and only through hints which could go unrecognized by the mother.
These facts are alarming and show that children may not be safe when we think they are. It’s also not a comforting thought to know that a child could be sexually abused and display no symptoms, giving the perpetrator the enabling environment and opportunity to continue.
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So How Do We Keep Our Children Safe Still?
While there is no 100% foolproof way to shield our children from sexual abuse, we can sufficiently keep them safe by following any of these tips:
1. Build a Close Relationship with Your Child
You might want to look into building a strong and close relationship with your child, especially as a mother. Children feel comfortable disclosing ‘secrets’ to us as parents when they feel close to us. They also will tell you things if they feel they won’t get scolded or punished. They will tell you in bit to guage your reaction and only continue if it is satisfactory.
Get involved in their lives; show a keen interest in their day-to-day activities, become their friends and they will feel more comfortable opening up to you.
2. Get to Know the People in Their Lives
Talk to them about their friends and encourage them to bring them home. This will give you the opportunity to study these friends upclose and know if they are fitting. Also encourage them to tell you when they meet people newly and what they feel about them.
3. Encourage Your Child to Speak Up
Don’t see it as rude when your child speaks up. Constantly shouting your child down when they do will affect their confidence and they may never feel comfortable enough opening up to you.
4 Teach Your Child about Their Body and about Boundaries
From an early age, a child should be sufficiently made aware of her body parts by name and should be comfortable enough to talk about them to you. Teach her about boundaries; she should be made to know no one is allowed to touch her inappropriately and to speak up if that happens.
Teach them to report any touch that makes them uncomfortable and that contrary to what they are told by the perpetrator, they wont die or get into trouble for speaking up.
5. Be Available and Know the Warning Signs
Your child should be able to get accross to you ALWAYS; they should know your phone number (s) off the top of their heads and also have quick access to a phone. This may just be what they need to stay safety.