Myths and facts about child sexual abuse | Sex in the Suburbs

As kids go back to school following a FederalWay second grade teacher’s arrest for sexualabuse, let’s review some myths and factsabout child sexual abuse.

Myth: Child sexual abuse is really rare.

Fact: About one in 10 children will be sexuallyabused before they are 18. That’s too many.One child is too many.

Myth: I don’t want to scare my child. I’m goingto wait until they are older to talk about it.

Fact: Twenty percent of these children whoare abused will have this happen before age 8.

There are great books that can help you bringup the topic, without scaring your kids suchas “It’s My Body” by Lory Britain, “It’s Not theStork” by Robie Harris and “Telling Isn’tTattling” by Kathryn M. Hammerseng toname just a few.

Darkness to Light, a training program to prevent sexual abuse, recommends “open conversationswith children about body safety, sex and boundaries” as one of their top five steps to prevent sexualabuse (www.d2l.org).

Teaching kids correct body parts and celebrating what is good about their bodies helps themrecognize when something is wrong.

Myth: We’ve covered “stranger danger,” so we’ve done all we need to do.

Fact: Ninety percent of child sexual abuse victims know their abuser. Though family membersaccount for only 30 percent of abusers, the vast majority of children know their abusers.

Pedophiles groom children, so abuse happens gradually and sneakily. They may also threaten thechild with harm to loved ones.

This doesn’t mean you need to be suspicious of every friend, coach, teacher or relative. It does meanyou need to talk about body safety with your child so they know what’s OK and what isn’t, even if it’ssomeone they know who’s touching them.

Make sure they know that the area under where they’d wear a bathing suit is private.

They are the only ones who should touch their body there unless it’s a doctor doing an exam with aparent in the room, or someone helping them take a bath. Even then, if they are uncomfortable,they should let you know.

Myth: Kids make up stuff all the time.

Fact: Child sexual abuse reports are false only four to eight percent of the time. In fact, 60 percent ofchild sexual abuse victims never tell anyone (www.d2l.org).

It’s really rare for a child to make up sexual abuse. Most of the time when reports are made up, it’san adult in a custody dispute. If a child tells you about abuse, believe them.

Myth: You can’t really tell if a child is being abused.

Fact: It can be challenging, because there are not always obvious signs. Look for physical changeslike redness in the genital area or an onset of chronic headaches or stomach pain.

Emotional and behavioral changes are more common and may include anything from perfectionistbehavior to withdrawal, depression or anger.

Another red flag can be sexual behavior and language that are not age-appropriate. If you see thesethings, get help.

If your child or any child talks to you about abuse, believe them, and make sure they know youbelieve them. Thank them for being brave enough to share with you.

Then get help. It’s not your job to investigate the abuse, but it is your ethical duty to report it.

Let the child know you will do what you can to protect them.

And don’t panic. There is hope. Many children who receive support heal and even go on to helpothers.

 

Source: http://www.federalwaymirror.com/opinion/327512921.html