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How to protect your child from sexual victimization?

Mar 08,2022

Child victimization refers to different forms of violence experienced by children. It can be of several forms and can lead to adverse mental as well as physical effects on their health. It includes sexual molestation among children but is not necessarily, restricted to abuse. Other forms of child victimization include sexting, grooming, and cyberbullying. 

Children with victimization experience in the past are more vulnerable to facing it in the future than the ones who have not encountered it. On the other hand, younger ones who have mental health issues like Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), or any disability are at a bigger risk of getting victimized. 

Apart from the aforementioned factors, another leading factor resulting in sexual victimization is the family structure of a child. Children living in non-traditional conditions (with a single parent, stepparent, grandparents, guardians, etc.) are more exposed to experiencing cases of sexual victimization. 

Child protection, as the word clearly suggests, includes a series of measures and steps, addressing the prevention of children from any form of sexual victimization that can lead to contact or non-contact sexual abuse. To know a few of the ways that can help you safeguard your children, keep reading the article till the end. 

Make sure your child is safe online. 

UNICEF says that about 80% of the children of 25 countries complain of feeling in danger of sexual abuse or exploitation online. With technological advancements taking place all over the globe. It has become easier for molesters to reach out to children over boundaries and victimize them. An increase in the number of non-contact sexual violence may lead to social isolation, anxiety, depression, suicidal behavior, substance abuse, self-harm, and other mental health issues. 

To protect your child from online exposure to child victimization, it is important to inform them about the risks involved with the use of digital platforms. As a parent, you must adopt certain safety measures to ensure that your child is safe while using the internet. 

Recognize silent signs of victimization and take action 

After exposure to sexual assault or molestation, not every child might come forward to talk. However, evident signs of victimization can be noted by the parents. Physical signs of abuse like redness, rashes in the genital area, urinary infections, etc. must be closely investigated. On the other hand, emotional symptoms like isolation, anxiety, depression, fear, among other signs can point to sexual victimization. 

Every child responds differently to sexual abuse. While some might get aggressive, others might just become numb and silent. Bedwetting, cruelty to animals, and delinquent behavior are some other signs on which you must start paying attention. Sexual victimization has deleterious effects on the mental as well as physical health of adolescents. To safeguard your child, it is indispensable to take action as soon as possible. 

Get into deep conversations to avoid future harm. 

According to UNICEF, about one in ten girls less than 20 years of age has to indulge in performing sexual acts forcefully. As a parent, it's crucial to maintain a healthy and friendly relationship with your child. 

Try talking to them about their everyday schedules and experiences. If he or she shares an important detail with you, do not ignore them, rather pay special attention to it. Most often, parents brush aside the initial incidents, which thus result in much more harmful incidents. In case your child shares an incident of victimization, immediately take action to avoid any future harm.

Educate yourself 

To protect our innocent children, it is important to educate ourselves and others around us on the subject of child sexual abuse. Research shows that 90% of the total child sexual molestation cases come from someone known, 30% of them are done by the child's family members, and about 40% are abused by children elder to the victim.

Child sexual abuse leaves a lifetime impact on the victim. Both mental and physical consequences are capable of ruining the life of an individual. It is crucial to know the facts about child sexual assaults and stay updated to avoid your child's risk of being exposed to a perpetrator. Take part in education campaigns to ensure that you are not missing out on anything important.

Apart from taking the preventive measures of protecting children from sexual victimization, reporting child sexual abuse is also a crucial part of the process. By staying shut, your child continues to remain at the risk of the perpetrator. 

The innocence and incapability to tell about the assault are the prime reasons that make children more vulnerable to sexual victimization. They can be easily forced to perform sexual acts. The financial backgrounds of families also play an evident role in the vulnerability of a child to sexual abuse. 

To protect children, parents must teach them about sexual behaviors from an early age. Knowing about appropriate and inappropriate touches and avoiding isolated places can also reduce the risk of sexual victimization. Our future is secure if our children are safe. If you or anyone you know might be suffering from sexual victimization, report it immediately.