Sex has always been a hush hush topic among us. For generations, we have been very touchy feely and of course ashamed and embarrassed to talk about it even with our parents. Maybe that’s why its ill usage has taken a rampage to destroy our lives.
A child while in its growth to adulthood faces numerous ‘why’s and ‘how’s regarding its physical and mental state. Bodily changes are new and the child is curious to discover all that lies in the ‘taboo’ world of sex. Maybe this eagerness is put to use in a wrong way and they are abused physically and sexually. In a 1998 review of related literature, Martin and Fleming states that, in most cases, the fundamental damage inflicted by child sexual abuse is due to the child’s developing capacities for trust, intimacy, agency and sexuality, and that many of the mental health problems of adult life associated with histories of child sexual abuse are second-order effects.
Offenses like fondling, making a child touch an adult’s sex organs, play sexual games or have sex putting objects or body parts (like fingers, tongue or penis) inside the vagina, in the mouth or in the anus of a child for sexual pleasure are equally horrifying as are the non-touching offenses like showing pornography to a child, deliberately exposing an adult’s genitals to a child, photographing a child in sexual poses, encouraging a child to watch or hear sexual acts, inappropriately watching a child undress or use the bathroom etc.
Victims of such heinous crimes are often left with post traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and can take the form of a long term psychological trauma. Such children report almost four times as many incidences of self-inflicted harm. These generally happen during a divorce or death of a family member or pet. These acts cause notable changes in brain functioning and development and the risk of harm is greater if the abuser is a relative, if the abuse involves intercourse or attempted intercourse, or if threats or force are used. Various factors such as penetration, duration and frequency of abuse, and use of force affect the level of harm. Furthermore, hardly any of the families keep a level head and support their children to move on with life after being a victim of such molestation but researches show that if exposed to friendly environments, after any such incident, the psychological harm to children, and adverse outcomes are less likely. Children often show us rather than tell us that something is upsetting them. There may be many reasons for changes in their behaviour, but if we notice a combination of worrying signs it may be time to call for help or advice.
Offenders could be anyone irrespective of whether they are related or non-related to us. However a bunch of paedophiles can be serious threat to the innocent children. Paedophilia is a condition in which an adult or older adolescent is primarily or exclusively attracted to prepubescent children. Another pressing matter is the commercial sexual exploitation of children which actually takes the form of child prostitution, child trafficking and child pornography. Monstrous acts of exposing children to such pornographic materials and thus leading them to the pit of a vile world, are truly unforgivable.
The global prevalence of child sexual abuse has been estimated at 19.7% for females and 7.9% for males. Most sexual abuse offenders are acquainted with their victims; approximately 30% are relatives of the child, most often brothers, fathers, uncles, or cousins; around 60% are other acquaintances, such as “friends” of the family, babysitters, or neighbours; strangers are the offenders in approximately 10% of child sexual abuse cases. According to the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS) an estimated 9.3% of confirmed or substantiated child abuse and neglect cases in 2005 involved sexual abuse.
Hence while the authorities are at it to prevent these misfortune events form happenings, we can also keep a check on our children and their nature. We need to watch out for them whether they are acting out in an inappropriate sexual way with toys or objects, nightmares, sleeping problems, becoming withdrawn or very clingy, becoming unusually secretive, sudden unexplained personality changes, mood swings and seeming insecure, regressing to younger behaviours like, bedwetting, unaccountable fear of particular places or people, outburst of anger, changes in eating habits, talk of a new, older friend and unexplained money or gifts, self-harm (cutting, burning or other harmful activities),physical signs, such as, unexplained soreness or bruises around genitals or mouth, sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy, running away and not wanting to be alone with a particular child or young person, all these could be watched as they grow up to cocoon them a safe and healthy environment.