Abuse is a word that has several connotations associated with it. There is a multitude of ways abuse can be carried out, and its consequences or effects can range in an unlimited number of possibilities. Abusive cases regarding anybody should be taken very seriously and with compassion (when it comes to the victim). However, the abuse of a child, especially in a sexual way, is the most dangerous and horrendous form of abuse and can lead to a cycle of abuse later on. Children are typically defenseless and because they are so young and still developing, it is harder for them to understand what is going on and how to deal with it. In some cases, a child who has been sexually abused will absorb some of these characteristics and even abuse others as they get older because it is how they grew up and all they know.
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Child sexual abuse is extremely detrimental as it can cause long-term issues for life. For this reason, the group decided to cover the topic of preventing child abuse because prevention is the best cure. Prevention of child abuse has to be the number one step that society takes, so that an innocent life will not be unnecessarily disturbed or in the worst cases, ruined. In my section of child sexual abuse, I define prevention in more than a sentence because there are many techniques for preventing child abuse and there are a number of circumstances where prevention can be applied. Our presentation by topic follows in this order: Types of Abuse, Preconditions for Child Sexual Abuse, Children at Risk, Effects of Child Abuse, Sexual Abuse Trauma, Treatment Programs, and lastly Preventing Sexual Abuse.
The first point of my presentation includes defining what prevention is and means in the context of child sexual abuse. When we think about the word prevent, it seems pretty simple: stop something from happening. Preventing child sexual abuse is not always this simple though. Those that abuse children sexually have a disorder and have something seriously wrong with their mental processes. Even if a person has been treated for abusive behavior and appear to be normal, there is always a chance of relapse just like with former drug users. That desire to do what they like to do never fully disappears, no matter how well they have rehabilitated, and this is an unavoidable obstacle for recovery even after prevention.
The very best way for preventing child sexual abuse and a future child sexual abuser is by the practice of good parenting or guardianship. Children with responsible and loving guardians are less likely to be abused because their guardians are cautious and protective of them. A child with these circumstances are also vastly less likely to abuse as they get older because they are brought up in a proper environment with good role models to follow.
It is a common misconception a child is more likely to be sexually abused by a stranger rather than by a family member or someone trusted by the family. In reality, 30-40% of reported child sexual abuse concerns a family member, and about 50% of sexually abused children are molested by a person the family knows (darkness2light.org). This means that only 10% of children who have been sexually abused are abused by strangers, so it is critical that prevention starts in the home. Another thing to think about is that these statistics only involve reported cases. A child is more likely to reveal information about abuse committed by a stranger than by a parent, relative, or family friend. With that said, the likelihood is probably even higher that a child will be sexually abused by someone they know rather than by a complete stranger.
Another reason why it is so important that prevention of child abuse starts in the home by the guardians is because 70% of reported sexual assaults are carried out on individuals seventeen and younger (darkness2light.org). The reason for this of course is that kids under this age are vulnerable and less aware of the dangers people may pose. They also have a harder time understanding why something like this could be happening to them.
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For all children to have responsible and protective guardians would be to live in a perfect world and this is unfortunately impossible. Sometimes a good environment at home is unrealistic, and extra preventative measures must be taken to stop or at least correct a sexually abusive situation. Society as a whole must come together to create an environment outside of the childrenâ€™s nuclear home. If a child is being sexually abused in their home and then come out to an environment with no helpful recourses or information available to them, they stand no chance. That is why it is crucial for places such as schools, hospitals, religious places, or wherever else it may be, to educate children on what is right and wrong as far as how they should be treated. As hard as it may be to understand, children who are abused by their parents or close ones will usually still love them and feel deeply attached, so they will be scared or hesitant to report abuse in fear of disappointment, worse treatment, or even abandonment (childabuse.gov). By educating children on the subject and by making them understand that it is not their fault, it is possible to create a place where the child feel comfortable enough to be honest and forward.
On top of the places mentioned previously, there are also numerous recourses available specifically designed for preventing and educating when it comes to child sexual abuse. Programs like NCTSN (National Child Traumatic Stress Network) can educate parents on how to prevent their child from being abused and what signs to look for if they have been. Websites such as darkness2light.org has a list of national and local programs that deal with everything from prevention to rehabilitation. By typing in â€œChild Sexual Abuse Preventionâ€ in google one can clearly see that there is no lack of resources out there. There are thousands of programs designed to specifically prevent sexual abuse of a child, and even help restore the lives of those that have been taken away from abuse. There is even a national hotline, 1-800-4-A-CHILD, with operators and counselors committed to helping these victims.
From my project research and experience, I became more knowledgeable in the ways sexual abuse of a child can be prevented, and how individuals as well as society as a whole can help children who are already being abused. Sexual abuse, especially on a child, is in my opinion one of the worst and immoral things you can do as a human being. I learned that the people who commit this type of abuse to this demographic are often deranged and have no control over their compulsive desire to commit these atrocities. The very best thing we can do to prevent this type of destruction to a childâ€™s life is to start with care and preventative measures inside the home and to implicate these measures outside the homes in public places as well. More than anything, I learned that prevention of this is not a simple task. It is almost impossible to protect a child inside their own home with abusive parents, if there is no evidence and the child is silent about the situation. We must all work together to put the knowledge out there for children on when they should go for help.
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