Help Eradicate Abuse through Learning

What is Child Sexual Abuse:
“Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) is the involvement of a child in sexual activity with an adult or another child who by the age or development is in a relationship of responsibility, trust or power.”

Child Sexual Abuse formulated by the 1999 WHO Consultation Abuse Prevention (62) (excerpt)

A child is sexually abused when touched inappropriately or is violated by means which are visual or verbal in nature.
It includes rape, sexualized touch, exposing the child to sexually explicit material, sexualized talk, 'peeping' in on the child when a child is undressing etc.

Who could be an abuser:
Anybody can be an abuser. Sex offenders do not fit any classic stereotype. They come from all walks of life and are ordinary people. They can be family members, family friends, baby sitters, coaches, teachers, visitors or neighbours.

Recognising Child Sexual Abuse
There are various behavioral and physical indicators that a parent or caretaker should be aware of to be able to recognize child sexual abuse. Some such indicators are listed below.

• Difficulty with concentrating and being withdrawn or overly obedient.
• Anxious, irritable or destructive behaviour.
• Consistent psychosomatic complains or frequent depression
• Regressive behaviour such as baby talk, thumb sucking and bed wetting.
• Creating stories, poems or artwork about abuse.
• Sexual knowledge or behaviour that is inappropriate for the child's age or
• Bruising, bleeding, swelling, tears or cuts on genitals or anus.
• Pain or itching in the genital area, difficulty going to the bathroom,
  walking or sitting.
Note: All mentioned indicators do not necessarily always have to be as a result of sexual abuse. Also in some cases, it is possible that a child could show absolutely no behavioural or physical indicators but is still being abused.


Prevention of CSA:
It is important to have the right information and a sensitive attitude to prevent CSA. Some steps that you can take to address CSA are:

• Listen to your children and trust what they say. Even if it shocks you.
  Children rarely make up stories about sexual abuse.
• Be watchful of the company your child keeps.
• Teach children about being safe in a way that does not frighten them.
• Teach children correct names of their private body parts: this includes
   their lips and parts of their bodies covered by a swimming suit.

Most importantly open and constant communication is the key!

Handling disclosure:
• Remain calm
• Believe the child
• Be a listener and not an investigator
• Keep information confidential- only those who absolutely need to know
  should be told.
• Seek medical, legal and psychological help.

Age Appropriate Information
18 months: Teach your child the proper names for body parts.
3-5 years: Teach your child about private parts of the body and how to say no sexual advances. Provide straightforward answers about sex.
5-8 years: Discuss safety away from home and the difference between comfortable touch and uncomfortable touch. Encourage your child to talk.
8-12 years: Stress personal safety. Start to discuss rules of sexual conduct that are accepted by the family.
13-18 years: Stress personal safety. Discuss rape, date rape, sexually transmitted diseases and unintended pregnancy


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