Child Sexual Abuse : The Dark Reality


Child sexual abuse is one of less frequently acknowledged but a high prevalence crime among us. The intensity of this shoots up mainly because our dear children are not able to comprehend the activity that they are made to do nor are they in a position to express their consent or non consent. This demands a great deal of attention to the subject as well as awareness among our children as well as adults.

I recently came across the story of a girl who was sexually abused by her stepfather since age 5. It was not until 13 years of age that she found out what actually was happening to her. ( There are many such stories that we come across and plenty of news too in which even few months old kids are sexually abused.
What we can learn from the above story are three things

– Children seldom realize that they are being abused

– In most cases the abuser happens to be near relative/ friend

– The abuse is not a onetime event.

A child subjected to sexual abuse may not be open about it. This is mainly because child abuser threatens the child or due to “child sex abuse accommodation system” due to which a child does not disclose about the act immediately and later feels helpless and threatened. The abuser often uses the child’s trust to manipulate and abuse the child, hence Physical force is used rarely. Even when physical abuse is not present, such as taking pictures or exposing pornography to a child there is psychological trauma involved for the child.

Grooming is the main technique used by most of the abusers to gain trust from a child. It involves building trust to gain access and time with her/him, mainly by acting like a guardian and eventually gaining private time with the child. Subtle approaches are designed to build confidence with the child and the family and very rarely are physical force used. These techniques make the child a trusting companion and reduce the risk of disclosure for the fear of being abandoned. It also reduces the likelihood of abuse being detected. This can be easily understood by identifying inappropriate behavior among adults, something which we all should train our instincts to note and identify.

A child who is being abused shows certain symptoms which if observed can help us identify and give help. These symptoms are

– Advanced sexual knowledge than children of the same age group.

– Child may show signs of social withdrawal or depression.

– May show a sudden decline in grades and academic performance

– Child may become clingy and resist doing anything independently.

– May show disrupted sleep pattern.

– May become self destructive and aggressive

– May become distressed around a particular adult or seek excessive company with a particular adult.

Our major role in protecting children from sexual abuse lies mainly in making them aware of abuses. Most of the time we are reluctant or ignorant in sharing themes of sexuality to the children, this leads to unawareness in their part due to which they don’t recognize when they are sexually abused. Difference between a good touch and bad one and basic understanding about their body will bring a great difference. Children need to know that secrets about touching or taking their photograph or sexually using them are not good. Schools should play a major role here. Once a child is able to understand this he/she will be able to confide in a guardian whom she/he trusts in case of an abuse.

In most cases the child abusers are men, also they might in most case be in an adult relationship also. We should cultivate a comfortability level with our children so they feel safe to disclose any such abuses. In such a case we should not give any negative feedback to the child as it will lead to, the child losing confidence and preventing any future communication, which will lead to abuse continuing in majority of cases. So the most important part in protecting our children lies in proper education of adults and our children to understand the inappropriate behaviors properly. Children are the future of mankind, hence protecting them should be our utmost concern.


Contributed By – Manju Mathew

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