How Safe Is Your Child?
Not a single day that passes by without us hearing about heinous sexual crimes against children. Sexual predators are on the prowl and you need to be extremely cautious when it comes to your child’s safety. Because, unfortunately, in most cases, the offender is someone who is well know to the child.
So what can you to protect your child against the dangers lurking around? Simple. Become proactive and careful.
Here are 8 proactive and practical ways to tackle child sex abuse.
Build a bond of trust with your child
“We’re there for you, no matter what” – when children are given unconditional love and support by their parents, they become mentally strong. They will not think twice before confiding their deepest secrets to you. Remember, most offences never come out in the open because children fear that their parents will get upset and blame them for the incident. Hence it is extremely important to build a strong, deep bond of trust with your child.
Empower your child to speak openly
It’s very important that you empower your child to speak openly to you about anything under the sun. Don’t shy away from delicate topics like sex and ‘boundaries of touch’; they will open up to you only if they have comfortable equation with you.
Make them aware
Explain in detail to your child about the dangers that are lurking around. It’s very important for them to know that even those who are well known (family members, friends and acquaintances) might cause harm.
And yes, they should also keep away from strangers, even on social platforms.
Instruct them not to get into a conversation, take lifts or accept any gifts/ eatables from strangers.
Good touch and bad touch
Children should know and understand the difference between good touch and bad touch. They need to know that it is not right when someone touches them on the lips, chest or private parts without their permission. Empower them to say “No” and call out loudly for help, without any fear.
Learn the facts
It’s crucial to know and understand the facts about child abuse. The information can be extremely disturbing, but it will give us a better understanding of the issues faced by children.
Avoid all possible chances of your child being left alone or in the company of people who you don’t know. Keep a sharp eye on children, especially in places like parks and malls. Don’t let your child go out alone until he or she is old enough to handle tricky situations.
Look for signs
If you feel something isn’t right, go by your gut feeling – it might turn out to be true. The child may not say anything, but it’s important that you monitor his or her behaviour, expressions and conversations closely. Most of the time, children go quiet after such incidents primarily out of fear. They also become aloof, detached, stubborn, depressed and irritable.
- Physical signs of abuse include:
- Redness, rashes or swelling in the genital area
- Urinary tract infections
- Physical problems like stomach pain or headaches, caused due to anxiety
- Sexual behaviour and language that are not age-appropriate
If you suspect or come to know of an incident from the child, react responsibly. It’s natural to feel extreme anger, shock and sadness, but you need to calm down and think, react and act responsibly. Confront the offender and make sure that he or she does get away with it. Never hide these incidents fearing the society, as it will only encourage the offender to commit more crimes. Speak up for the child and him or her unconditional support, love and care. Make sure that they heal completely, physically and emotionally. Ensure psychological support through expert counselling. Reassure them that you are there for them and it’s a nightmare they need to get over.