Child sexual abuse has been on the rise in the recent past and this has raised a lot of concern amongst the concerned members of the family and the society at large. Child sexual abuse can be described as any relationship between the child and either the adult or another child whereby the child victim is used for sexual gratification of the perpetrator. Sexual abuse of the child includes indecent touching of the child’s breasts, genitals, buttocks, oral-genital contact, and actual sexual intercourse with a minor. Non-touching behavior that amounts to child sexual abuse includes voyeurism, exhibitionism, or exposing a minor to pornography.
The perpetrators do not necessarily use physical force but may employ threats, play, and deception among other forms of coercion to achieve their evil ends. More often than not, they employ manipulative tactics which are commonly known as ‘grooming’ and include buying the child some gifts and taking them out for special activities, which acts to confuse the child. The sexually abused children are faced with many challenges which range from physical to psycho-emotional distress. This paper shall focus on the argument as to whether the sexually abused children immediately open up to their parents or not.
Child Sexual Abuse: Sexual abuse is a traumatizing experience to the child and this has seen most cases of child sexual abuse go unreported. According to the American Academy of Child Adolescent Psychiatry (2009), about 80,000 incidences of child sexual abuse has been reported in the United States and those incidences that have not been reported are even greater in numbers than the reported incidences. This can be attributed to the fact that the child victim becomes afraid to share his/her experience with anybody, parents included. Generally, children who are sexually abused find it difficult to tell their parents.
Many reasons could be behind this which includes the threats of bodily harm to the child and his/her family that is issued by the perpetrators (Human Rights Foundation of Monland – Burma, 2008). The child may also think that they might be removed from the home if they spoke of the molestations. The child may also fear that he/she might not be believed and that she/he is responsible for what has befallen him/her. The child victim may also be overwhelmed by the feeling of shame and guilt and therefore opt not to disclose anything to the parents (Care2. com, inc. , 2010).
In the event that the abuser is an individual that either the family or the child cares about, the child victim may not want to get the perpetrator in any trouble by reporting. The child victims may think that the abuse was their own fault and therefore disclosing it may land them into more troubles. It must also been noted that under-age children may not have developed the language skills to communicate the abuse or may fail to understand that the actions of the perpetrators are abusive especially in incidences where the sexual abuse is turned to be a game (The National Child Traumatic Stress Network, 2010).
Conclusion: Sexually abused children go through a traumatic experience and it becomes very difficult to tell the parents of what has happened. It is therefore the duty of the parent to be observant to the changes in behavior and attitudes of the children to notice if anything is wrong. Parents should also approach their children with calm and composure and should also be understanding to the child so as to get to the bottom of the matter and offer appropriate help.