All parents want to protect their children as much as possible from violence and sexual abuse. But when can one discuss this topic with children at all? And what exactly does one warn his child in particular? Is it necessary to disclose all the details or are there a few basic rules to protect the child from sexual assault? In view of the fact that the perpetrators are often family members, the topic of sexual abuse is even more difficult and should be tackled with the utmost sensitivity. It is very important to convey to the child that with every problem and all fears always come to the parents.
Sexual abuse - protection through strong self-esteem
Self-confident children are less likely to be victims of sexual abuse. The inhibition threshold for the offender seems to be higher here, as he fears that the child could defend himself or address the abuses at home. It is therefore important to give your child the best possible self-image and to pay attention to his physical needs and to respect them. This begins with the uncle's kiss, which the child refuses. Never be touched or caressed, which makes the child uncomfortable.
A "That's not so bad, pull yourself together, otherwise the uncle is insulted" is a bed in which the seed of the culprit sprouts in the future. Because even he can use such slogans to move a child to things he does not want. What a child wants and what does not, determines it itself. It also takes courage to say that one does not want to be touched by the aunt. For this the children need self-confidence and the feeling of being able to deal with their own body.
If your child is rather shy and reserved, you can also boost your self-confidence in special courses. Almost every city today has it, and self-defense for kindergartners is offered by some organizations. It's not to say that a kindergartner could effectively defend himself against an adult, but the knowledge a child acquires in such a course makes it more self-confident and courageous - and thus takes it out of victimhood.
Protect openness and education!
A good relationship with your child is the alpha and omega of having your child confide in you when in need. Incidentally, you should enlighten your child in terms of sexuality, open and without shame. The story with the bees and little flowers is long gone.
A child can only name what it knows. So be as open as possible, give all body parts the right names and do not be afraid to answer your child's questions honestly.
If your child asks - and it will ask, since all children from a certain age are interested! - Where the babies come from, tell it to him as impartially as possible and leave the stork outside. There are now wonderful enlightenment books and pamphlets that help parents tackle sexuality without inhibitions.
Threat and reward - discuss the offender's methods with children
Elementary age children should know what sexual abuse is. Explain to your child as objectively as possible and without fear that sexual abuse occurs again and again. Of course it is a tightrope walk between warning and anxious.
Therefore, it is important that you also tell your child: that exists, but it rarely happens. But if it happens, you have to talk about it. The most common method of perpetrators is to silence the child. He will make threats or try to blackmail the child. Or he makes promises and rewards the child for his silence. That too, your child should know. Those who know the methods will also find it easier to recognize when sexual abuse begins and can defend themselves against it.
Because often the sexual abuse begins creeping and not from one second to the other. A perpetrator feels his way forward and over time more and more borders. So encourage your child to speak immediately about anything that is uncomfortable to him, even if it is threatened. It must know that it can only be protected if it speaks about it.
How to protect children from sexual assault on the Internet?
In addition to minor scams, the Internet also offers sexually motivated criminals a new space. This room should actually be considered as such by the parents.
Crime Scene: Internet is in itself best suited to remain unrecognized, because he has something ready, what the real life can not do: absolute anonymity and no witnesses. Thus, especially this new crime scene is very popular.
Unfortunately, the children, who are not very familiar with the rules of this new world, are the ones who suffer the most. Luckily, there are a few basic rules that allow even the youngest to safely move in the world of the web.
Anonymity of the perpetrators versus openness of the victims
Offenders can easily find pictures, e-mail addresses, phone numbers and even addresses of their victims on the Internet. Since children and adolescents often even publicly post these on well-known pages, it is child's play for them and therefore the knowledge alone is not punishable. Most of the time, the perpetrators use this information to contact their victims, often make themselves younger than they are, and mislead common interests. Sometimes it is also chat rooms or public forums, through which a first contact takes place. In these forums, young people with common interests gather (for example, portals where young people can post their own stories, which are then rated), so that contacting them about the shared hobby is even less noticeable. The perpetrator usually uses a fake profile, which means that his own data (date of birth, place of residence, school education) do not correspond to reality as mentioned above.
The supposed security of the internet
The problem is also that many children and adolescents feel protected in their own four walls. The world in the web is virtual, so the danger also seems to be virtual and not to find the way to reality. But when does sexual abuse begin? It does not always come to a meeting with the offender to talk about sexual abuse. Some perpetrators send the victims pictures with sexual motives or movies with sexual content - that too is a criminal act, because it can disturb the child, the younger and inexperienced, it can frighten and frighten. Also lewd mails or the request to send pictures themselves are sexually motivated crimes.
The perfect wave for safe surfing - Tips for Kids
The top priority is anonymity. Do not post your address or phone number on the internet. Never send your data to a stranger, let alone account data or family pictures. If you use a nickname, it should not contain your real name or reveal your age, such as Lisa99. From this, the culprit can conclude that Lisa was born in the year xxxx. Use general numbers and names. On pages like Facebook you notice more if you do not set your own photo. Make sure that the photo is not an invitation for sexual motivated perpetrators.
Reality against virtual space. The net is a space, a space without borders and with unlimited possibilities. Everything is bustling here: from the nice friend over the petty criminals to the bank robber and child molester. Often the worst criminals dress with the most innocent robe. Be aware that there is not really a friend behind every nice contact.
If you find something funny, talk to your parents about it. Do not be tempted to do something you do not want. Private pictures and telephone numbers as well as travel appointments are not in the hands of strangers.
Be aware that real people hide behind the virtual profiles. Not everyone is a friend - and whether MickeyMouse17 is really the sweet guy with the best voice he claims to be is questionable.
No meetings with Internet friends. Never meet a friend you only know from the internet. Here lurks one of the biggest dangers. Do not respond to invitations of this kind! On the contrary: If you feel funny, you should immediately report this profile to the administrator of the forum. The same applies to the case when someone confronts you with content of a sexual nature, be it videos, photos or texts with appropriate hints. The operator of the site can then immediately turn on the police.
Where does sexual abuse of children and adolescents begin?
Anyone who believes that sexual abuse of children and adolescents will only start when it comes to some form of sexual act is wrong. But where exactly does sexual abuse or sexual harassment actually start? Clearly you can not draw this limit clearly. However, anything that violates the dignity and will of the child is clearly a criminal act.
By that definition, this may even be a clear look or an obscene remark. Our society is over-sensitized on this issue, which is very positive on the one hand, and everyone who works in educational institutions is paying attention. But it also leads to the fact that mostly fathers increasingly inhibited with their children, so as not to do anything wrong.
Sexual abuse in its manifestations
At the beginning is the harassment. In chat rooms or forums children or teenagers are sent videos or photos with obscene content. Sometimes they are also asked to do sexual acts themselves, mostly via Skype, so the offender can watch them. Other forms of harassment include street appeal or recanting explicit sexual words and content.
The next step is touching the child. The perpetrator demands to be touched by the child in the pubic area, touches it himself or encourages him to touch himself and let him see him. Touching can lead to rape and / or include all other sexual practices. Of course, child pornography is also part of the sexual abuse of children and adolescents. Here, the child is forced to undress and film and take a picture. Sometimes it is also forced to watch pornographic pictures and movies or to watch others' practices. The forms of sexual abuse are as diverse as the pathological fantasies of the perpetrators!
Why is it so rarely displayed?
The undercount of sexual abuse is alarmingly high. This results from the fact that the perpetrators often come from the environment of the child. In most cases, it is unfortunately family members who exploit their power over the child. The child is in a relationship of dependence, mentally as well as physically, and can not resist the sexual assaults for a long time. Even if it decides to talk to another adult in the family, it often does not lead to the police. The fact is, the closer a child is to a perpetrator, the less likely it is that the offense will be reported and taken to court. The fact is that still predominantly girls are the victims of the criminal act. The male perpetrators usually come from the immediate environment or the closer circle of acquaintances.
Signals for sexual abuse
Since the victims are mostly silent for a long time, it is very difficult to detect the sexual abuse. He is often recognized when it is too late and already mental or physical symptoms have occurred. There are a number of signs that may indicate sexual abuse, but do not necessarily indicate it.
Especially with this topic, many are afraid to even express a suspicion, because of course, a wrongfully accused often has a lifetime of struggling with the allegations and often never really rehabilitation. However, it can only be in the victim's interest to express a suspicion more than to ignore abuse and the victim suffers for years.
Behavior changes are suspicious!
Behavioral changes are often the first signs of sexual abuse. That does not mean that any behavioral abnormality is based on sexual abuse. Just as well, anger with friends, school entry or the loss of a close person can cause this change in behavior. Also, some learning processes and developmental stages are often the cause of a temporary behavioral abnormality.
Exact observation often provides information, but one should not forget that every child handles the abuse differently according to character, age, perpetrator and constitution. Important: The more abnormalities show up, the more the suspicion hardens!
Regression in early childhood behavior patterns
A number of signals are particularly suspicious and should alert the parents. These include especially in infants: sleep disorders and increased occurrence of nightmares, wetting or Einkoten after prolonged cleansing, new fears or phobias in general, whiny behavior, regression in child behaviors that the child had actually already filed (for example, thumb sucking, baby talk), Increased need for security, lack of appetite or cravings, lack of contact, fear of social relationships, retreat into a world of their own, striking interest in the bodies of other children and adults, which is also in the game in a special form (sexual acts are often recreated in the game or are the subject of the game), loss of interest in beautiful things too.
In older children, there are often other abnormalities that can range from drug use, to crime, depression, suicidal thoughts, eating disorders, and even a decline in school performance. Often such adolescents also show a remarkably deviant sexual behavior.
Physical symptoms of sexual abuse
In addition to the above-mentioned behavioral changes are usually physical symptoms, which alone but often do not give sufficient evidence of sexual abuse. Often they become suspicious only in connection with the mental abnormalities. Abdominal pain, stomach pain, bruising, blood in the urine (in case of bladder infections) or defecation (due to anal fistulas) can be more pathological and more or less harmless in nature, but are often also signs of sexual abuse. More conspicuous are pain in the genital area, frequent itching, abdominal injuries, venereal diseases to unwanted pregnancy.
What to do if your own child was sexually abused?
Sexual abuse is either revealed when the child confides in an adult, or when it already shows conspicuous symptoms and the parents become suspicious and begin to investigate.
The impotence often follows the shock! What now? How do I go forward to protect my child and punish the perpetrator? If the child is extreme about the subject, it will usually either encrypt it or do it in fragments. There are a number of symptoms that indicate sexual abuse and have been detailed elsewhere.
It is very important to take the child seriously when it implies abuse. In very few cases children think up such a thing. So they take every hint seriously, however shallow and encrypted it may be.
To make matters worse, that children often do not comment because the perpetrator comes from the immediate environment, usually even from their own family! That can often be the biggest inhibition for children!
Keep calm and strengthen the child!
Keep calm, even when it's hard. The child is in a situation where she feels unconscious, confused and often guilty. Not infrequently it is the perpetrators themselves who blame the child.
It is very important to get professional help as fast as possible. They can comfort, strengthen, protect and capture your child, but only psychologists and professionals are trained to treat the mental damage that any abuse leaves. They also help parents better cope with the sexual abuse of their child and can point to difficult situations and how to deal with them.
As a parent, you can help the child through a routine that is as regular as possible. Even if it seems nonsensical and misplaced, habit also provides security and helps the child to process the traumatic experiences.
What to do if there is a suspicion
Sometimes it starts with a faint suspicion that soon hardens. If the child does not talk about the sexual abuse himself, you should not bombard it with direct questions, because otherwise it may be that the child completely closes.
Tell the child about his day, more in detail than usual, and listen attentively if it casually speaks of unpleasant events. Never - never - reproach the child with the motto: "But you would have had to say that much sooner!" Or worse: "Why did you put up with that!" And: "If I were you ... "
Such statements further encourage the child's guilt and it feels even worse afterwards. It costs a child a lot of courage to even address the abuse. If you have recovered from the first shock, you should, as mentioned above, ask specialized staff for help. In most cases, this includes the police, because a child abuse is a serious offense that must be punished to protect all other children from this perpetrator. How and when the police are involved should be done for the benefit of the child in consultation with the psychologists.