We often forget to educate our children about sexual harassment. No one can ever imagine that their children will be a victim of sexual harassment within a safe community of friends and relatives or at school and sports clubs. We also tend to overlook that harassment can happen through smartphones. We always believe that everything is under control and that we are safe until a disaster occurs! Therefore, we decided to share 17 signs that tell if your child is being sexually harassed or abused.
Be careful and do not trust anyone!
Studies show that 93% of child molesters are relatives, acquaintances, and other people your child knows and only 7% are strangers. Therefore, our role here is to educate our children, especially at the beginning of their school semester or before going to sports training, private lessons, or courses away from you.
How to educate your child?
You must educate your child about his body and the simplified meaning of harassment or attempts of touching them inappropriately. You also need to make them aware of their personal space and that no one should violate it, especially strangers. There are many means by which children can be taught the meaning of harassment, starting with songs and videos on the Internet in all languages, including Arabic. There are also awareness sessions for children and adults offered by some organizations and some websites, such as Safe Kids, which gives awareness to adults and children about sexual abuse, starting from the age of 3.
Signs that your child is being sexually harassed or abused
In any case, we want to highlight here that sometimes we do not pay attention or realize what may happen to our children due to our several preoccupations. However, this matter requires your utmost attention to deal with the situation properly. Usually, the child becomes silent as long as he hasn’t been educated about this matter, which can result in bad consequences. So you should pay attention to these signs that may be your guide to discovering what’s happening to your child.
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1. Suddenly, the child is calmer than usual or strays for long periods.
2- Crying for no apparent reason.
3- Wetting the bed at night for no reason, especially if the child is not used to doing that.
4- Asking questions about secrets and keeping secrets with their friends.
5- The child becomes excessively angry or violent.
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6- The child complains of a headache or stomach ache without any obvious organic cause.
7- Problems with sleep and suffering from nightmares suddenly and frequently.
8- Clinging to you or his father and not wanting to be left alone or with anyone.
9- The child loses interest in playing.
10- The child tries to avoid certain places and people for no apparent reason.
11- The appearance of a bump, scratches, redness, or infections in the genital area or on his buttocks.
12- Pain while pooping.
13- Difficulty sitting or walking.
14- Bruises on the child's body, such as his stomach, thigh, or buttock area.
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15- Drawing things that have sexual indications.
16- Loss of appetite.
17- Improper behavior from the child, such as permanently touching their genital areas despite warning them or trying to distract them from that. They may do so even in public places. They may even use inappropriate words with inappropriate meanings or try to touch other children inappropriately. The child may also play in sexual behavior with toys and puppets or touch your pet’s private parts.
If you notice these signs on your child, they may not tell you what happened to them for several reasons, including:
- Fear of not being accused of lying.
- Fear of you and being punished.
- Not understanding what happened to them in the first place.
- Fear of the harasser or their love for the harasser as a family member.
- Feeling shy or guilty.
- His inability to explain what happened may be because of his young age and lack of the vocabulary that would enable him to explain what he was exposed to.
What do you do with your child if you discover a problem?
If you notice signs of harassment in your child's body, ask without intimidating them about what happened. You must know that this is not the child's fault; they need to feel this from you. At this point, you have to make your kid feel safe and make them tell you what happened. Trust your child and never scold them. Allow them to talk. You can ask clarifying questions about what happened. Tell them that they’re doing the right thing because they’re telling you the truth. Tell them that you love and will protect them no matter what and that this is not their fault. Never let your child reconnect with the person who hurt them in any way.
On the one hand, you will then have to take your child's right by immediately contacting the child helpline on this number 16000 or contact them on WhatsApp on 01102121600 so that you can receive legal and psychological support and report the person who committed the crime. On the other hand, your child has to go through a medical examination to get a medical report to find out the physical and psychological consequences of this abhorrent action. Your child will be dealt with properly by the National Council for Motherhood and Childhood.
May God protect all our children from any evil…
Main image credit: @kaylarochinphoto