Category Archives: sexual abuse

Secondary Survivors of Sexual Abuse

secondary survivors of sexual abuse

A secondary survivor refers to the family, friend or partner of an abused person. The situation is of course difficult for the victim of sexual abuse, but the pain extends to his or her loved ones too. The support of the secondary survivors is very much important to the recovery of the victim; it makes the victim feel that they are still cared for despite of what happened to them.

A victim of sexual abuse normally feels afraid and hesitant; he or she may lose self-confidence and often falls into depression if he or she doesn’t get the necessary help after the assault took place. For secondary survivors, knowing that someone they deeply care about has gone through a very hurtful experience is also heartbreaking. There are times that they also struggle with the feeling of helplessness after the incident; they do not know how to respond to the situation and whom to seek help for.

It is truly difficult to know the right things to say to comfort your family or friend who was victimized by sexual assault. However, your compassionate and validating responses can really do a lot for their recovery. It’s fairly alright to not have all the answers for them; just being there by their side with no judgment is already a wonderful support to the victim.

Sexually abused victims lose their ‘power’ of self because of their traumatic experience; as a secondary survivor, you may help them gain control of what happens next by letting them make their own decisions. It could start with letting them choose whom they talk to and what legal actions they want to take.

Sexual abuse is a serious crime against anyone; you have to be extra understanding and patient with the victim because they have lost their sense of almost everything – strength, power, safety, trust and so on…

What You Should Do if the Abuse Happened in the Past Few Days

Advise your family or friend to immediately undergo a physical examination to help the authorities gather evidence against the perpetrator. Health services also provide medications to help prevent infections and diseases caused by the sexual abuse.

What You Should Do If the Victim Feels Unsafe

Victims of sexual abuse normally feel physically and emotionally unsafe after they have been assaulted… If you are dealing with a worse case such as he or she is becoming suicidal or at the risk of hurting others, then you should contact the authorities right away. But if they are not in immediate danger, help them make changes in their surroundings that will make them feel safer. If they want to change the color of the walls, then do so! Do whatever you can to foster a safer environment for your loved one and always remember that there are support groups available to help you along the way. Encourage your loved one to speak about things that will make him or her feel safer and unthreatened.

Recognize the Tactics of Perpetrators

Most sexual abuse cases remain to be unreported because the victims are afraid or threatened; if you’re dealing with a loved one, who shows the same signs, consider seeking the help of professionals. It’s quite difficult to identify a person who would commit a sexual assault because they could be anyone! They are located in all parts of the world and usually ‘mask’ their real personas to be able to commit more than one sexual assault. These people are indeed dangerous! They may seem friendly and charismatic but can be a totally different person behind closed doors.

The following are examples of the common tactics that sexually abusive persons may use or do:

  • They usually establish trust with their potential victim; this is a part of their planning and preparation for what they really intend to do
  • They are good in assessing a person’s vulnerability, this is how they choose their victims
  • They only used the necessary amount of force to succeed with their plan; body weight is usually enough
  • They may use alcohol or drugs to increase the vulnerability of their victims
  • Perpetrators usually deny the crime that they’ve committed by claiming that the assault was consensual

Battered Child Syndrome

battered child syndrome

The battered child syndrome is a form of child abuse. It is a clinical condition in young children who have experienced severe physical abuse, which often leads to permanent injuries or death. The perpetrator could be anyone – it could be a parent, guardian, relative, neighbor or even a total stranger.

The battered child syndrome should be considered on any child that evidently shows signs of bone fracture, subdural hematoma, failure to thrive, swellings of soft tissues and/or bruising. It should be considered to any child who has developed a degree of trauma due to variance and occurrence of abuse; it should be considered to any child who had died because of child abuse.

Psychiatric factors of battered child syndrome play an important in the pathogenesis of the disorder. Physicians who evaluate abused children are required to conduct a full assessment of the situation and guarantee that the repetition of such traumatic experience will never be allowed.

Battered Children Cases

Keanu Williams. Keanu was a 2-year old child who died in the hands of his ‘monster’ mother who is now paying for her crime in jail today. The toddler suffered from 37 different injuries that included bite marks, a fractured skull and a fist-sized tear in the stomach… he was definitely beaten to death. A post-mortem examination showed that he was repeated hit by a stick or rod which caused him to die from internal bleeding. The judge found Keanu’s mother, Rebecca Shuttleworth, guilty of four counts of child cruelty. ‘He was a defenseless child and it was your duty to protect him. Instead you beat him so severely he died a lingering death from his injuries a day or so later. You have also been convicted of cruelty by failing to summon the medical aid he so badly needed.’ These are just some of the statements that Mr. Justice Spencer told Rebecca Shuttleworth. He even added a tribute to the child by saying, ‘He was a delightful little boy described as a real character, a little entertainer who remained cheerful despite everything.’ It is truly unimaginable what Keanu Williams had to suffer from the outburst of violence of his own mother.

Lauren Kavanaugh. This young girl was tortured beyond imagination by her mother and stepfather. She was given back to her birth mother when she was 20-month old and from then on, she suffered 6 years of torture and starvation. She became known as ‘the girl in the closet’; locked away for so long in the back room of a mobile home. When she was rescued in the year 2001, she only weighed 25.6 pounds at 8 years old. The doctors at Children’s Medical Center Dallas said that she was damaged in ways that they have never seen. She had suffered from extreme depression and developed bipolar disorder… She had undergone all the necessary treatments – years of psychotherapy and hundreds of doctors’ visits. Lauren had indeed suffered a case of extreme child abuse and it is expected that she will have lifelong of emotional problems, long nights of tears and terror, fits of rage… She has suffered a great deal, losing her six key years of growth and development… She does not know her ABC’s, she wasn’t potty-trained, she doesn’t know how to hold a pencil and she doesn’t even know what it’s like to be in the sun. Fortunately, today, Lauren is surviving and thriving… With the help of her treatments and support from her loving adoptive parents, Sabrina and Bill Kavanaugh, Lauren is now talking more, eager to exercise and she shows more interest in learning new things.

Terrell Peterson. He was a 5-year old boy who lived in Atlanta Georgia who was beaten to death. Terrell only weighed 29 pounds and his body was full of cuts, bruises and burns when the authorities recovered his body. His mother was taking drugs while she was pregnant. Terrell’s parents would lock him up in a bedroom during weekends and denied him food. The complaints against his mother led social caseworkers to place Terrell and his siblings, who were also abused in the same way Terrell was, with their blood relatives. However, Terrell was not able to go with his siblings, he was left in the custody of Pharina Peterson – the grandmother of his half-siblings. Another child living in the home of Peterson said that Terrell was tied up often and his nourishment was a far cry from being proper. He was also allegedly burned by Peterson for telling the authorities about her abusive acts; one of Terrell’s teachers in school noticed he wasn’t walking right and inspected his feet only to find that they were burned to the point that it needed skin grafts. The authorities arrested Pharina Peterson and she was indicted on misdemeanor charges.

Types of Domestic Violence

What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence is any violent or aggressive behavior that takes place within the home; it typically involves abusive behavior toward a spouse or a partner. It can take place in a heterosexual or same-sex relationship that may also extend to the children.

Domestic violence can affect men, women and children but the wife or female partner is more often victimized with such abuse. Some countries, especially those that have witnessed women committing acts of infidelity, consider domestic violence as a justifiable act and may even be codified into law.

This abusive act takes many forms – physical abuse, emotional abuse, spiritual abuse, sexual abuse and verbal abuse. Common examples of domestic violence are marital rape, female genital mutilation, battering and disfigurement. The presence of domestic murders is also prevalent in some areas of the world and it includes bride burning, dowry deaths and stoning.

Different Forms of Domestic Violence

Physical Abuse. This involves physical contact that is intended to cause physical pain, suffering or injury to the victim. The abuser uses force such as hitting, shoving, grabbing, biting, shaking, choking and/or forcing drug or alcohol use. Some perpetrators may even make use of harmful weapons such as a gun or knife. Physical abuse may not result in an injury that requires immediate medical attention, which results to the incident being unreported.

Sexual Abuse. This type of domestic violence involves forcing the victim to have unwanted sexual interaction with the abuser. The perpetrator may conduct unwelcome sexual comments or advances that cause the victim to feel uncomfortable. It may also come in the form of attack against a person’s sexuality through coercion or sexual traffic such as obligatory inspections for virginity or female genital mutilation. During sexual abuse, a victim’s bodily integrity is violated; some of the most common examples of this domestic violence are rape, prostitution, human trafficking and demeaning sexual acts. Moreover, any act that limits a woman’s reproductive rights is also considered as sexual abuse in some countries. Preventing to use contraceptive methods and forcing abortion are considered illegal by some laws.

Psychological Abuse. This is interchangeably referred to as emotional abuse; it is characterized by intimidation, threats and even isolation. Abusers often instill fear to their partners through menacing behavior that may lead to damages in property, constant supervision or controlling behavior that hinders the victim from enjoying his or her freedom. Perpetrators may also threat their victims with injury or perhaps harm the victim’s family or loved ones; they may tell the victim that they will be killed if they try to leave the relationship. Some abusers also isolate their victims from other people; controlling the people whom the victim can interact with. They may also ‘damage’ their victims’ self-esteem through constant criticism, name-calling and other emotionally abusive acts.

Economic Abuse. The abuser makes or attempts to make the victim financially dependent on him or her. His or her intimate partner prohibits the victim from working or getting further education. The victim also may experience extreme controlling behavior by the partner with their financial matters. In some cases, the abuser exploits the economic resources of the victim leaving the latter empty handed. The main motive of economic abusers is to incapacitate their intimate partners from the ability to support oneself; diminishing the victim’s ability to acquire resources and assets. If you are forced to sign documents or sell things, then you are also suffering from economic abuse. Victims of this type of abuse are usually individuals who lack knowledge and education; some mothers and children in India suffer from malnutrition because the father withholds their access to food and other resources.

Sex Slavery

sex slavery

What is Sex Slavery?

Its purpose is to sexually exploit the victim. Sex slavery comes in the form of single-owner sexual slavery, ritual slavery, forced prostitution and non-sexual purposes that involves non-consensual sexual activities. Back in the days, concubinage was the most prevalent form of sexual slavery and it still goes on in some cultures today – women are forced to live their lives in sexual servitude.

Sexual slavery is a form of enslavement as it limits a person’s autonomy, freedom and power to decide – especially matters that involve sexual activities. There are various types of sex slavery including forced marriages, domestic servitude and forced labor that includes sexual activities. Sex slavery constitutes a continuing offense because it involves practices that treat women as servants and thus, violate laws that prohibit slavery.

Confessions of a Sex Slavery Victim

‘I can never forget my past or the cruelty of those men. I’ll never understand it.’

Sreypov Chan is a young Cambodian woman who suffered from sex slavery when she was a young girl… At 7 years old, when most young girls are invited to slumber parties, she was sold to a brothel in Phnom Penh to work as a sex slave. What made her situation worse is that her own mother made the sale. For many years, pimps would force her to have sex with at least 20 men in a day… if she refused or try to run away, Sreypov was punished – burned with a hot poker, covered with biting insects and every unthinkable punishment there is.

Sreypov luckily escaped the brothels when she turned 10; she was able to start a new life and is now ready to talk about her story. Sadly, she is not the only one who has suffered and is continuously suffering from sex slavery today… There are more than 12 million individuals who are victims of forced prostitution and labor around the world.

‘My whole identity was robbed. Unless you’ve been in that position, you can’t understand.’

Meghan Stephens (not her real name) has suffered a similar fate as Sreypov Chan. When she was 14, she fell in love with a man who turned out to be a pimp… Her boyfriend sold her to different men for 6 years. She is now 25 years old and living a life with her true identity revealed in fear that her past will be discovered. When Meghan was being trafficked, she was forced to have sex with multiple partners in a single day. Her boyfriend made her believe that escort work is the only way to raise enough money for them to be together. Meghan grew up in a troublesome household, her parents divorced when she was 4 and her mother was an alcoholic. That is why her mother permitted Meghan to live with her boyfriend. Meghan depended on her boyfriend for everything – she was innocent, in love and very reliant. Meghan lost her confidence which made it even more impossible for her to leave her boyfriend and the life that she lived with him. Her boyfriend also threatened to kill her mother if Meghan would try to leave or escape… Meghan even recalled one particular night when she had sex with 110 men before being violently sick. The owner of the brothel had to close for the night and back then, she thought that the owner was really nice to do that. It only shows that Meghan was really not in the right frame of mind at the time. She felt helpless and she did not want to put her mom in danger so she continued with what she was doing.

Kathleen Frank. She was abused by her father at the age of 10 years old. At least that is the age she woke up to it; Kathleen’s father abused her while she was sleeping.  But later in her years Kathleen started getting flash backs of times when her father was ‘too close’ and certain touches were uncomfortable for her. Shortly after Kathleen realized she was being abused, she became this target of others who also abused her, such as her great grandfather, cousins and her brother. Kathleen told her mother, but her mother refused to believe her.  Perhaps her mother did believe Kathleen but was in denial, in any case Kathleen did not get the protection she needed and felt she had to find ways to protect herself. This is when Kathleen became assertive in her attitude, angry with her abusers, and eventually developed the mind set that the only way someone will love her is to give them what they want. This attitude caused Kathleen to turn toward young men of at least 8 to 20 years older than her for attention and love them in the wrong way. Kathleen had a warped perspective on what love was, and it wasn’t until she was in her later 30’s when she realized how much she needed help. Kathleen sough help; she sought God, it was her way to get a right perspective on love and to know the unconditional love of Christ. Kathleen started journaling her feelings and revelations of her healing process. After 10 years of writing her thoughts, her fears, her healing, Kathleen published her journals in her recent book, ‘I’m Fat and Nobody Cares’. Kathleen’s book tells the world her story in detail in hopes to help others who have had similar experiences. Kathleen was able to receive complete healing of her abuse through her writings and her book has helped thousands of abused women and girls receive healing too.

Break the Silence for the Victims of Child Abuse

victims of child abuse

‘Don’t put off tomorrow what you can do today.’ – Thomas Jefferson 

Many victims of child abuse keep their suffering a secret because they feel ashamed and afraid… most of them continue to suffer long after they have survived their abusive experience. They have terrifying nightmares that make them wake up shaking and disoriented in the middle of the night. They live in constant fear that their past may become reality again.

Victims of child abuse may continue to live that way if no one will help them ‘break the silence’! Erin Merryn is just one of the many survivors of child sexual abuse; she is responsible for the legislation of Erin’s law – this requires public schools to educate students about sexual abuse prevention. Erin’s goal is to encourage other victims of child abuse to speak up….to break their silence!

The force behind Erin’s law has helped others to come out and speak up about their abusive experiences… here are some of the stories of people who are just like Erin Merryn.

The Story of Ter-rae Lee

Ter-rae Lee is a survivor of child sexual abuse; she had been abused by her own father from ages 11 to 13. An article that she read from Seventeen Magazine encouraged her to speak up about her experience and tell her mother. Through the help of RAINN (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network), she began her recovery and was able to gain a confession from her father. Today, her father is serving time in prison – which makes Ter-rae feel safe after a long, long time. Ter-rae wants to encourage other victims of child abuse to break their silence and obtain justice for their abusive experience; ‘When you tell your story, you will feel like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders. There’s always light after the dark, and one day you might be able to help someone by talking about what happened.’

The Story of David Moody

David Moody is one of the victims of child abuse; it took him a while before he spoke up about his abusive experience. He struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety before he decided to tell his wife about the male babysitter who molested him when he was 9 to 10 years old. After getting the counseling that he needed, David is now comfortable talking about his experience. ‘I was like a pressure cooker that had a valve released. I didn’t know how tight I had been wound up until I said the words out loud’. Today, David wants to help others learn about child sexual abuse and encourage survivors to share their experience. ‘It is an emotional freedom, to finally know that it was not my fault; that I am strong and that I deserve to be happy. It is a clearness like nothing I have ever experienced until now’.

The Story of Kathleen Frank

Kathleen Frank was abused by her father at the age of 10 years old. At least that is the age she woke up to it; Kathleen’s father abused her while she was sleeping.  But later in her years Kathleen started getting flash backs of times when her father was ‘too close’ and certain touches were uncomfortable for her. Shortly after Kathleen was realized she was being abused, she became this target of others who also abused her, such as her great grandfather, cousins and her brother. Kathleen told her mother, but her mother refused to believe her.  Perhaps her mother did believe Kathleen but was in denial, in any case Kathleen did not get the protection she needed and felt she had to find ways to protect herself. This is when Kathleen became assertive in her attitude, angry with her abusers, and eventually developed the mind set that the only way someone will love her is to give them what they want. This attitude caused Kathleen to turn toward young men of at least 8 to 20 years older than her for attention and love in the wrong way. Kathleen had a warped perspective on what love was, and it wasn’t until she was in her later 30’s when she realized how much she needed help. Kathleen sought help, she sought God, it was her way to get a right perspective on love and to know the unconditional love of Christ. Kathleen’s started journaling her feelings and her revelations of the healing process. After 10 years of writing her thoughts, her fears, her healing, Kathleen published her journals in her recent book, ‘I’m Fat and Nobody Cares’. Kathleen’s book tells the world her story in detail in hopes to help others who have had similar experiences. Kathleen was able to receive complete healing of her abuse through her writings and her book has helped thousands of abused women and girls receive healing too.

 

Be the Voice of Victims of Child Abuse

According to surveys, about one in ten children suffer from child sexual abuse before they turn 18. In order to help put a stop to this social problem, you must ‘be the voice’ of victims of child abuse. You can do this by helping promote education, awareness and advance the conversation about this issue. Get in touch with abuse prevention organizations in your area, especially if you know someone who is suffering from child sexual abuse.

By simply speaking up, you can help save the life of a child abuse victim; offer useful information about where people can turn to for help if needed. Help empower people and organizations to prevent child sexual abuse all over the world; help create a safe environment for children where abuse does not exist. If you make it one of your priorities to help, nothing is impossible!

What is Incest?

incest

Incest is defined as having a sexual relationship with people who are too closely related to you – by law, you are not allowed to marry these people; it is the serious crime having sexual acts with a parent, child, sibling or grandchild. About 23 percent of all sexual abuse cases in the world are incest and the most commonly reported involves a father-daughter relationship.

Sexual contact typically does not happen when the daughter is still young; intercourse usually takes place when the child is past 12. According to reports, alcohol is one of the biggest factors behind these sexual abuse cases – about 20 to 50 percent of abusive fathers are alcoholics.

Cases of brother-sister incest are also very common; it usually happens within families that suffer from serious problems. Healthy and happy families exhibit affection with each other. However, it should be remembered that affection is very different from ‘sexual stimulation’.

What is Incest Taboo?

This cultural taboo is prevalent in today’s society and many past societies. Modern societies have already established laws and restrictions against closely consanguineous marriages (related by blood). Some societies even extend the taboo to people who are not related by blood such as milk-siblings, step siblings and adoptive siblings; relationships between third-degree relatives such as half-aunt and first cousin, are also viewed differently in some cultures – most cultures discourage it.

The most common reason behind incest taboo is the impact inbreeding has on the offspring of incestuous relationships. Close genetic relationships usually produce children who have high risk of congenital disorder, disability and even death. Unintended incest sexual relationship may also occur because of sperm donation, surrogacy and adoption – people are uncertain or clueless about their biological relationship to others.

Types of Incest

  • Between an adult and a child. This is considered as child sexual abuse and is the most commonly reported case of incest. However, the prevalence of this type is quite difficult to assess because most victims keep it as a secret. Moreover, reports show that this form of child abuse is more likely to happen between stepfather and daughter as compared to biological father and daughter. Some of the most ‘common features’ that lead to the occurrence of incest include extreme paternal dominance, reassignment of mother responsibilities to the daughter and an estrange relationship between mother and daughter.
  • Between consenting adults. The most common reason for this occurrence is the ‘genetic sexual attraction’ between the two adults. Although not so many cases of this incest have been reported, some evidences point to its occurrence; technological advances such as chat rooms and other websites have fostered the occurrence of incestuous relationships today.
  • Cousin relationships. Marriages and sexual relationships that occur between first cousins are tolerated in some areas of the world. However, it is still considered as incest and is strongly discouraged by many cultures. Although the occurrence is very rare, it is indeed present in some communities – in Pakistan, marriages between cousins are encouraged to ensure the purity of descent line and that patrimony will not pass into ‘outsiders’.
  • Aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews. In some cultures, marriages among aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews are considered legal. However, in the case of the Dutch, they must seek the consent of the Dutch government first because of the risk of inbreeding defects. Consensual intercourse between adults is tolerated in Netherlands and Belgium but is seriously punished in the US such as in Florida and other US States.

Common Reasons Behind Molestation

child molestation

What is Molestation?

The legal definition of molestation is the crime of sexual acts with children up to the age of eighteen. Sexual acts include the touching of private parts, taking pornographic photos and forced exposure of the genitalia. Pedophiles may perform a variation of the following acts to their victims and such sexual acts may also occur as incest – when a relative abuses a younger or minor member of the family. Molestation is any unwelcome sexual act that fall short of rape.

What Causes Someone to Molest?

It has been an ongoing issue to find out the reasons why someone can possibly molest a child. The following are four broad categories that may classify an abuser:

  1. Abusers are children or teenagers who are sexually misguided and may result to experimenting. Children who reach puberty become sexually curious and they usually lure much younger children to take off their clothes just to satisfy their curiosity. Although most teenage experimenters, as they grow older, stop their sexual interactions with children, some are further misguided and turn into pedophiles.
  1. Abusers may have a medical or mental condition that needs proper treatment. Some sexual abusers suffer from mental disability and/or brain disorder which lead them to sexually touch children. Their family members must have a close eye on them in order to prevent molestation from taking place; they should also take their medications, if there are any, to stop child abusers from this group with what they are doing.
  1. Many abusers have antisocial disorder; they lack feelings and would like to inflict pain on others – Opportunists. Antisocial individuals are people who feel that the rules of society do not apply to them. These individuals are actively social and may even have lots of friends, but they always break many of society’s rules. They lack feelings for others and live with the belief that everyone around them exists to be used, including children. Child abusers that belong in this group are often involved in the most terrifying situations that you witness on television and the news.
  1. Abusers have an ongoing sex drive that is directed toward children. Child abusers who belong in this group are commonly referred to as pedophiles. Only a sex-specific physician or therapist can identify this ongoing sex drive among people who have pedophilia disorder. Sex drive that is directed toward children may be corrected by sex-specific therapies and medication. But according to researches, only 87 percent of such treatments are effective. People who are diagnosed with pedophilia disorder have the following traits:
  • Pedophiles are sexually aroused and have intense, recurring sexual fantasies that involve children (13 years and younger).
  • Pedophiles are aroused by or have sexual fantasies including a child for at least 6 months.
  • Pedophiles are 16 years of age an older.
  • Pedophiles are 5+ years older than his or her victim.

 

Daniel is an ideal example of someone who has pedophilia disorder; he has been molesting children for over 26 years. He is past 16 years old and he’s been having sexual desires toward children that are 5 years younger than him. His first victim was his stepsister, Chloe, a 10 year old girl. He was 13 years old when he started having sexual fantasies that involve young girls. He also started to develop a sexual desire for Chloe when she came to visit one weekend every month. Daniel’s fantasies continued until he was 17, when he first molested Chloe.

Sadly there are many Daniels in this world, and many of them are never caught because their victims never tell. The victims keep their silence in fear and shame; they grow up never getting the help they need to overcome their trauma.

Physiological Effects of Child Abuse

physiological effects of child abuse

Victims of abusive attacks develop the feeling of fear, confusion and anger even after their traumatic situation is over. Some of them are unable to form relationships with others and detach themselves from reality; the physiological effects of abusive acts may vary from one person to another depending on the victim’s experience and ability to cope.

Undergoing abusive attacks may cause a person to break down and develop serious mental illness such as depression, paranoia and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). If these physiological effects are not properly addressed, the victim may fall into greater physical, emotional and mental problems later on.

Mental health professionals may help a victim deal with their emotions; seeking the help of an expert may help you develop your coping skills and rebuild your self-esteem. Abused victims who do not undergo therapy after their traumatic experience may develop the habit of substance-abuse or alcoholism. Seeking professional advice is never too late; even if many years have passed since the abusive act you should still get help.

Effects on the Cortex and Limbic System

Adult survivors who have history of child abuse often easily respond to minor triggers; abused victims can be reactive even to minor stimuli that can cause their frontal lobe function to decrease and their limbic system to increase. Thus, their learning and problem solving development is slowed down while their impulsiveness is increased.

Decreased Hippocampal Volume

Your hippocampus (a small region of the brain that forms part of the limbic system and is primarily associated with memory and spatial navigation) plays an important role in processing information on the brain – without it nothing makes sense. It is very sensitive to stress hormones; when the hormones reach a high level they affect the ability of the hippocampus to function properly. If a person goes through excessive stress, he or she is unable to differentiate useful information from not. A particular stimulus may easily be misinterpreted in the absence of rational evaluation, which results to the inappropriate response of a person.

Thyroid Production is Affected

Your thyroid gland is responsible for producing hormones that can modulate metabolism. When it doesn’t function properly, your body may suffer from a number of health concerns involving your physical, physiological and interpersonal functioning. A deficit in thyroid production may compromise your neurobiological structures and decrease your resilience from trauma; creating additional stress to your ‘state of mind, body and soul’.

Types of Child Abuse


child abuse

Child abuse is a major social problem today. The statistics of this social problem is very sobering as children are continuously being maltreated every day, all over the world. Children are meant to be cared for and loved, yet many adults inflict not only physical damage but also emotional wounds.

Child abuse occurs in varying situations and for many different reasons. Some children are subjected to more than one form of abuse at a time. The effects of abusive acts that children experience can affect them gravely as adults; they may undergo psychological, emotional and social problems later in life.

The following are 4 major categories of child abuse:

Physical Abuse

Incidents of domestic violence that are committed against children have remained prevalent in many areas of the world. Some common forms of physical abuse that children suffer from are kicking, burning, scalding, threatening, punching, biting and any act that involves deliberate aggressive actions that inflict pain. This type of abuse is apparent because it leaves wounds, scars, sore muscles and bruises on a child’s body.

Emotional Abuse

This type of child abuse affects the psychological and social aspect of the victim. Many parents emotionally abuse their children without being physically or sexually abusive. However, emotional abuse also accompanies physical and sexual abuse at times. Some parents practice child-rearing approaches that are characterized by aggression and manipulation such as shouting and emotional blackmail.

Some common examples of emotional child abuse are exploitation, corruption, over protection and prevention of the child from exploring, learning and participating in normal social interactions. Emotional ill treatment toward a child can cause serious effects on his or her emotional development as an adult such as establishing relationships with others.

Neglect

This is defined as the inadequate provision of a child’s basic needs that may result to impair his or her health and development. Neglecting a child comes in many forms such as inability to:

  • Provide food, shelter and clothing
  • Protect a child from emotional harm
  • Properly respond to a child’s emotional needs
  • Ensure appropriate forms of supervision such as caregivers
  • Provide adequate medical care and treatment
  • Meet a child’s education needs
  • Provide opportunities for intellectual growth and development

Sexual Abuse

Sexual child abuse involves forcing or luring a child to take part in sexual activities. It can be described as an incident where an adult or older adolescent engages a minor in a sexual act or behavior. This type of abuse may occur in both penetrative and non-penetrative forms; penetrative sexual abuse includes rape and assault by penetration while non-penetrative acts involve exposing a child to abusive images and encouraging him or her to behave in sexually inappropriate ways.

Many children who are sexually abused exhibit disturbing behaviors such as inflicting self-harm, being violent or aggressive, bedwetting, eating disorders, mood swings and unhappiness. When they become adults, they may suffer from poor mental health, substance abuse, suicide attempts and depression.

Take a Stand Against Child Sexual Abuse

child sexual abuse

Children have been victims of many forms of abuse and the most common is child molestation. Child sexual abuse happens when a child is being used for sexual stimulation by an adult or an older adolescent. This can occur in different settings including home, school or workplace where a child is forced to do labor as well.

Child sexual abuse cases are not getting any better and today this abuse continues to be a serious social problem. In fact, this is what is called “secret crime” and may be hidden for a lifetime if the victim refuses to tell anyone about it. Victims of child sexual abuse are hesitant to report their situation because they are usually threatened by their perpetrators and or they feel ashamed as if they encouraged or caused the abuse.

Victims of Child Sexual Abuse

Many victims of sexual abuse are children who have learning disabilities or are usually isolated. It’s easy for perpetrators to intimidate these children because they are vulnerable and afraid. Poverty may also be a cause of sexual abuse; many children who come from poor or broken homes are lured into prostitution by their perpetrators in the act of ‘helping’ them. However, its vital to point out that child sexual abuse can happen to anyone and they happen to children from lower to middle class or high class families. National statics say that 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 20 boys are a victim of child sexual abuse. Child sexual abuse is a global problem.

Children who suffer from child sexual abuse typically do not tell anyone about it because they think that no one will care or believe their story. Their abuser threatens some and the victim lives in fear of being hurt or even killed if they tell anyone. Victims also feel ashamed of their story, especially if their perpetrator is a family or friend.

How to Stop Child Sexual Abuse

Have you ever watched an adult play with a child and felt uneasy about it? You may be over-reacting, but what if you’re not? Always trust your instincts, everyone should speak up!

People who often make sexualized comments or behaviors toward a child deserve to be questioned. If you just let this behavior slip, you are already risking the well being of the child and not helping put a stop to child sexual abuse.

People who usually abuse children are empowered by the reluctance of other adults to acknowledge the discomfort of the situation. It is an adult or a parent’s responsibility to keep a child safe at all times. You can do this by establishing boundaries and limits with everyone that surrounds your child and speaking up when someone violates any of your rules.

An open communication with your children can also help prevent child sexual abuse. Parents of children who are victims of sexual abuse find themselves wishing that they had talked more to their child. Teach your child how to talk about the words ‘penis’ and ‘vagina’ in a comfortable manner so they can tell you when they are sexually approached or made uncomfortable by anyone.

Knowing how to use the right words is a powerful tool to prevent child sexual abuse. If your children feel embarrassed talking about sexual behaviors with you, they will also find it difficult to tell you if someone acts sexually inappropriate toward them.

Take responsibility and speak up against people who make children feel uncomfortable through touching, cuddling or their words. In that way, you are setting an example to the child that it is okay to say ‘no’ when someone makes him or her feel uneasy.