WHY DON’T CHILDREN TELL THEIR PARENTS ABOUT SEXUAL ABUSE?
-1 in 3 children who are sexually abused don’t tell anyone at the time and there are many reasons why. Understanding these barriers can help you support your child if you find out they’ve been abused.
-If your child didn’t tell you about the abuse or delayed in telling you, this is normal and is likely to be for one or more of the following reasons.
-They have felt ashamed or embarrassed.
-They weren’t sure how to talk about it or couldn’t find a space to.
-They were worried about how other people might respond and what was going to happen.
Survivors often don’t tell because they think they did something wrong or didn’t do something right. Quite simply, they blame themselves.
They assume there is something they could have done to stop the abuser. They regret what they did or what they did not do. They wonder if the perpetrator would have stopped had they screamed louder or fought harder. They ask themselves if they could have avoided the situation, the location, the person.
Even survivors whose lives were threatened—or the lives of their loved ones—succumb to self blame.
Survivors of sexual crimes are burdened with a deep sense of shame. The thought of revealing what they have endured—in explicit detail—can be overwhelming. It means they must relive the experience. It means they must remember things they do not want to remember and tell things they do not want to tell.
Many survivors are hesitant to give voice to the violation, the pain, the degradation, and the feeling of shear helplessness.
Fragile and traumatized, some survivors just are not ready—physically, emotionally and psychologically—to come forward.
Some survivors do not tell to protect their loved ones. We know this to be especially true with children. They understand that speaking the truth will inflict pain on their parents, and they may choose to protect their families from the emotional upheaval.
For these survivors, the shame, blame and fear of what happened is their burden to carry…and theirs alone.
SEVEN THINGS YOU WILL NEED IF YOUR CHILD TELL YOU ABOUT SEXUAL ABUSE?
-Warm and caring spaces to talk
-A clear belief in what your child says
-Clear communication that they are not blamed
-Action to protect them
-Support for you
-Find support for your child if difficulties persist
-To notice and appreciate your child’s strengths
ENCOURAGE KIDS TO TALK…..
“This directness will serve kids well as they grow, too. Silence in the face of sexual abuse often stems from embarrassment and guilt, which in turn come from parents modeling these reactions to sex and sexual topics. So parents should instead model directness, and not worry about being intrusive. If you are worried about an adolescent boy, just ask him, ‘Is someone touching your penis?’ If he is being abused, he’ll tell you. If he isn’t, he’ll yell at you, but that’s what adolescents do.