Silence on sexual abuse by Prateek Kalia


 • Often, the abusive adult will convince the child that they won’t be believed or that they are somehow responsible for the abuse and will be punished for it. The child may care about or feel protective of the person who sexually abused them and may feel they’d be betraying this person by telling about the sexual contact and the abuser may use this information to help maintain the secrecy. Children frequently remain silent to protect a non-abusive parent from upsetting information.

 • Sometimes, a child may be confused if they experienced positive physical pleasure, arousal, or emotional intimacy from the abuse. This confusion can make it difficult for the child to speak up.

 • A child may feel that they permitted the abuse and should have been able to stop it. Remember that there are no situations where a child is responsible for any sexual interaction with a more powerful child or adult.

 • In order to keep the abuse secret, the abuser will often play on the child’s fear, embarrassment or guilt about what is happening, perhaps convincing them that no one will believe them or that the child will be punished. Sometimes the abuser will convince the child that he or she enjoyed it and wanted it to happen.
 • But we need to spread more awareness anlbout this topic and talk to more and more people so that victims can talk to their parents and friends which may help in the of their mental health.


Most of the children don’t tell 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. They may have thought:
‘I might be seen as different.’
‘This is going to cause problems in my family/community/school.’
‘I may be taken away from home.’
‘I don’t want the police or social services involved in my life.’
‘I don’t want the abuser to get in trouble’ (because of feelings of loyalty, love, fear etc).
‘I’m going to be blamed.’
‘Images will be found which I’m embarrassed about.’
‘I won’t be believed.’
‘I won’t be believed.’
‘I won’t be taken seriously.’
‘He/she is going to hurt or embarrass me or my family or someone else.’

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