Hazeema: It was like a nightmare... I could remember something horrible happened when I was really young. I can't remember exactly how old I was. I was too small...
Every weekend my parents took me to grandparents’ house. And there was my cousin and a distant relative. I still remember the dark room. I thought we were playing, that is what that relative told me. Later on these shadows flashed in my memory but I thought I was imagining.
Madiha: I was frightened to tell anyone. I didn't know what was really happening but I hated it. I wasn't raped but molested. He was a cousin of my father. I was too embarrassed to reveal this secret to anyone...
Naim: He was my cousin. He often showed me his school books and talked about his productivity lessons, which I understood nothing. Then he used to show me colorful magazines and would say he would teach me further where I was barely six. He grabbed me by this way.
Iyan: He gave us fancy things and would attract us to his room. But we realized that the gifts had a cost and we had to pay.
These are some true statements made by people when I discussed and enquired about child sexual abuse. Children’s worlds are perfectly simple and normal; they expect everyone to be normal like them. When someone smiles to them they would reply with a smile not bothering to know the hidden intentions of any evil spirits they meet in life.
Children Don’t Lie
It is a well-known fact that children don’t lie. When they are trying to relate something, listening to their stories is the responsibility of their parents.
Commonly made mistake by the elders is that they assume children often imagine and they create stories. Of course, children are full of imaginations and their worlds are beautiful, but have you noticed that they usually build their stories on what they have really seen in their lives?
They wouldn’t describe a dragon if they haven’t seen it.
And if we think dragons don’t exist, perhaps they got to know about dragons in the very same way we got to know about them.
This is the truth, children add colors to what they see, but what they tell is somehow would be related to what they have seen in their lives.
Do not ever underestimate the stories which your kids keep nagging to narrate to you.
Whom to Trust?
Child sexual abuse is much complicated form of violence against children.
When pointing at the abuser, the child feels the guilt and is ashamed to express his or her view on what happened.
The saddest fact is that this shameful violence is most likely to be happening under the wings of trusted persons. The child victim of sexual abuse fights against with his/her emotions and develops a hate towards everyone because it is a matter of trust.
The faith in trusting the loved ones fades when children are been sexually harassed.
|Remember that children love to be with families, and if the abuser is a close relative then the child would be thinking several times to understand what really happened...|
Blaming the Victim
There are many cases where the child would have tried to express their fears, yet the elders did not understand.
Parents would simply stop the child saying ‘stop imagining’.
It’s a parent’s duty to understand the child, remember the golden saying ‘children never lie’.
When your child is trying to express something related to sexual abuse, you as a parent must pay attention. These children are distressed by guilt and shame. They would feel that they were responsible for what took place and they would think several times before complaining.
If this crime was done by person with whom the kid deals with, he or she might be threatened by the offender as well. The child would feel that the parents won’t believe, would blame him/her for what happened.
Remember that children love to be with families, and if the abuser is a close relative then the child would be thinking several times to understand what really happened. He/she might even come to a conclusion that they were imagining things.
There are big chances that the victims of child abuse suffer from depression, drug addicted, bullies others as a revenge for what happened for him/her. When they grow up, they may have unsuccessful marriages and even some get used to bad habits like masturbation.
It is a duty upon every parent to keep an eye on their children and must recognize the smallest difference of their attitude or behavior.
|Protecting a child from being a victim of sexual abuse and protecting him from growing up with those dark shadows in life is upon your hands.|
Warning Signs of Child Sexual Abuse
The earlier the abuse is found the better the chances we have in rescuing the child
Of course, we don’t have to suspect each and every one. This would cause for unhealthy relationship in the family.
But still it’s better to be proactive than being too late in rescuing the children from the physical and mental torments they go through.
Be watchful if your child has:
- Trouble walking or sitting.
- Displays knowledge or interest in sexual acts inappropriate to his or her age, or even seductive behavior.
- Makes strong efforts to avoid a specific person, without an obvious reason.
- Doesn’t want to change clothes in front of others or participate in physical activities.
- Shows less interest in studies, refuses to go to school by giving too many excuses.
- Teachers’ complaint of sudden low grades and behavior changes.
Modesty is a pillar of raising kids positively. For example, mothers or sisters should know how to guard their modesty even in front of their Mahrams. It doesn’t mean they have to fully cover at home. But there are limitations in everything. The decency and disciplining of children start from early stage of childhood.
“And tell the believing women to reduce [some] of their vision and guard their private parts and not expose their adornment except that which [necessarily] appears thereof and to wrap [a portion of] their headcovers over their chests and not expose their adornment except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands' fathers, their sons, their husbands' sons, their brothers, their brothers' sons, their sisters' sons, their women, that which their right hands possess, or those male attendants having no physical desire, or children who are not yet aware of the private aspects of women. And let them not stamp their feet to make known what they conceal of their adornment. And turn to Allah in repentance, all of you, O believers, that you might succeed.” [The Holy Quran: 24:31].
If a child shows some awareness of a woman’s ‘awrah’ and starts to look at her and talk to her a great deal, then it is not permissible for a woman to uncover in front of him.
This varies from one boy to another in terms of natural disposition and in terms of the company that he keeps. A boy may have a greater interest in women if he sits with people who talk about them a great deal.
We as elders must remember what to talk and what to refrain from when children are present.
The children are like clay dough, they are molded as how we behave and what they see.
Do not forget: everything is normal for young kids.
Protecting a child from being a victim of sexual abuse and protecting him from growing up with those dark shadows in life is upon your hands.